I have very few complaints with Google. However in their attempt to not look like a portal, it is hard to actually find Google’s tools. Clean and simple sometimes gets in the way of functionality. If you don’t know the URL of your favorite Google tool, it takes several clicks to get there. Is there a solution? I think I just found one on googlex.jayssite.com. By using this site, not only can you see all of your favorite Google tools, but you can click “more” and customize your Google search. You can also remove Google tools that you don’t use like on the Macintosh OSX dock. Worth checking out!
Watch out MapQuest, Google has done it again! Google maps provides driving directions and maps, just like MapQuest does, however there are some great advantages. For example, the maps are easier to read and scrolling around a map is MUCH easier (the page doesn’t have to reload with each movement like it does on MapQuest). There are still a couple of little usability issues (like quickly being able to return to the US map, but these are things that I’m sure they will take care of. To try Google Maps, just go to maps.google.com and be glad you bought stock in Google!
In theory, the idea of convergence is great – take several similar tools and combine them into one tool with multiple functions. However in reality, almost every time this happens, it is not very successful. Here are some familiar examples…
* Converge shoes and rollerblades and you get a crummy pair of shoes and a crummy pair of rollerblades.
* Converge a printer, scanner, and fax, and you get a device that doesn’t do any of the above very well (even though HP is trying to fix that).
Yet in the midst of all of these bad examples, I am always hopeful that some of the products that I use will converge – because I hate carrying around so much stuff. Currently, there is an item on the horizon that I think will actually be a successful example of convergence: the Motorola iTunes Phone. Motorola really knows how to make good phones (although some GUI experts may disagree with me on that one), and iTunes is quickly becoming the standard music library application. In addition, both your phone and your music library are things that you want to have with you at all times, so why not make them work together. And since Apple is involved I can assume they will make sure it is compatible with my Mac! Anyway, keep your eyes open for the new generation of iTunes phones. If you want more information, take a look at Gizmodo