iPhone+Safari+Web 2.0+Google=Mobile Widget

I was reading Zec’s blog and his latest post is titled “Google widgets on iPhone?” and you know what? I totally agree! He must have been reading my mind because in the last couple of days I have been thinking just that.

Apple announced that you can develop Web 2.0 apps for the iPhone.
Google has had Widgets for a while and recently launched Gears.

This sounds to me like a perfect match. You can’t really develop applications (yet), which is a shame, but at least you can develop tiny web 2.0 apps and Widgets and maybe with Google Gears you can add some off-line browsing. I can imaging getting online, using your favorite social network or whatever, get offline (in the subway, on an airplane, in a cave or in a dungeon), start up the Gears Mobile Widget, read your inbox, write some new messages or something like that, get back online, upload the updates.
The iPhone connectivity is certainly meant for a fulltime online usage, as much as broaband is today and personally I can’t wait for that day, but until the day you will have a REAL flat (that is also cheap enough), you can’t think of that. Once we have it, we’ll have the (i)phone always connected and the offline periods will be only limited. I just wonder how long will the battery would last, if you’re always online. Not very long, I guess. Where is a new battery technology? UMTS is certainly not sucking battery that GPRS and EDGE, so this is an issue!

Anyway, Google Gadgets, Gears and iPhone sound like a perfect match. Google and Apple and getting nearer every day. When are they going to share code between the WebKit and Mozilla (and maybe have full support for Safari in the many Google sites such as Blogger)?

e-mails organized in threads

I remember when Opera initially launched the concept in its e-mail client that you did not really need folders to organize your e-mail, but that it was sufficient to group them.
Fairly recently Google reviewed the same concept and defined the labels and a very similar way of organizing your e-mails. Google certainly added a very powerful search engine, but the original concept is very much the same.

Being a Mac user, I have been using Apple’s Mail for a few years now. Mail.app has a standard a hybrid approach to e-mails, the standard folders are available, but since Spotlight became part of the OS, users are also able to create filters and organize e-mails in “dynamic folders“.

I have never been a fan of Opera’s approach and the same applies to Google’s approach and Apple’s dynamic folders.
I really like the threaded view, though. Both GMail and Mail.app offer this feature.
For my normal inbox and for a few folders I use the standard view with e-mails sorted by date descending.
For mailing lists I just love the threaded view. Here are two screenshots of the same mailing list:

And here is another screenshot of the same mailing list with a standard view:

When you read and contribute to a mailing list with a fair amount of traffic and different topics discussed, maybe with a lot of replies to the same topic, the threaded view lets you have e-mails organized very well and lets you follow a full thread even if other e-mails were sent for other threads in the same timeline.

While both Google’s and Apple’s e-mail clients are not exactly perfect when grouping e-mails, it still is very helpful and works smoothly in most cases. I have been using this feature for a couple of years now and liked it. I realized how I’m not used to it when last week I read my e-mails using a web client and found myself lost in the e-mails, losing track and having a hard time identifying the context as I was moving through the list of my e-mails, but were actually about different topics.
Going back to check old threads is also very easy when using this feature as you immediately get all the e-mails together.

What if Google entered the Music downloads biz?

I found a very interesting article on Blog Maverick. The blog, in case you did not know, is maintained by Mark Cuban, the owner of the basketball team and a number of companies related to internet (read more on Wikipedia at the link above).

The post is entitled Googlenomics , Itunes and Zune and describes a few reasons why Google might enter the Music downloads business, how much it would cost and what it could bring to them.

It makes some sense, but I don’t think it’s going to happen, or at least not as it is described. I can hardly believe that the music labels would be happy to give away the music for free. The first billion songs for free is A LOT and would cost them A LOT (Mark says about 575M USD). That would mean a really low price per song and the music labels are already fighting with Apple to raise the 99c per song.

While Google and Apple are friends, I doubt the service would be compatible with the iPod and Google and Microsoft are not so much friends, so I hardly think it’ll be compatible with Zune. What’s left? Something that maybe is not in Mark Cuban’s article, you home-media-center. An all-in-one tiny computer (as big as your VCR) that connects to internet, lets you watch TV shows, listen to music and read news online. Wouldn’t that make more sense for Google?

Any Widget?

It seems like Widgets have become really popular, something we can’t live without!

I was reading some news yesterday and got on Google’s Gadget. The funny thing is that I opened it in a window that I left in the background… Later I came back to that window and stood there a for few seconds wondering how I got there… And wondering what the heck it was. I looked at all the little icons and names and then realized they are widgets (Google Desktop required!).

Konfabulator has been around for years, for the Mac initially and later for Windows. Then Apple launched the Dashbord, I remember the disappointment from the guys behind Konfabulator. Apple released, for free, included in the default install, a software that was just like their little pet. I would have been disappointed myself!
Soon Yahoo! released a Widget for Apple’s Dashboard.
Suprisingly Yahoo! purchased Konfabulator and renamed it to Yahoo! Widgets. They probably thought it was a good business.

Now comes Google. (Has it been there for a long time?)

I have used Konfabulator, before Dashboard was released. Really nice graphics, TONS of Widgets, but… useless.
Later I tried Apple’s Dashboard, it is SO damn slow that, even if there was anything useful, I would not use it. Not to mention that Widgets most of the times are little boxes of services that you can get on the web or with an RSS reader. Tell me something you can do in a Widget that you can’t do with a browser.

As a user… I don’t see the use.

Also good to read, a comparison between Dashboard and Konfabulator.