Sparrow Gets Google’d

The Sparrow blog:

We’re excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!

We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience.

Why does that last sentence sound like they failed at it or are giving up?

We’d like to extend a special thanks to all of our users who have supported us, advised us, given us priceless feedback and allowed us to build a better mail application. While we’ll be working on new things at Google, we will continue to make Sparrow available and provide support for our users.

We had an amazing ride and can’t thank you enough.

Translation: We won’t be adding any features to the app, so you can forget about bottom-posting or any other feature requests. Might not even be pushing bug fixes.

EJECT!! EJECT!!

If you are looking for a new mail client, I can recommend and use Postbox. Made by part of the original Thunderbird team, has support for Gravatars, does bottom-posting with selective quotes, does cool things with Gmail, has a great Inbox Zero flow.

I can only hope they do an iOS email client as well someday.

Gmail’s Permanent Failure: Only Humans Can Build Software For Humans

It’s telling that even within the Gmail team, there is a basic, fundamental, deep-seeded inability to put things together in a contextually graceful way that makes sense to actual (non-Googler) users—in other words, to deliver a great user experience.

[…]

Understanding how users want to navigate around the application, which tasks to show as buttons versus which to hide in menus, which features should be left out completely, and so on . . . those seemingly minor decisions are often the difference between good software and great software, and the reason great product managers and interaction designers are always in demand.

This is very true. I didn’t understand how true until I began working with these things a few years ago. It’s fascinating to watch how hard my colleagues work every day to provide and continually improve excellent user experiences.

You should read the whole thing. (via TechCrunch.)

Use Google Reader? Make Subscribing Easier.

Recently, I switched back to using Google Reader from a short experiment with Feverº. As part of the switch back, I decided I would wipe my list of subs and start over to make sure I was prioritizing and categorizing appropriately.

In doing so, I stumbled across this post on the Google Reader blog from back in 2005. It contains a small bookmarklet labeled “Show all feeds” that I now use all the time as it simplifies the process of subscribing to feeds from just about any site, as long as they are announcing their feeds.

Just drag the bookmarklet up to your bookmarks bar on whatever browser you prefer to use. When you visit a site you’d like to add to your subscriptions list, click it. You’ll see something like this:

Then, click on the link that corresponds to the feed you’d like to add. It will open in Google Reader, where you can click the little Subscribe button.

Google Books: I’m excited to announce …

Google Books:

I’m excited to announce that starting today, Google Books will offer free downloads of these and more than one million more public domain books in an additional format, EPUB. By adding support for EPUB downloads, we’re hoping to make these books more accessible by helping people around the world to find and read them in more places.

Go download some books. EPUB is a great format.

Twitter, Like Google, Is All About the Search

Well, actually, Google is all about the advertising, but that’s another article.

From the Twitter blog:

We went back to the original sketch and made everything far more awesome. Currently, a small subset of Twitter users are trying this new search feature in the sidebar of their Twitter home page. When you do a search, you don’t go to another page, the relevant tweets instantly show up where you’d expect them to—right on your home page where tweets love to be.

Take a look at the whole article. It’s awesome to see the design process boiled down to a simple sketch on a legal pad. Sometimes, the best ideas have very simple beginnings.