Friday, December 15, 2006

5 things Google should give us all for Christmas

Like all good ideas, more than one person has them :)
Panda Search Engine News beat me to the "google christmas presents" idea...

Here are mine anyway:

1. Put http:// back in the urls

Like many avid google users I use the google personalized search feature, this has benefits in that you are able to look back at what you searched for and found, but it has the disadvantage that the link you click on in the search results isn't the real link. It redirects through google's tracking servers.
The problem is now that you can't look up a site then right click copy url and paste it into an email. You can select the url under the result and copy and paste that, but you have to add your own http:// to get the mail client to recognise it as a link. Since Yahoo also seems to do that same thing there may well be a very good reason for not displaying the http:// but it would be good to atleast hear it so that I can think of all the people I am helping each time I type http://

2. Speed up google analytics

I'm sick of waiting seeing "waiting for" in my firefox status bar. It is also the reason I don't use it on my blog. I trialled it for a while but it just seemed to slow everything down. If it was me I'd go for a minimalist approach. Just get people to but a really small image on their site and record the hit at the server end. We don't need the fancy javascript stuff...

3. Make Picasa Web Albums manageable with picasa

When I heard about picasa web albums I was excited. This was going to mean I could create and manage albums in picasa and publish them on the web. Hoorary! The reality
left something to be desired. Picasa basically is just a tool you can use to upload files to picasa web, what we really need is something that will keep the same albums synchonised, eg. you say put this album on the web and as you add or remove files they magically appear in the right place on line.

4. Add a "grab contacts" button to Gmail

I often get emailed other peoples email addresses, or see people I need to email cc'd into an email I get. I would be great if there was an easy way to add these people into the address book.

5. GCal Outlook Sync.

People have been asking for this for a while, and some people have even developed some work arounds, but none of the ones I've tried work reliably for me. I think this is something google need to develop before Google Calendar really takes off in the business world.
Update: Syncmycal provides an excellent and free solution for this! Thanks Vaibhav.

5.5 Rest

Have a good break, and come up with a whole lot of better ideas to do next year...

Update: Matt Cutts likes my list!
And see Pandia again for a round up of blog posts on this topic.


James said...

My Comments on Matt Cutts Blog.

Does that fact that I had the same idea as panda make me genius or a fool?
"As they say great minds think alike, and fools seldom differ"

Here is my 5 ideas, hopefully some of them are more doable than panda's (I hope) but I think I did leave it a bit late to post with only a week left for google to do anything...

My comments on some other ideas posted here:

China: My opinion is that Google made the right decision, better to give them something rather than nothing. I alway think the best way to influence someone is to become their friend. Friends have a lot better chance of helping people change than enemies. So help them fight the fight against porn, hatred and other illegal things. But slowly help China to see the value of open and free information.

Opensearch/RSS: That would be great! Not holding my breath, although you do have dewitt clinton working for you now.

Backlinks, Pagerank, etc: I'd love to be able to see that data. It is a pity that people abuse it though.

Bookmarking: Yeah, I think google could do a lot better than they are now. To be honest I'm pretty happy with at the moment. What I would to see is someone doing something with that data to make search better.

Fancy search operators: I think things like NEAR, inurl, prefer, etc are all good things to support. It doesn't really effect the usability to non technical users and to the few people who do use them they would be really helpful. Of course you have to balance up the cost of creating/maintaining the functinonality vs the money it might back you in the long run (which I'm guessing wouldn't be that much more).
On that note though, don't forget the power of the long tail.

Vaibhav said...

You mention Google Calendar and Outlook Sync. Some folks at work have put together a tool (and it is working for me). Its called SyncMyCal and can be found at It offers many-to-many, two-way calendar syncing between Google and Outlook

James said...

Thanks Vaibhav,

I'll definitely give Syncmycal a try.
I've tried a couple of other ones with no success. Hopefully this one is better.

Vaibhav said...


Do tell me if you liked it?


Anonymous said...

Here's one wish for your blog, change the template from the bitmapped MS Sans Serif to the much prettier Microsooft Sans Serif, eg from this:
body{margin:0px;padding:0px;background:#ffffff;color:#111111;font-family:Lucida Grande,MS Sans Serif,Lucida Sans Unicode,Verdana,Geneva,Lucida,Arial,Helvetica,Sans-Serif;}

to this:
body{margin:0px;padding:0px;background:#ffffff;color:#111111;font-family:Lucida Grande,Microsoft Sans Serif,Lucida Sans Unicode,Verdana,Geneva,Lucida,Arial,Helvetica,Sans-Serif;}

James said...

Hi Dansk Dude,

I have changed my CSS file, I don't see a lot of difference here, hopefully it looks better for you :)

I really need to do a proper template update anyway...

Anonymous said...

FYI: SyncMyCal has released version 1.3 (