Gmail launched in March 2004. But after more than four years, the site still uses “beta” on its logo.
For the uninitiated, “beta” is a fancy way of saying, “this software or website is a work in progress.” But all software and websites are works in progress, so the term is primarily used today to sound cool — nothing more.
So let’s drop that “beta,” Google. Besides, you’re not as cool as you once were (but I still love ya).
I did something yesterday that I don’t recall doing before. With exception to a single message, I avoided my email from 8am-6pm while still working. No gmail, no Blackberry, no nothing. I had to finish up a magazine article by this morning and needed the extra focus and added attention to get it done. I have a personal goal of replying to every action email within 2 business hours, so this was hard for me to do. But having put out existing fires and working under a tight deadline, it worked. And you know what, I actually enjoyed it. Ordinarily, I treat my email like life support, so it was nice to break away and breathe on my own terms as opposed to constantly checking my mail at all hours of the day, including nights. I should do this again.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to check my email…
I loves me some FireFox tabed browsing. I frequently use tabs as ad-hoc bookmarks while holding control + clicking to open a new page for later review. To that end, here are the tabs I have open religiously, usually in this order:
Gmail. The epicenter of my web efforts. Work. Play. Personal. Planning. Notes. Scheduling. You name it, I’m doing it here. It’s funny ’cause I encourage everyone to email me first because it has a higher priority for me than other communication methods such as phone or voicemail, and it documents everything to boot! It’s funny, ’cause while other people use “just email me” as a brush off, I’m genuinely sincere from a productivity and response perspective. Asynchronous communication for the win! (Side note: I don’t and haven’t used Microsoft Office for over a year now minus a handful of rare, quick occasions. I use Gmail for all that now.)
Bloglines. Information overload and feed reading goes here. I live in this thing too, probably too much and periodically close the tab for productivity’s sake.
Thesaurus. This goes hand-in-hand with its dictionary counterpart and is a must have for aspiring writers like “mua” and lovers of the English language. It’s like a writers inventory: the only thing he sells is words.
Blogger, Blogsmith (non-public). The two most widely used blog publishing platforms that I use daily. Griffio customizes WordPress installations, however, as a nifty publishing/CMS software for our clients as well. So I’m in those a lot too. Mmm… Blogging and self-publishing for the win!
Wikipedia. This bad boy has stolen about 50% of my research traffic that formally went to Google. It’s quicker, faster, leverages the masses for balanced/non-bias information without all the ads. Even better relevancy than Google now. I could live on this site all day long if I had to.
Google SERPS. Yup, I still use the mother of all search despite my critiques of it. I use the engine for info discovery and Google images to accompany my blogging.
You will then see the rest of the tabs filled with upwards of 10-15 web pages I intend to check out later in the short-term. If I don’t get around to them, they get bookmarked and tagged in my Delicious account. Other notable tabs I consistently have open include websites I’m working on, Site Meter for traffic tracking, Delicious, Digg, and Flickr to name a few. I’m an internet junkie and would royally be out of a job if I were at this stage in my career 15 years ago when the web was non-existent. What tabs do you rock on a consistent basis?
Though I tend to criticize Google from time to time (Note: I fear monopolies and appreciate strong competition as a consumer), I loves me some Gmail. I’ve used the web-based email client for a year now, and it’s definitely consolidated my headaches, my email accounts, and made me more productive by way of a pseudo webtop (or lack of heavy desktop application use).
Gmail works so well, in fact, I even use it as my online processor. I can’t remember the last time I’ve opened Microsoft Word. I produce proposals, agreements, milestone tables, etc using Gmail so I have an online archive of all client notes and documents in one place. I even email myself files and/or notes as needed. No more thumbdrives, cross-computer headaches, and networking issues for me. I do most everything online now.
I’m also a Nazi when it comes to keeping my inbox empty. Reason being is that I use my inbox as a task box in addition to receiving new emails. If an email or alert (via Gcal) doesn’t contain a call to action, it gets archived quick-like to a Gmail label that I use as folders. All action items and tasks then remain in my inbox for review and completion. I archive items when completed. So if my inbox is clean, life is good.
So in a word, I’m grateful for how Gmail has changed my work habits for the better and help me transition to a quasi-webtop. For the most part, I’m happy with just a browser and an internet connection. Are you closer to working in a webtop world? Are you still using a local based email client?