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Category Archives: Product Reviews

Bit.ly -Beyond just Link shortening-Usability on for a toss!

On March 29th, Bit.Ly came up with an update and redesign of its link shortening service which in turn for many of its users de-emphasized the core features of the Product.

Bit.ly was used to be about copy and pasting a link and now you need to go a few extra step to reach out to your small short and sweet URL.

For me Bit.ly has always been the “tool you cannot live without”, even when the thing you use has a built in shortener like Hootsuite…

I am wondering the mindset behind this, and when faced with irks and complaints from majority of its users this is what its CEO has to say, ”

“It’s the response from the vocal minority who are quick to complain about any change.”…Ouch!

This hurts…and yes I am part of this vocal minority…had it been an add-on, an additional feature by keeping the core feature alive, I would have been ga-ga over this but this…a no-brainer…

You should listen to your users even the nagging ones…some of my best ideas have come from whining, nagging users..

When the entire core feature of product was to shorten the url in one click…why would you take that away…and for other features like bookmarking why wouldn’t I go to Delicious or some other site…

For now I refer http://goo.gl/ as an alternative for https://bitly.com/

P.S: As of this writing we do now have a special URL which says “Just want to shorten a link?”, and hence retains the main core feature…somehow common sense prevailed…

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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Product Reviews

 

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Google Drive Launched Today – Review

Highly anticipated…thought to be a game changer…Google Drive…is launched today!

You can try Google Drive now at drive.google.com.

GoogleDrive

The app is now available for download and I did install it, it created a folder on my computer that acts as shared synced folder for me. All of my Google Docs appeared as “icons” in the folder.

Though from ‘Usage’ perspective..yes Google Drive is +1, but from usability perspective ‘iDislike’.

I personally review any new products under three categories:

Usability, Usability, and Usability. Nothing beyond this, nothing less than this! And exactly this is where GoogleDrive fails!

1. Poor installation flow

This is not at all what I expected form Google. Just doesn’t fit the bill! And this is exactly where Dropbox scores way above. The entire procedure with GoogleDrive is just not seamless.

2. UI : Pretty novice – Not the Google We know off!

Does not look like English has been given importance in GDrive. The sentences just not make you feel at ease! Another thing was the placement of labels and check boxes…its just that it does not make sense…may be because Google doesn’t have expertise in making a desktop app!

3. Enable Offline view : Takes you to Google products page -> What to do from there?

This was massive issue : You click on Enable Offline View, and you eventually end up on Google Products page 😦

4. Win 7 got hanged…while it started Syncing docs!

After installation, during the Sync…the system just stopped responding, there was no communication from GoogleDrive as to what was happening with my system…no status on whether sync was over or not!

Now these are the points from Usability perspective. On the functionality side it is definitely a +1

You can have free accounts of 5GB space and can upgrade to 25GB for $2.49 a month. One hundred gigabytes of storage can be acquired for $4.99 a month, and 1TB will set you back $49.99 monthly. Upgrading to a paid account will also boost the available storage space on your GMail account to 25GB.

Here is the Comparison of popular Cloud storage providers- Courtesy- TechCrunch

And as a bonus: Click here

Posted by Nicholas Behrens, Software Engineer (Courtesy http://gmailblog.blogspot.in/2012/04/gmail-now-with-10-gb-of-storage-and.html)Today, we’re happy to announce that we’re increasing everyone’s free storage in Gmail from 7.5 GB to 10 GB (and counting) to celebrate today’s launch of Google Drive. The increase will take effect over the next 24 hours. We hope you all enjoy the little bump!
In all a perfect a good attempt from Google, but a lot needs to be thought through!
 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Product Reviews

 

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Amazon to open India Online Store this month!

Amazon is going to launch the online retailer store in India this month and reports claim that the online store can be opened by next week.Amazon is going to sell their own products in India and they have also joined hands with HCL and can sell HCL’s Android based tablets in India.

