Will Google Pull a Plaxo?

Google Operating System speculates that Gmail will soon display status updates from your contacts:

It’s not very clear what kind of updates you will receive, but they’re probably the latest important actions of your contacts from different Google services.

Ionut says based on reading some Google code that users will be able to delete updates – now word whether there will be a “Big Switch” to opt out globally. The functionality itself would be closer to Facebook’s newsfeed, the reason I am comparing it to Plaxo is that Plaxo became a metaphor for spam in its early years, and it is back at it now, with all the unwanted Plaxo Pulse notifications.

The contact updates, especially if it’s not easy to opt-out once and for all would be nothing but spam. What makes it even worse is that Gmail Contacts are really not contacts: anybody you answer automatically gets added to your Address Book, whether you like it or not. And guess what: there is no way to turn this off. (In fact, in the new version of Gmail -not yet available for Google Apps accounts- you can’t even delete more than 20 contacts at any given time.)

I really hope it does not happen. Gmail is the Crown Jewel of Google services, and as such, more productivity-oriented for most of us, then say Orkut or Picasa are. They can’t seriously think of clobbering the screen with garbage like that. Can they? smile_sad


Bloglines Has Become a SPAM Engine

Hello, Fellow Bloglines user … has recommended the following blogs. You can choose to add some or all of these blogs to your Bloglines account

Does this email look like spam to you? It certainly does to me. Oh, well, let’s quickly check my Bloglines profile to turn recommendations off… oops.. I can’t. This is definitely SPAM.

In my two years of using Bloglines I’ve never seen this before. In fact all I have there is a dormant account that I haven’t logged into for a long time – so I certainly could not have opted in to this program. I guess Bloglines “volunteered me”. smile_angry

Is Bloglines so fed up losing market share to Google Reader that they think spamming will win users back? This can only backfire – btw, Gmail’s spam filter is pretty good, so this is the last junk mail I received from Bloglines. But so far I haven’t activeley disliked Bloglines – now I do. Not a good deal for Bloglines, if you ask me.

Oh, and while I’m at it: all those Plaxo Pulse invitations from unknown people are also spam. They just don’t learn.smile_sniff

Update (11/18): It’s worse than I thought: I received the same spam to another email account which Bloglines should not even be aware of – not unless they deep scan old blog posts for buried mailto links.

Update (12/4): Tom Raftery is also fed up with Plaxo spam.


20%, Hackathon, Haxo, Fedex Day

Now that title doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? It’s all about the same thing: Google’s model of allocating 20% of developers’ time to “doing their own stuff” as long as innovative and does NOT belong to their everyday project is becoming increasingly popular.

JotSpot defines it as a Hackathon:

“What the heck is a hackathon?

It’s a day-long event where our engineers each crank on something:

  • valuable to the company
  • but not what they’re “supposed” to be working on and
  • that can be taken from idea to working prototype in one day

Why do a hackathon? Because even startups get into a grind where engineers are working on longer term projects and creativity can feel stalled.

Plaxo calls it Haxo (cute )

“The general rule is that projects have to be somewhat related to the company’s direction, but everyone is encouraged to work on something new and different, and in particular on something that wouldn’t otherwise make it to the top of the priority list.”

Atlassian calls it Fedex Day, except that they extended it to Fedex Week.

“The development task must be something “out of the ordinary”…. it must be deliverable in one day (hence Fedex Day – “We deliver.”). “

And there is Bubbleshare, which simply calls it .. hm.. R&D time. (Isn’t that the term reserved for the other 80%? ). I see a certain cultural influence here. Joke apart, who cares what the name is, Albert clearly “gets it”:

“You’ll get your best ideas/features from bottom-up skunkworks projects that would NEVER be “justifiable” under the company road map.”

Congratulations to all the creative teams, keep on hacking (haxing?) away.

Update (6/16): Techcrunch reports about Yahoo’s 24hr Hack Day.