I hope Google doesn’t turn evil. Or at least, not super evil. I have handed over a large part of my life. If you were to ask me what powers my daily searches, all of my email, my calendar, my domains, the answer would be — like the song says — Just Google.
I had used Gmail to power my email for a while, but continued using Mail.app to check it. A few weeks ago, I decided to try a test, using the actual Gmail website for email management, to see how life with just web-based email would go. I was fully expecting to hate it.
I quickly realized, though, that I’d need Fluid, an app that lets me create Site-Specific Browsers. So, I have an application in my dock that’s called The Friedmans, and it can only surf the Gmail account for my thefriedmans email domain. (That account is set up using Google Apps.) I have a second app that does similar magic for my work account. Fluid is smart enough that it can even show a Mail-esque badge in the dock indicating the number of new messages.
I also installed the Google Notifier, which puts a menu extra in my menu bar, and pops up a translucent window with excerpts as new messages come in.
Gmail is excellent. The keyboard controls for the web interface are intuitive, and having instant, unlimited access to every message I’ve ever sent or received is undeniably useful. And the spam filter is better than any I’ve ever used.
I also switched my calendaring to Google Calender over iCal. I registered at a free service that promised to update/sync my iPod touch’s calendar via Exchange-based push, and it Just Works. Amazing, and perfect.
I’ve enabled all the right “extras” in both applications so that I can very easily add new events to my calendars (“Dinner with Smiths at 7pm tomorrow” becomes a true calendar event, easily add/create todo lists, “bookmark” emails, chat (even with video), and more. And Gmail’s preternaturally good date recognition is astounding: I had an email with the subject line “Poker night Thurs?” and it subtly asked beside the message whether I wanted to add Poker Night to my calendar for January 22nd. Good stuff.
So yeah, every appointment I set is through Google. Every email I send and receive is, too. All our videos of our children go on Google’s YouTube. And virtually every Word doc or Excel spreadsheet I create these days isn’t really a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet at all; I just use Google Docs so that I (and anyone else I need) can access the files from anywhere.
Like I said… I hope they’re not evil.