Amazon is surely going to launch the Amazon Kindle Fire and other versions of Kindle in India too.Amazon’s online store in India can give a tough competition to Indian originated online stores like Flipkart. This is sure to make some serious changes in te way people purchase books and read them. With Amazon coming in India, people who are an avid reader should likely to go with Amazon Kindle, which may end up in a new wave of reading habits in India!

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Book Review, Product Reviews

 

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BrandYourSelf – You decide how you appear on Google!

What results do you get when you search for your name in Google?

At which page do you appear.

Which of your social profile comes on the first page of Google?

Ever thought of controlling this. Wouldn’t it be easy, if you had one easy way to handle all these results, the way people see you, google you…we found a solution, and solution is : http://brandyourself.com/

When people Google your name, make sure they find positive, relevant results.

This seems to be a very nice concept, and though I personally have applied for private beta, let’s see how soon I get access to this. I am eager to lay my hands on this. This seems to have a massive potential, I see it grow traction for Brands, and marketing too. A bit too early, but never-then else, a great idea!

If you want to have access to private beta, please try here:

http://brandyourself.com/

We will keep you posted with further results.

 

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Sortable.com – a search engine that finds the right product based on your criteria!

Skip the Research and Let Sortable.com Find the Product That’s Right for You

Name:Sortable

Quick Pitch: Sortable is a search engine that finds the right product or service for you based on your personal criteria.

Genius Idea: Lets users skip the research and easily find what they are looking for all on one site without having to search Google.

Searching the Internet to find the exact product or service you want is too often frustrating, overwhelming and time-consuming. But a new startup company now makes it possible to find exactly what you’re looking for all on one page – Sortable.com

Sortable is a search engine that quickly sorts through the products you’re interested in and discovers the one most suitable for you. Rather than clicking through hundreds of search results on Google or other search engines, Sortable helps users find the exact products they’re looking for based on their personal criteria, all in one place.

“Sortable helps you understand the real differences among the products you’re looking for,” Chris Reid, co-founder of Sortable, told Mashable. “Users tell us what’s important to them and based on the information, we point out all the best features about the products and services that they’re most interested in.”

Users can use Sortable to search for recommendations on products from five categories – TVs, phones, tablets, cameras, laptops. Once you choose a category, select the features in the personalized bar that are most important to you and Sortable will score the products based on your personal criteria.

For example, if you are looking for a pocket-size, waterproof camera with a gps system, all you have to do is check off these features in the top bar and Sortable will instantly sort the products for you based on your preferences.

After you review the list of recommended products, select your top two choices and Sortable will compare the products’ core differences to help you figure out the best one to buy and where to buy it.

Skip the Research and Let Sortable.com Find the Product That’s Right for You

So far, Sortable has provided 41 million recommendations to up to

English: The three biggest web search engines

Image via Wikipedia

four million site visitors before it officially launched on Monday. Although users can currently only search for electronic items, Sortable plans to add additional categories such as movies, books, vacation spots, restaurants, etc., in the near future.

Image courtesy of Sortable, Sortable

 

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Facebook Emails – Necessary evil?

Facebook is doing exceptionally well, with things going well, there is always a tendency to make it better, but all that should be done at the cost of making sure that 1), there is a definite need for the change, and 2) you actually have taken all the pros and cons in to account. Talking about the idea of having Facebook email:

Is It That Big of a Deal?
With so many free mail services to choose from already–do we really need a Facebook account?  Besides, doesn’t Facebook already have a message platform?  According to a Facebook blog post,“Messages is not email. There are no subject lines, no cc, no bcc, and you can send a message by hitting the Enter key.”  But the bigger question is, are people missing the email feature?  If there is no need or want–why create?

Many are predicting this email service will be just a big bullseye for spam.  Inside Facebook reports, “The first part of a users’ email address is their vanity URL address or http://www.facebook.com/name. Because those URLs are crawlable, that means bots will easily be able to find millions of email addresses to spam.”

