Tag Archives: GMail

Things I Learned this Week

Among the things I learned this week:
* In the late 19th century, women wore posy holders. There was a lot of variety, but the ornate ones are beautiful and many had ring attachments so they could dangle. (Courtesy: Smithsonian Gardens)

* The joy and amusement of watching people who have never played Pac-Man before trumps my desire to play. (Courtesy: Smithsonian American Art Museum)

* GMail searches don’t auto-stem. I’m shocked and appalled (that I just learned this). (Courtesy: Personal experience)

* 1982 Bordeaux wines are historically important for the evolution of the wine market. (Courtesy: The New York Times)

* General Ulysses S. Grant’s relationship with Jews, including General Orders No. 11, which expelled them from areas under his control during the Civil War, and his, later, assistance in eastern Europe. (Courtesy: The New Republic)

* Pyongyang’s subway system is more extensive than I expected, although it does not appear to be expanding. Plus, it has significance in the context of world subway systems (other sites with good information or photos: Unofficial Pyongyang Metro). (Courtesy: North Korean Economy Watch)

The Google (and GIM and GMail)

Given the attention Google receives, including from techies, investors, and media-types, it is surprising to see how little attention and analysis there has been regarding Google’s integration of Google Talk (or GIM) with GMail.

In general, Google uses sophisticated models and data-mining techniques to deliver more relevant advertising to users. Increasingly, however, the company is microscoping those techniques down to a user-specific level. The bait to tie advertising to a specific user (e.g., me), rather than a general type of user (e.g., people who perform a search for “glass + composer + ‘tour dates'”), was/is GMail. To use the service, people log in and have a specific account. In its initial form, e-mails were scanned and relevant advertising provided.

But that crude method, which was and to some degree remains the standard method, only provides a one-dimensional (i.e., e-mail) information/revenue stream. Steadily, Google has increased the number of services/revenue streams that improve/adjust when a user is logged into what was his or her GMail account and is now more generally referred to as a Google account. These includes News.Google, Base.Google, Images.Google, Groups.Google, and (Search.)Google.

While the Google (nee GMail) account was, and remains, the bait for attracting users to create trackable/information-creating accounts, GIM’s incorporation into GMail–which is done adequately, although not impressively, well–is the hook that keeps users logged in, trackable, and able to be advertised to in a personal (rather than customizable or typed) manner. That’s because GIM requires you to be logged in constantly and because there are people who only access their e-mail account when checking for new messages (as opposed to running it continuously and being notified when there is e-mail). The combination of the two is a significant barrier to Google’s efforts to collect user-specific data, but a barrier that is overcome because of GIM’s always-logged-in character. Important to remember is that once a user remains logged in the other personalizable Google services are activated, thereby generating not just the GIM and GMail information/revenue streams, but also a number of others (e.g., News.Google). That one GIM/GMail door opens up many worlds of new information gathering and advertising potential.

In fact, GIM’s integration with GMail may be one of the most important new products/developments the company has rolled out, and yet it met with little discussion and fanfare from the tech and investment community.