I have been talking about this for a while, but why can’t any of the major online players get their act together when it comes to giving users a one-stop location for all the stuff they want to do online?
Here is the mantra folks. Mail, calendar, Address book, File Storage, photos, and maybe for the business folks some hosting and collaboration. Is this so hard? It seems like they have all been working on the same thing for so long.
Yahoo! has had a nice email service for a long time and yet they have never been able to get the other things like Calendar, Storage, Address book, and online collaboration off the ground. They have all these APPs, but they are poorly designed and integrated into the user experience. Their IM product has a few of them built in, but once again they are poorly integrated to where they are nothing more than links to the browser APP, which all look and behave differently. Yahoo! spent all that time to make an IM client that works in HTML and hasn’t touched their file storage APP in years. We don’t need any more Tech News blogs or GeoCities updates.
I guess there is always .mac, but I want to talk more from a PC perspective because, well… Most people are on them.
Here is what I want from a business owner and individual perspective.
- Hosting: I know that Yahoo! does this, but in such a half-assed way that it is ridiculous. I currently get more storage, more throughput and more email with my nice small ISP at a cheaper price than what Yahoo! offers. How is that possible? Don’t they have like 20 thousand servers all over the world? This is more of a mom & pop hosting environment and I think even Homestead does this better. The biggest thing that they can offer is the use of their email client. And if you think I am just picking on Yahoo!, Google is nowhere to be found on this topic and neither is MS.
- File Storage: I got one word for you Briefcase. 25MBs of space? That is retarded. Enough said. Google DOCs? Not very intuitive at all. It’s not like you have to reinvent the wheel right? Google DOCs is more of a document and spreadsheet handler, exactly what it says. You are better off going with Box.net, xdrive.com or maybe even strongspace.com but then once again you are using a file storage APP that is not connected to anything else.
- Calendar: Yahoo calendar has not changed in years and Google’s calendar looks like Yahoo!’s looked like 4 years ago. Most of these online calendars are nice but do little for collaboration and online sharing. They are hard to share and easy to get fed up with.
- Address Book: I don’t mean a regular address book. I have ten thousand of those. That is the problem. None of them interact and none of them are shared. Can you imagine a family address book that is shared with your family? How about a central contacts manager for your small business? You don’t have to get Outlook and Exchange to get this going.
My company has gone from a Outlook exchange model, to a outsourced Exchange model and now we are using a Zimbra client and it gives us a little freedom, but no file storage and the same shared calendar and address book problems that all of them have. Are we just doomed forever?