GMail, Google Docs, Blogger, YouTube, Google+, the list of products seems almost endless, and odds are if you are a power user of one, you use many of them.
Over the last several years Google has been adding to the list of its publicly available product and moving people’s workflow to the cloud. Successful businesses are now being started with the simple power of tools like GMail, Google Docs, Google Sites and AdSense.
A lot of the products that Google offer are interdependent though. They work together. For example, your AdSense revenue is heavily correlated with your Analytics while your GMail could be very intertwined with a few of your Google Docs.
I am a proud Google consumer. I use Google+, GMail, Google Docs, Google Analytics, YouTube and a few others on a daily basis. They’re great products, they’re free and they work well. That’s why I use them.
But, that being said, their interface isn’t perfect.
Think about your car (or an Airbus 320), there are lots of gauges and indicators to tell you what is working and what isn’t and how well things are performing. You use your speedometer to keep track of your speed, your tachometer keep track of the engine and the gas gauge to keep track of your fuel. They are three different gauges that use three different sensors to give you information that is all inter-dependent. (Think about it, your engine won’t run with out any fuel.)
Your workflow has a lot in common with your car. You check your e-mail, you check your analytics and you work within your documents. That’s three separate processes to investigate three separate things that are all inter-dependent.
*Google needs an interface that lets you do it all at once.*
Imagine a dashboard that showed you how many hits your website got, how many +1’s you received on Google+ as wells as your new important e-mail messages and a summary of Google doc changes. If you knew this information when you first logged in to the interface you would know where to focus your attention.
If you sit in your car and you can only see your tachometer before you start it, you won’t know whether or not you have any fuel. So, why waste time looking at your Google Analytics when you have 300 new survey responses to import in your Google Doc form? Currently there is no way of knowing where you should focus your attention creating a large loss of productivity and a decline in efficiency.
Having the ability to see a summary of everything at once will help you improve your business and productivity.
Of course you can use iGoogle to come up with a display on your home page that shows your Google Calendar and your GMail as well as some third party widgets for other Google products. Google has not yet come out with a platfrom that allows you to intuitively view all of this in an easy-to-use efficient layout.
Hopefully with all of the new development and focus on moving people’s business applications to the web, Google will find a way to make managing all of the separate facets possible “at-a-glance.” But then again, that’s just my idea…
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photo by Dominique Huet
4 thoughts on “Why Google Needs a Better Set of Controls”
and to that, I will only tell http://www.igoogle.com (or the redirected url : http://www.google.com/ig)
> you can set add widgets from almost everything from the analytics hits, error on website, stats to news from other media etc…
If you read the entire post, I stated that iGoogle would work, but it’s not as intuitive or streamlined as I would like.
I deleted (my mistake) some sentences in which I said that by now, there is not lots of platform which can provide such a lot of different “widgets apps” to provide what information you want about your account.
I completely agree, igoogle lacks of some ability to change the widget position or drag’n’drop from the list to the page as easily as on a tablet for instance. But this platform will evolve cause of the ability for developpers to create their own and gives users what they need/want.
The igoogle team probably have some plan to change this
There are too many possibilities to come up with an effective single-screen dashboard, as you advocate. The idea isn’t bad, it’s just the breadth of possibilities makes it impossible, unless you develop your own dashboard (iGoogle or similar) to show the things you’re interested in seeing. That’s why most companies don’t use off-the-shelf software for their business operations – there’s nothing on the market that fits their specific and unique needs. It’s always been this way & always will be.