Thursday, April 28, 2005

Google Gmail vs Microsoft and the Desktop

Google Gmail is the future of email. Maybe just not email, but how we store information.

I've been trying an experiment. Instead of saving emails and docs locally, I forward the content to my gmail account. The next step is to organise the info through labels. Labels are not to be mixed with folders. A label is like a tag. Combining the search & labels feature makes it very easy to find the info. Google search is a very powerful tool. Unlike navigating to a document burried deeply under some directory on my PC, a search on gmail takes just seconds!

Microsoft has been adding features to Outlook that turn it into an all in one Information Manager.

The shift to online webservices as in the case of Gmail make it easy to store, manage and most importantly retrieve info quickly. All Microsoft has is the Desktop. I think they realize this and are trying to further lock users to the desktop with the upcoming Windows Longhorn which is slated to be released by 2006.

The advantages of web based services are plenty. In such a case the computer only acts as a medium between the user and the web. Apart from the ease of use, this could also mean huge cost savings for users. If the computer crashes, its easy to get on another PC and continue transparently. Most desktop users do not backup their critical data. A crash can result in a tremendous amount of downtime. Not to mention, the time spent in reinstalling the OS, apps and configurations.

It could be only a matter of time, before we login to a google account and begin editing documents or listen to music by simply booting the computer through a GNU/Linux based bootable CD. The possibilities are endless. This would really make on-the-move technology a reality!

No comments: