graphicpush

Thoughts on branding, design, writing and life by Kevin Potts. Established 2003.

Damn Google and Their Sweet Apps

I tried. I really did. I scoured the web, tested site after site and product after product. But no matter how far I searched, Google sucked me back into their fold like a dying star dragging every orbiting body into its ever-expanding sphere.

First it was their search engine, their annoyingly heady gateway drug. Then a friend turned me on to Gmail, and I started the slow descent from casual user into full-blown junky, experimenting with all of their damnedly awesome applications, whether they even served a purpose in my life or not. (Picasso? SketchUp? Orkut? Didn’t need ‘em, but damned if I didn’t try ‘em.)

Then I read things that made their slogan “don’t be evil” slightly less than applicable, and it made me pause long enough to realize that I was indeed placing all of my Interwab eggs into a single corporate basket. And my contrarian nature — the same that demands I order tater tots instead of french fries and caucus for Hillary over Barack — started instilling a minor sense of panic.

So I explored. And tried. And downloaded. And beta-tested. I lurked in forums, read Techcrunch and mainlined anything with “beta” slapped over their logo. But in the end, the pull was too strong, and while I remain a fierce independent in many aspects of my life, Google has partially sweet-talked me back into their fold with depressingly functional applications with ridiculously high uptimes. Let’s take a peek on where I suck:

AppGoogleAlternativeResult
SearchGoogle SearchAnything elseGoogle remains too good to pass up. I like Yahoo and MSN, but a company becomes ubiquitous for a reason.
E-mailGmailOpera via POP, HotmailI still have a Hotmail account for junk registrations, but I gave up on POP long ago. Gmail is just too smart. The silver bullet: the Archive button. I cannot believe it took millions of years of evolution to invent that. That and the instant iPod Touch integration.
Feed AggregatorReaderBloglinesGoogle Reader is good, but I’ve been a Bloglines user for a long time, and I’m sticking with the underdog on this one.
Site AnalyticsAnalyticsPerformancing, othersClients love Analytics, thus it remains a stalwart.
Document CreationDocsZohoI tried Zoho for a long time. It was pretty good. Lots of functionality. But it did not work in Opera, my precious, and I was tired of loading Firesuck just to type. So I’m back to Google Docs, which, of course, works perfectly in Opera. (This one is particularly personal, because I was a beta-tester for Writely before GOOG bought it.)
BrowserChromeOperaWhatever. Opera is the greatest browser in the history of history. Chrome can go suck a tailpipe.
E-commerceCheckoutPayPalI have never had a single problem with PayPal, so for now, it remains my shopping cart of choice for light e-commerce.
MapsMapsYahoo, MapquestGoogle maps just works. It’s fast, efficient, and correct. I’ll accept this one, since this is one of their home-grown apps, and they remain the leader in features and performance.
Instant MessagingTalkMSN, Yahoo, AIMI tried the alternatives, but almost everyone important to me has a Gmail account, so …
OmnipotenceKnolWikipediaTo me, Knol is destructive competition, like starting a local nonprofit fundraiser for cancer research to compete with that other local nonprofit fundraiser for cancer research. I refuse to traffic or contribute.

As you can see, my life quite literally operates on the Google platform all day. This is annoying. But their applications always work, and they work well in my browser of choice, and so if I continue on the path of moving as many applications online as I can, then I’m stuck.

, , ,

commentary + criticism

Tom H

wrote the following on Tuesday January 27, 2009

So is iGoogle your default homepage?

I have my feeds, email, and calendar all lined up for me whenever I hit ‘home’

Micah

wrote the following on Tuesday January 27, 2009

Hey, I hear you, Kevin. Google-for all their flaws-offers the best of the best in other areas. I’ve been using gmail/gcal/gdocs since their beginnings and I’ve never looked back. I call myself a True Googolian.

Oh, btw, their awesome picture program is called Picasa (not Picasso). Common mistake.

David Sutoyo

wrote the following on Tuesday January 27, 2009

So Google has a flagship product and slowly luring you into using their other products as they slowly stamp out the competition. Sounds eerily familiar…

I actually like the new Yahoo mail better than Gmail. And though just about everyone I know uses Gmail, my contrarian nature is keeping me from switching.

Jason

wrote the following on Tuesday February 3, 2009

Try the CSE (custom search engines) for web site search mechanisms… another crack-like app. <sigh>

Rajesh Rathod

wrote the following on Wednesday February 4, 2009

nice one…

adam Hay

wrote the following on Tuesday February 10, 2009

i like opera too, but damn, why don’t you marry it ;)

Abhishek Chakraborty

wrote the following on Monday September 14, 2009

Indeed,the long-term effects of becoming hopelessly dependent on the products of a single company, can be pretty dangerous….
Its similar to the ascent of the ubiquitous greenhouse-gas-spewing automobiles without anticipating Global Warming in the long run(a far analogy but nevertheless relevant :) )

So,I guess its a question we to ask ourselves… can u trust a single entity with so much self-info that it can in effect predict our preferences.. ? well,freedom does have a price-tag!

Abhishek Chakraborty

wrote the following on Monday September 14, 2009

Indeed,the long-term effects of becoming hopelessly dependent on the products of a single company, can be pretty dangerous….
Its similar to the ascent of the ubiquitous greenhouse-gas-spewing automobiles without anticipating Global Warming in the long run(a far analogy but nevertheless relevant :) )

So,I guess its a question we need to ask ourselves… can we trust a single entity with so much self-info that it can in effect predict our preferences.. ? well,freedom does have a price-tag!