“A dent in the universe”

Had some time this weekend to go through my feed subscriptions and read this rather dated post from Jason Kolb about changing the game when it comes to developing new services. Really liked the post and agree with him on his impression that Google is beating Microsoft hard when it comes to rolling out “changing the game” apps and services. He paraphrased Ray Ozzie of Microsoft like this:

“Ozzie had a lot to say about how the ideal software deployment is a combination of online/offline (Web AND desktop) components, about how applications need to be available offline, and so on.  Well, that is true, TODAY.  But what about tomorrow? “

Agree. But the funny thing is that Google launched a new service that permit you to view all content in Google Reader when you are offline. You have probably noticed as well.

To use this feature you have to install a browser plugin called Google Gears. The plugin is only 200kb and it installs flawlessly. I love the feature and I think it is a game changer. As long as the Web isn’t ubiquitous this is very important. I decided to try it out on my flight back from Reboot in Copenhagen to Amsterdam. 

My impressions:

  • It is perfect for feedbased readings. It works fast and 2000+ posts  were synched in the browser within a few seconds.
  • Which brings me to the point that you deliberately have to decide to go offline when using the app in the browser when you’re still online in order for Gears to bring the content from the server to the browser. This is easily forgotten and therefore a weakness. It would be great to manage those options centrally from the browser, e.g. “Every time I go offline download content from the following sites:…”
  • Photos in the feed don’t display which is a pity. 
  • The function “Mark all as read” didn’t work offline.
  • The “Trends”function in Reader isn’t available, obviously.
  • When connecting to the Internet again and going online in the Reader app the synchronization worked perfectly.
  • The only thing I missed is that I normally bookmark a lot of stuff in Delicious and that isn’t possible in the offlline version. A nice feature request for Delicious?!

Now we just have to wait when they make offline use available for Gmail and Google Docs. And then Microsoft has some serious problem at their hands.

To reference Jason Kolb once again:

“As Steve Jobs likes to say, are you trying to put a dent in the universe? “

I think Google is doing exactly this.


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