I was an early Gmail adopter, and it quickly became my defacto-standard email address; thus it became the real-world link to my online identity. But it is absolutely astonishing to me how completely and utterly Google has dropped the ball with regards to social media. Not had dropped the ball... has dropped the ball, present-tense. Because it's still dropped. And yet they keep coming up with over-engineered solutions to what is a ludicrously simple problem (Buzz? Seriously?)
All Google had to do was give me a fucking homepage and a fucking textarea to jot down quick status updates, and voilà!--Facebook is dead in a month. No asinine games, no privacy-stealing bullshit, no invites to time-wasters, no childish crap. Just a public frontpage tied to my Gmail address. This is so simple... and they can still do it! Yet they continue to keep looking for the Rube Goldberg solutions.
But the craziest thing is this: every Gmail account already has a public account page! They've already done most of the work! So how do you get to it? Let's fire up Google and take a look.
Hmm... could it be this prominent iGoogle link at the top-right next to my username? NOPE. All that does it take me to a half-baked late-90s "dashboard" where I can add "gadgets" to spice up the Google homepage. Except I already have a smart phone and a desktop computer and
they ALL want to be my primary "dashboard"... I don't need the beautifully simple Google homepage to be sullied with more fucking weather apps.
So where could this link be if it's not in the "logged in" area of the top navigation? Well, it's not one of the primary menu bar links (Web | Images | Videos | Maps | News | Shopping | Gmail | more...) Maybe under "MORE"? Let's see... Translate, Books, Docs, Finance, Scholar, Calendar, YouTube... holy crap they've got everything under the sun, but no public account page. How about under the EVEN MORE link? You know, the link that opens up a separate page with dozens of Google-related projects? NOPE.
The nearly invisible way to get to your public account page?
1. Log in to your Google account
2. Add /account to the URL
And there you go.
WHAT THE HELL, GOOGLE?
And notice how the top-right menu has changed? Now instead of the lame iGoogle link, we've got a My Account link.
WHAT THE HELL, GOOGLE?
So they've already got an account page. Just put a TEXTAREA on top and show the last 5 posts and you're DONE. DONE. That's the END OF FACEBOOK. That's all you have to do, guys! Christ almighty it's so infuriating I have to stop typing so I can mop up all the frothing spittle.