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Saturday, February 24, 2007

The 2007 Google Wishlist

Well, it's a little late, and and somewhat repetitive (and really cliche!), but as other heavy users of Google products have done, I'd like to share my "Google Wish List" for 2007. Like many other Blogger users, I've been using Google products more and more over the past year. However, there are still some holes in their lineup; it would be really great if some of these got filled this year:

  1. IMAP Support for Gmail. Well, actually, I'd settle for a properly implemented POP. It's impossible to access Gmail on multiple machines because of the idiosyncrasies of the Gmail POP support. Plus, importing old messages into Gmail is a real chore, and severely limits the utility of Gmail as an archiving tool. I have several thousand old email messages in several accounts that I would dearly love to consolidate into my Gmail account, but it's such a hassle to do this that I really shouldn't at the moment. They really should implement IMAP support posthaste, if for no other reason than AOL offers it for their accounts.
  2. Google Talk/AIM integration. Google Talk is my favorite chat client, but with a few key exceptions the rest of my family and friends use AIM. This means that I need to keep switching back and forth between the two, which gets kind of tedious. When Google purchased a stake in AOL a few years back I thought that would address the problem, but we're two years in and there's still no sign of the promised GT/AIM integration. Hopefully it pops up sooner rather than later. Video chat support and group chat support for GT wouldn't hurt, either.
  3. A To-Do List for GooCal. I'm a heavy user of Google Calendar, but great as GooCal is, it's missing that all-important project management tool, a To-do list/task manager. Some sort of integrated Gmail/GooCal to-do list and task manager would be a very useful thing. I use Lightning for that purpose now, but functionality built into GooCal that approximates MS Outlook's outstanding project management functions would be one of the most useful things since sliced bread.
  4. Google Universe. Google Earth is quite possibly the coolest single piece of software on the planet. Standalone versions of Google Mars and Google Moon would not only be really cool, but I imagine they'd be useful for researchers and schools, too. I'll note here that NASA's great World Wind program currently includes cool components for the Moon, Mars, and the Jovian Moons, but I have a sneaky hunch that far more people would use the hypothetical Google-branded product. We need to get people back to thinking that the Moon and Mars are places they'd want to visit, not just ethereal lights in the sky, and Google Moon and Mars layers would help.
  5. A Better Google Contacts. Although I use Google Contacts right now to organize my business and personal contacts, that service could use some massive improvements. Integrating across Gmail and GooCal would be a start; a standalone Plaxo-style service would be even better. Of course, a simple acknowledgement that not everyone on the contacts list should be on my GT buddy list would be a huge step forward.
  6. Google Presenter. There are actually signs that some sort of Google equivalent to Openoffice Impress/Microsoft Powerpoint could be on the way. The sooner, the better.
  7. Graphs in Google Spreadsheets. Ever since it came out, I've been a heavy user of Google Docs and Spreadsheets. It's a great application with a lot of different uses; it's especially great for archiving data and documents in a centralized location. Unfortunately, it's got a gaping hole in functionality: There isn't a charts component. I imagine the reason is that the Excel chart component is so feature-filled that making sure all Excel charts would work in a given file would be a real headache. However, including some basic chart functionality would be enormously useful, especially for collaborating.
  8. Assorted Google Docs improvements. Google Docs is more useful currently than Google Spreadsheets. Having said that, the fact that your file size is limited to .5 MB is a real impediment, as most of the word processing files I generate are about 700 K (although if there's a lot of images that number can get monstrously huge). Expecting the Google Docs application to open 40MB TIF-laden files is unrealistic, but increasing the file size to 1 MB would make Google Docs a lot more useful--for me, anyway. Adding multiple column support and header-footer options wouldn't hurt, either. Including a bulk-upload tool for the spreadsheets would be another improvement that I hope happens soon.
  9. Searching within Google Reader stories. Some sort of search function for Google Reader would be an enormously handy capability, especially when you're trying to find an interesting story that you forgot to flag.
  10. Faster Google Desktop. I was an avid user of Google Desktop, but as useful as that program is, it is such a resource hog that I had to get rid of it. I hope that they eventually release a faster version of that program, which will be a lifesaver for those of us who won't be switching to Windows Vista anytime soon.

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