I know there are a lot of people out there, like your truly, who cannot live without GMail! GMail is what I would term as one of the shining examples of an Internet application. If I make a list of awesomeness of GMail, they would go something like this
- Sense of cleanliness
- Ease of use
- Ease of learning
- Shortcut keys
- Firefox extensions =D
However, there’s one thing that GMail lacks – a desktop client. I am from India – the land of amazing culture, gorgeous places and amazing people. However, broadband has still not pervaded India. At least not something that comes under the definition of broadband. Furthermore, “broadband” service providers don’t maintain anything remotely close to ZERO DOWNTIME…
So, GMail is not always on for another at least 1-2 million people [just in India]. Consequently, offline emails [a big part of today’s productivity boosters] is non-existent when it comes to GMail. =( So, I personally used to use Thunderbird to synch.
Whilst there are a number of reasons as to why desktop e-mail won’t die, there is ONE thing that holds good. GMail is NOT designed in mind for the non-connected. This is the place where there are a lot of people still stick true to their Thunderbirds, Windows Live! Mail Desktop, and of course Microsoft’s Outlook Express and Outlook itself.
However, I hear bells of change – in the distance, but not too far away.
Google announced a week back [almost] of Google Gears or as I like to call it Kick-in-the-crotch-to-M$. Why you may ask?
Lemme explain [or at least try to]
The desktop has long been the personal property of Microsoft. Comon 90% [on last count] of the world’s computers still run on Windows. [Note: these may not be (f)actual numbers]. There was a time when Internet Explorer ruled the web and a time when Outlook Express and Microsoft Outlook kicked @$$ and held everyone spellbound.
Microsoft has always managed to hold its position not only in the computing world, but also in the stock market with “the desktop”.
Web 2.0 came along and with AJAX and social services + the proliferation of broadband services, Microsoft got a kick in the shin as people started using these “Web Apps”. GMail – since its launch has definitely been one of the most innovative email clients. Not just Gmail, a lot of these web-apps really do kick-@$$.
However, Microsoft still could sell Outlook Express [part of Windows] and Outlook coz well, not everybody is always on. Furthermore, one of the major productivity boosts / points that run especially for Outlook is that you can reply and also manage all your emails – OFFLINE!! Now, that’s definitely something everyone would love to do. Furthermore, as much as Gmail is an awesome web-application, it is NOT available offline.
So, with Google Mail and Google Calendar, you can manage your tasks and email, however if and only if you are connected to the internet. This still got a lot of people still working with Outlook [which I must say is definitely one of the better applications that Microsoft has provided].
However, with Google Gears, this can change. With offline access, and then synching this back online, when you get connected, all you ever need to install in your computer is “something” that is safe and secure and that can run a browser.
Google Gears [once the issues are ironed out and the developers have gone freaky] could single handedly bring GMail, GCal, and even GMaps onto your desktop “sans” the internet.
What’s awesome about it – it’s entering your desktop not with any other download, but your web-browser. =)!
Oooh I can see some hurt in M$s eyes… Comon Microsoft, time to buck up and come up with something totally rad – I agree Surface rocks btw!!
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