Other critics are saying this is Facebook’s

Facebook-Email

answer to Google Wave, which didn’t get much traction.  “So far the early reactions to this new messaging system appear to be “meh” and “what’s the point of a facebook.com email address?” Some early adopters are finding it similar to Google Wave and that is not good news for Facebook,” reports  Boston.com.

Gmail Vs. Fmail?
For now Google isn’t going to be nervous of their new email competitor.  For one the Facebook email platform is too new, and second with their privacy record, Facebook might need a few updates before it could even be considered in the same realm as Gmail.  Tell us your impression of Facebook’s jump into email in the comments below.

 

Facebook has devised an interesting and people-centric approach to fighting spam. By giving out @facebook.com email addresses to all users, the company could have opened up potentially disastrous issues with spam. The first part of a users’ email address is their vanity URL address or http://www.facebook.com/name. Because those URLs are crawlable, that means bots will easily be able to find millions of email addresses to spam. However, Facebook is confronting this by using the social graph — only people who are a user’s friends or friends of friends can e-mail them. If a person not connected to a user e-mails them, it will go to the ‘Other’ part of the inbox. If they find those messages important, they can move them from that folder into the main part of the inbox. From then on, they’ll get all emails from that person immediately.

 

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Google Doc on Android!

The Google Docs app for Android provides quick access to your documents and collections stored online with Google. Within the app you can view, create, edit, upload, and share files or take pictures with your Android device camera and directly import them.

Images uploaded from the gallery or camera can be scanned with optical character recognition to extract text and save it to a document. Users of Android Honeycomb can enjoy an optimized version of the app for larger screens.

The Interface

The interface of the Google Docs app is clean and straight forward and not too different from the web interface. A visual overview can be found under > Settings > Quick hints.

android google docs

When you click the little arrow button on the far right of a document, you can preview the respective document and view its details.

google docs for android

Clicking the button will open a little sidebar with document properties, including date last viewed, date last modified, owner, and a list of people who can edit the document. In this view you can also  add collaborators (people or groups), send or share the document, or rename the document. Via the settings button in the top right, you can open or delete the document.

If you want to send, rename, delete, or open a file with an alternative app, press it for a couple of seconds to trigger the menu shown in the screenshot below.

google docs for android

Creating Documents

The Google Doc apps supports creating new documents, spreadsheets, or documents from a photo or the gallery.

google docs on android

When you create a > Document from gallery or photo, the image you choose from the gallery or take with your device camera, can be uploaded as individual file, converted to a Google Docs document and embedded into a new document, or sent to web clipboard, so that you can paste it into a desired location.

google docs on android

When you choose the > Convert file go Google Docs document, the respective photo will be converted to text using optical character recognition (OCR). In theory, OCR is a fantastic feature, but in reality it doesn’t work very well, even with clearly printed text. However, if you experiment with the camera conditions (light, position, size of text), you might be able to get it to work for you. It also is rather unfortunate that the app can not display the source image, which is inserted on top of the recognized text, although it is very well able to display images.

google docs on android

Editing Documents

Editing documents within the app is possible, but it is fairly difficult. Edits can only be done line by line. Finding the right spot can be a bit of a challenge, typically resulting in short flickers of the document and a jumpy keyboard. Moreover, Google Docs does not allow you to zoom in, but forces you to work with the available text size. It must be said though that once the right line or paragraph has been highlighted, moving the cursor to a desired position works very well, unlike in some other apps.

Homescreen Widget

Google Docs comes with a simple homescreen widget. It unites four functions: opening Google Docs, viewing starred files, taking a photo and uploading it, and creating a new document.

In Honeycomb, you can add the widget by pressing an available spot on your homescreen for a few seconds or tapping the + icon in the top right, which opens the widgets gallery. The app is listed as Docs. You can drag and drop it to your desired homescreen.

android google docs

Verdict

The Google Docs app is great for accessing and reading your Google documents. However, I would not recommend to create and edit documents with it. Overall, I find the app very useful and hope that Google will continue to develop and improve it.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Product Reviews

 

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