Thursday, June 25, 2009

Google Mail For Business is Really Google Mail Without Features Part II

I couldn't believe it but I looked up in my Gmail for Business account and saw New! Email Tips followed by a beaker icon. Could it be they actually fixed stuff? The answer is partially. With around 50 features now being offered in Labs setting tab I was excited to see I could finally put my email signature above the previous message. I should probably say thank you but I had put this feature request in around 3 years ago so I guess better late than never will do for now.

There were a lot of features added in the Labs settings tab. Some were fluff. But a few others I found useful enough to turn on. I turned on the task lists since I use this in Outlook at my day job. Undo Send seemed like a good idea. Thats the delay of sending the message out the MTA long enough for you to have one of those "oh, crap" moments because you forgot something. I also added Inserting Images. Great web 2.0 feature. That will save me from always attaching them.

Unfortunately the honeymoon had to end. As I read the New! Email Tips and made my way to the Gmail Master page. (The tips are broken up into white belt, green belt, black belt, and Gmail master) to the final page I saw the what I consider another essential option. The ability to always opt for HTTPS sessions. Cool I thought. Welcome to the 21st century and basic data security. But wouldn't you know it. The require HTTPS option is only available in standard Gmail,, and not on Gmail for Businesses. What the #%$#@!!!!!!! Guess we still have a ways to go.

Google Mail For Business is Really Google Mail Without Features

Have you noticed that it seems like Google wants to be all things to every one. First they were a progressive search engine and in the beginning this was cool. We could get decent information relatively quickly. There were a few good additions. There was Google Maps and gmail but then it just go weird. Goole bought Blogger (this blog hosting site) and YouTube. It also built a shopping search and tied it to its own payment engine. Which if you are not using you are missing a great way to drive business to your site. Then their is Google earth which is a stand alone app, Google Docs, Picassa, and Android. A phone OS? That has to be the most interesting one and even though I am baffled why, I am also hopeful that it is successful.

So my point is a company now this diversified is bound to have trouble. Where will that be? Actually I think the problem is here already. Its integration. Take Gmail for Business where you get to use Gmail with your own domain name. Great idea and not too complex compared to other initiatives but it does not integrate well with other Google offering. Most importantly iGoogle. If you have hosted on Gmail for Business then why can't you use it for iGoogle? Doesn't that seem trivial? Instead you have to have a 2nd account like to use the other services like iGoogle, Google Docs, etc.

Come on Google. Stop buying and building new products. Focus integration of your existing offering. Sure its not glamorous but its good business. Apple understands the importance of this to their business. Microsoft doesn't. Do you want to be as admired as Apple or as despised as Microsoft?