Is Google trying to take over the World?

Google is ubiquitous. Its name has become a verb and, for some, a destination. Starting out as a search engine, Google has conquered much more Internet territory in the years since it launched. Need an email address, Gmail has you covered; need help scheduling yourself, others or the universe, just check out Google Calendar; don’t want to shell out money for a word processing program, just head over to Google docs and everything you could need is there including online storage if you are so inclined.

Before I go any further, I have a confession to make. I love Google. I use Google as my search engine, my email provider, my calendar and my RSS feed. I lusted after a Google Wave invitation and I was sad when it ultimately failed.  I have been a Google evangelist – spreading the word to the uninformed about the beauty have having all your mail in one place. I was one of those people who every time someone complained about their email, I told them Gmail’s fix for whatever was vexing them at the time. After years of my mother complaining about not having all of her email on each of her computers in different geographical locations, I finally got her to switch to Gmail. She loves it.

Certainly many people, some might say conspiracy theorists, have argued that Google has nefarious intentions. Until this last week, I actually just thought they were a great company offering a lot of great products for free. In hindsight, I suspect I was naïve. Now I think Google was keeping its plans to take over the world under wraps. That is until NOW!

Google has once again taken a foray into social networking. This is not something Google has succeeded at in the past. Does Google ‘Buzz’ ring a bell anyone? Almost every one I know turned off Buzz as soon as Google gave us the option. I am surprised that Buzz survived after they breached so many people’s privacy.

Now Google has made a huge foray into the social networking field again. Except this time they don’t just have Facebook in their sites but Twitter too.[1] Launching Google+ with the ability to both keep posts private or within certain ‘circles’ and the ability to broadcast publicly. But it does not end there.

Yesterday a post went out from the Gmail blog[2] about convincing people you know to switch to Gmail. The poster relays a story about how just one friend was not on Gmail and how he wore him down over time to get him to switch. I going to resist the urge to talk about how the inherent creepiness in this kind of behaviour because it gets worse! Yes, not only are we all supposed to track down all of our friends who do not worship at the altar of Google, we are supposed to stage interventions for our recalcitrant friends.

It is starting to look like Google wants inroads into every aspect of our lives. I am not really concerned about the data they have as it is simply too much to be of any use to them.  What does concern me is the cutthroat behaviour Google is using to convince more people to drink at the Fountain of Google.

I am not really sure what all this means. I think if Google continues its proselytizing[3] they will alienate people – even people who love Google may begin to question their use of Google’s services. I really don’t want to think that Google is plotting how it is going to take over the world but their behaviour is certainly indicating that indeed that is their plan.

[1] Thanks to Veronique for the observation about Twitter in a Google+ post.

[2] Which of course I follow on Google Reader

[3] They are behaving as though they are a religion and they need more soldiers to spread the word.


I use both Twitter and Facebook and now I am thinking about adding Google+. The problem is that I don’t think I can keep up with 3 social networks. The case for using Google+ over Facebook is definitely there but very few of my friends are earl adopters which means I am hanging out in Google+ with only a few people.

Today’s Lifehacker article discussed how you could easily migrate your FB friends over to Google+ by exploiting Yahoo mail. I already had a really old Yahoo mail account so I did what they suggested and it worked very well. But I am still left with the problem that most of the people I interact with on social networking sites are all on FB and many of them are not really the early adopter type.

I like some of the features of Google+. Being able to create your own circles is a great idea and easy to do. Adding people to circles is simple as well and is a really great way to manage your privacy better. You select which circles you want to share a post with before you hit the button.

I love Google products. I even love Google products that no one else liked – think Google Wave. I love Gmail and Google reader. Google is my search engine of choice. Google+ is well integrated into Gmail, which makes using it very easy. I hope that over time more people will gravitate over to Google+ but for now I guess I will just have to keep up with as much as I can!

Gmail just got better

I have been a Gmail fan for a long time now. I love that I can use it on all of my computers and iDevices and it is synced regardless of where I use it. I also love the spam filter. I have way less spam now than I had when I used Outlook. The other great thing about Gmail is that it does not crash like Outlook did. I do not like to delete email. With Outlook I did not have a choice and would have to do so about once a year. You never know when you are going to need some obscure, old email. If I have received it, I still have it.

