Google is the king of web based productivity applications. While that may be true, over the past week I have noticed a few usability issues that have arisen while using various Google utilities. Below are a few things that I think would improve my experience:
1) Google reader to go above 100+ - If you are a Google Reader user, what percent of the time is your unread feed count below 100? Practically never. If you haven’t viewed your reader for more than a couple hours on any weekday, you are going to return to 100+ items that are unread. It would be really nice if Google Reader could count up to maybe 500+. There is a huge difference between having 110 and 350 unread articles.
2) Google Calendar built into the Gmail Sidebar - Currently I rarely use Google Calendar but I think it is an amazing application. One of the companies I work with uses Google calendar as their primary scheduling tool. On the other hand I am on Gmail all day. If Google Calendar was built into the sidebar with task alerts (similar to Microsoft Outlook’s task alert) Gmail would become the best web based productivity tool (if not the best overall productivity tool).
3) Google Calendar to Sync with my phone - Currently I use Outlook on my desktop to sync up my phone, as well as use the built in calendar feature on my Windows Mobile based phone. Ultimately, the I only sync up with the desktop for purposes of backup. Imagine if instead of plugging your phone into your computer, you could simply download a Google Calendar application one time that would function both off line and online. Then if you ever wanted to view your calendar and didn’t have access to your phone you could simply log on to the web to view it. That would be pretty slick! I’m guessing they are already working on this feature. I predict that this will be launched sometime this year, given that they’ve already come up with a pretty amazing Gmail mobile feature.
4) Be able to view File attachments on the side of Gmail - Currently I’m only using up 13% of my Gmail space, and considering that I have almost 3GB available I don’t think I’ll be using it all up anytime soon. Whether or not you are close to using up all of your space, I have run into the problem of trying to sort through my file attachments. It would be useful to purge old unnecessary attachments. There is an interesting Firefox addon that allows you to use your Gmail space for file storage. Unfortunately, I haven’t downloaded it so I can’t comment on how useful of a tool it is, but Google should definitely build this directly into Gmail.
5) The ability to sort, search, and effectively browse my shared and starred items in Google Reader - While Google Reader is already my favorite feed reader (I’m kind of biased because I haven’t used other feed readers), it would be nice to reference back to favorite articles that I read. Currently, I can only remember articles that I read up to a day or two ago. If I could search through these articles that would be great! If you think about it, such a feature could also be extremely useful for Google’s search engine as well. If I search a specific term from articles that I found to be interesting and click on the article, Google can assume that the article I clicked is fairly relevant to the keyword that I searched. Oh well, that’s a whole other topic that I won’t get into. Either way, let me search my feeder Google!