The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'gmail'
Google have just announced their latest bite at the social-software cherry: it's called Google Buzz, is integrated into Gmail (with mobile web-based clients for iPhones and Android phones), and, from the video on the site, appears to be a way of sharing status updates, with optional embedded images, videos or links, to your Gmail contact list; it seems much like Facebook's Publisher, in other words. There seems to be a location-based component, with the mobile clients inferring where you are and optionally sharing that information, and also the ability to see posts from people located geographically nearby. Buzz seems to attempt to identify the actual building or establishment one is in, which could lead to Foursquare-like location-based functionality. It also has some means of interacting with other sites, such as Twitter and Flickr (though, obviously, not Facebook).
Buzz is rolling out to Gmail users over the next few days (much in the way that the new Facebook layout took the best part of a week to reach everybody), but from the video and blog announcements, it looks quite nicely designed. Of course, Google haven't had a huge amount of luck with social platforms yet (there was Orkut, which was somewhat of an odd fit for the rest of Google's line, and the OpenSocial/Friend Connect APIs, whose lunch Facebook Connect seems to have eaten), and it remains to be seen whether this time will be any different.
One of the batch of Gmail invites that has recently flooded the streets has ended up in my hands, and hence I've been able to have a look at it.
- Gmail user names must have at least 6 characters, so über-l33t names like, say, "acb" are out. One fewer reason to angst about all the good names having been snapped up by early adopters, big spenders and well-connected digerati.
- If your desired ID is unavailable, it gives you a number of options; i.e.,
- Gmail sends mail in plain text, and not HTML as some broken services (*cough*Hotmail*cough*) do. This is good.
- Gmail still doesn't seem to have POP or IMAP, either incoming or outgoing. Which is going to make downloading one's mail tricky.
Aside: This site has some concerns about Gmail's privacy implications. Granted, the somewhat eccentric graphics on the site give off a paranoid-crackpot vibe; however, some of the issues raised are concerning:
If Google builds a database of keywords associated with email addresses, the potential for abuse is staggering. Google could grow a database that spits out the email addresses of those who used those keywords. How about words such as "box cutters" in the same email as "airline schedules"? Can you think of anyone who might be interested in obtaining a list of email addresses for that particular combination? Or how about "mp3" with "download"? Since the RIAA has sent subpoenas to Internet service providers and universities in an effort to identify copyright abusers, why should we expect Gmail to be off-limits?
Does anybody know whether the RIAA or an equivalent agency would have an easier time ordering Google to hand over a list of all people with the words "mp3" and "download" in their mail than they would of ordering an ordinary ISP to give them access to customers' mail spools? (Mind you, the latter happened in Australia; ARIA did get access to student mail at various universities.)