Google Sidebar

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog -
Rich Tehrani
| Communications and Technology Blog - Latest news in IP communications, telecom, VoIP, call center & CRM space

Google Sidebar

Google is doing an admirable job competing with Microsoft by releasing product after product that competes with the Redmond based software company while at the same time downplaying the fact that they compete. In a Wall Street Journal article today you can read the following : It's no question that we're competing with Microsoft today -- and with a lot of other people," said Nikhil Bhatla, the product manager for Google desktop software. Today Google released Sidebar a tool that is like a web and personal; dashboard allowing you to keep track of news, weather, stocks, and more. It also serves as a launch pad for applications and tools.

When you download the toolbar you get a message that says “Please read this carefully. It’s not the usual yada yada.” Seinfeld lovers take note… There is some serious plagiarism going on.

Here is the warning message that goes along with this semi-ominous headline:

When you use Advanced Features, you may be sending non-personal usage information and information about websites you visit to Google.
For example, Google Desktop sends Google information about the news pages you visit in order to personalize the news you see in Sidebar. We use other non-personal usage data, including crash reports, to help improve Desktop's performance. Please note that none of this data actually tells us who you are; we use it merely to improve Desktop's ability to give you the information that's most relevant to you.
To learn more about our privacy protections, read our Privacy Policy.
Once downloaded, you can search your e-mail from within Outlook – well at least it seems that way as the software positions itself to the right of Outlook’s main viewing screen in a tall and thin window. The lack of this sort of feature until now is one of the reasons people would use alternative and in some cases more powerful search tools like Lookout and SER Outlook Access which also allow for e-mail and desktop search.

The product also seems to have a bug or at least doesn’t seem to have the ability to show weather in the 06854 zip code where TMC’s headquarters are located. It accepted my zip code but instead of showing the weather in my area continued to show the weather in Hawaii. I then deleted Norwalk, CT and typed in NY, NY which the software recognized and immediately stared displaying weather for. At this point I then added the Norwalk zip code and it finally started to show this weather correctly. Go figure.

A few useful touches are the Web Clips box which show you the latest pages you have browsed and also a scratch pad that allows rudimentary notes to be taken. For some reason you cannot customize news feeds which is fairly frustrating.

This product will like catch on and will allow Google to not only compete with Microsoft more effectively but it also allows it to compete squarely with MyYahoo! It also is another foray into the desktop software market and shows that sooner or later there will be inevitable clashes between this search king and the software king located in the state of Washington.

It isn’t far fetched to imagine a desktop word processor and spreadsheet being integrated into such a desktop interface, followed by just about anything else. Google is slowly but surely inching its way into the desktop market and will likely increase its web dominance every step of the way.

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