Now Gmail has gotten better. Google hasn’t done anything. There have been a couple of blogs written lately that highlight features you can use in Gmail to keep better track of tasks and projects. The first one is by tech and social media guy Tod Maffin. I love this system! By separating out the emails you are awaiting responses makes such great sense. By using Multiple Inboxes and labels you can easily separate out the emails you have sent that require a reply. I can’t recall how many times I send out emails at work, waiting for someone to get back to me. When they don’t and I finally remember, I have to go back and look for it. I find this very annoying and it does not pre-dispose me to being too nice to the non-replier. With Tod Maffin’s system it is easy to see who has not gotten back to you and it is easy to keep track of what you are waiting for. The only downside to Tod’s system is that you have to remember to go back into your sent mail and label it with the waiting label.

An article on Lifehacker by Chris Zimmerman mentions Tod’s system but takes it several  steps further using Superstars and Multiple Inboxes. Now, I will say right off the top that this system is way too complicated for me. I am combining it with the other system and only using about 5 of the superstars. What I like about this system is that it allows you to keep track of things that I have delegated, things that are urgent and require immediate attention and to those projects that are more long-term.

These 2 systems have really helped me to take control of all of the things I need to get done. I had been feeling like I was not as productive as I wanted to be. I am sure that using these tools within Gmail will definitely help!

2009 in Review

Here is my 2009 review post. I took this meme from Facebook. Seeing as all my blogs end up being posted in facebook, I thought I would do it here.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Had 2 blood transfusions. I also excited a lot of resident doctors because of the complexity of my medical issues.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t make resolutions. I think they are mostly useless. I make small changes all year-long instead.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, not close to me.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, we lost Mackenzie and Tucker in 2009.

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

I want some health. I want some stamina. I want some hemoglobin. I would like to not live my life in chronic pain. Pain that even good drugs does not work on.

7. What date(s) from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Mackenzie passing away.

8. What was your greatest achievement for the year?

Work has been good this year.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Recognizing that I was seriously ill, again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes. I ended up hospitalized with pancytopenia. My immune system crashed from imuran, a drug I was taking for my colitis.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My new iMacs!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Deb has worked really hard this year and grown a great deal. I am very proud of her.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Rather not say.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Who knows. Gadgets?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I was really excited about my Apple TV – which was a complete surprise. I got excited about a little trip we took to Harrison Hot Springs to get out of the heat! I needed air conditioning!

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

I think it would have to be the Glee songs. I love those songs. I would also have to add the New Pornographers and Jets Overhead.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
I. happier or sadder? about the same
II. thinner or fatter? thinner
III. richer or poorer? about the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Listen to music and play computer games and relax.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Sleep – I hate being chronically ill and having to sleep 10-12 hours a night. It means I have very little time for me.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

At home with my sweetie.

21. How will you be spending New Year?

At home with my sweetie.

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?

Yes – with another dog, Zoe and even deeper in love with Deb.

23. How many one-night stands?

When I first read that I thought it asked how many night stands. That should be answer enough.

24. What was your favourite TV program?

But I have so many!!! Survivor, Greys, The Good Wife, Dexter

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I try not to waste my time hating any one.

26. What was the best book you read?

Such a Pretty Fat, 28 stories of AIDS in Africa.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The new Pornographers

28. What did you want and get?


30. What was your favourite film of this year?

I don’t know. I have not watched a lot of movies lately because they seem to be mostly crap. Although My Sister’s Keeper was pretty good.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

44 and I can’t remember. Oh, wait, I think we went to the White Spot.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Being healthy.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Dressed by Deb

34. What kept you sane?

benzos? Trazodone is a wonder drug.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I like Julianna Margules

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

So many. I have no idea where to start.

37. Who did you miss?


38. Who was the best new person that you met?


39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:

If you can’t stand up you may want to consider going to the hospital.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

Whatta ya want from me? Adam Lambert

41. This is my add-on question: What are you looking forward to the most in 2010:

I am excited that Deb is going to be blogging again at Fat People are Hard to Kidnap. If you have never read Deb’s blog I highly suggest you read some of the previous posts. She has a very unique way of saying things and she is far more talented at this blogging thing than I am. I have a new GPS, iPhone compatible stereo going into my car on Sunday – no more getting lost. I have new GI doc and I hoping to get me some colitis remission. I am looking forward to another challenging (in a good way) year at work – I hope to learn lots and mentor more. I am excited about another year with our great jobs – there is nothing like snuggling with the poopers at night and first thing in the morning. I am also looking forward to converting as many people as possible to Google products. I am very good at this and I should get a reward from Google. I love Google Wave, Gmail, Google reader….I think I have Stockholm Syndrome. Finally, I am looking forward to doing some work and gaining some insight.