Technology can make life easier, but frequently it also makes things more complicated. It is easier to buy things online than going to a store, but one faces a dizzying array of choices. People want quality items at the lowest possible price, but it is hard to figure everything out. Shopping searches return too many results, and Amazon always has thousands of items for every category.
One way to get a smaller subset of lower prices is to check out a deals site like Dealnews or Slickdeal. (Especially around this time of the year.) However, it’s hard to know whether the item is good-quality or whether the “deal” is actually such a great price. Dealnews tries to provide some information about the normal pricing of the item, but it still doesn’t answer whether the price is a good one. It may be that those earphones are normally $20 and are now $10, but it’s not really relevant if I can get better earphones for $5.
It would be pretty useful if a website was able to provide data not just on the price of the item, but on similar items also. If the site could measure in some way the features and quality of an item, it could help users recognize what’s a good deal. For example, if the site was able to say that these type of earphones are hard to get for under $15, one would know $10 is a good deal. The hard part for the site would obviously be getting and analyzing the data in a way that allows these comparisons. A site could use various sources, such as Amazon reviews, but it would need to see what’s really reliable and gives clear information about a product. If a website could do a good job in this area, it could really help people deal with all complexity of online shopping.
Google is actually a big reader of the Zappable blog, as evidenced by all the Googlebot visits to my site.~ This helps Google figure out what features to develop for their products. In the past, Gmail only took one week to implement my suggestions, but this time they took a bit longer. Seven months ago, I posted some Suggestions for Improving Google Products, and Google finally got around to implementing an important one. In June they announced offline Google Docs editing, and they now announced an update to Gmail: A new compose box. Google’s explanation of the new feature even sounds similar to Zappable’s suggestion:
There are many different tasks people switch between while using email, i.e reading, writing and searching. For example I might be writing an email to someone, and realize I need to do an email search to check a previous email I sent. Gmail should allow people to do these different tasks within one Gmail tab so they do not need to perform these 3 steps each time: create a new tab, go to Gmail.com, and then go to the task they want. [Zappable]
How many times have you been writing an email and had to reference something in another message? Saving a draft, opening the old email, and then reopening your draft wastes valuable minutes. The new compose pops up in a window, just like chats (only larger). This makes it easy to reference any other emails without ever having to close your draft. You can even do a search or keep an eye on new mail as it comes in. [Gmail Blog]
Problem: In the last few years, many congressmen have gotten in various affairs and scandals and been forced to resign. It seems its too difficult for these powerful people to avoid getting into trouble. Yet people still want to vote for the platform the representatives ran on.
: Instead of having human representatives, people should be able to vote for algorithmic representatives. Computers can’t sin, so there won’t be any scandals. The computers will have set principles that they will vote by, and will be able to follow their campaign pledge better than any human. Humans are also too slow, and can never pass a law in time for it to work (e.g the Stimulus). An algorithm will just kick in some predetermined measures at a certain time, which will be much more effective
Microsoft Hotmail and Outlook allow the user to view both his inbox and specific emails at the same time. This is very useful if you don't want to view every email in your inbox, but just click on the important ones. On Gmail, you either have to click through every email or go back to the inbox each time, which takes too long.
Which brings up second issue – Speed. Gmail often takes too long to do things. Maybe its because of all the labs and stuff I have enabled, but Google is supposed to be faster than this.
There are other basic abilities Gmail should add, such as better multi-send features, better formatting options and more. There are also random features that could be useful, such as "Deal-with-this-email-later" option, but that could be for another post.