android: Tue Nov 4 00:33:00 2008

Tue Nov 4 00:33:00 2008

One of the big points of Android as an off-the-shelf phone platform is that it starts out with a bunch of Google services:

The problem is that while gmail is actually Quite Good, the rest of them are only interesting in that they sync at all - the web side of Google Contacts doesn't even have basic things like merge, let alone custom fields (not that "last updated" should need to be custom...) The phone-side workflow isn't bad - a friend phoned, and afterwards I was able to press-and-hold the phone number in the dialer, scan through the suggested contacts to their "I got mail from you" address, and paste the phone number in - that worked quite smoothly and intuitively. (Of course, if GSM provided caller name instead of just number, like landline based Caller ID does, I wouldn't have even had to do that...)

As for Google Calendar, the UI, even the page layout is entirely outdone by Zimbra or 30boxes. I'd forgive that give the tight integration with google mail - except that I just had it suggest a precise date for an unambiguously phrased appointment mail that was off by an entire week! You wouldn't know to look at it that time parsing in english text was pretty much nailed down in 2002 as part of the TERQAS effort... and that even if you have hard-to-resolve ambiguity, you've got a user pressing a button right in front of you, present it to them!

Having picked up a few screenfuls of websites in my on-phone bookmarks list, I'm ready to organize those too, somehow. Too bad Google Browser Sync was discontinued just this past June, and "Google Bookmarks" is only part of iGoogle. (Of course, it's just a matter of digging through code, I actually expect that one to be fixed soon, or perhaps I'll get to it myself, at least as far as actually backing them up...)

The basics are there, anyhow, and there's no shortage of opportunity for improvement...