Gmail RSS Web Clips… user feature or another way to get clicks on ads?

December 17, 2005

A few weeks ago, I started seeing the Web Clips feature in my GMail. I thought, hey that’s interesting, they are doing some RSS aggregation in my GMail. But then I noticed something a little bit interesting: they rotate ads in the middle of the Web Clips. Smart business move I’m sure, but what happened to not confusing users?

gmailads

After thinking about Web Clips a little bit more, a lot of other questions start coming to mind (I think I’m echoing some other bloggers on these…). Why can’t I subscribe to custom feeds? Why doesn’t GMail just provide a full RSS aggregator?

At the very least, you have to wonder what the motivation behind this feature was; was it really for the users? Or was it a way to increase the bottom line contributions of GMail? And in the latter case, couldn’t they have at least put some additional thought into making it a useful feature for users?

gmailcontactgroupsAlso, Dru tipped me off that they are supporting contact groups now. Which again begs the question: why isn’t it just an integration with Google Groups?

I hope they’ve got something huge up their sleeves (read: GCal with integration to GMail). Otherwise they might be in for a ride when the new Y! Mail and Hotmail AJAX clients come out. Thanks for being the catalyst for change in the web mail space, but please keep innovating GMail!

P.S. If anyone can invite me to the Y! Mail Beta or the Windows Live! Mail beta, I’d love to write up a review 😉

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2 Responses to “Gmail RSS Web Clips… user feature or another way to get clicks on ads?”

  1. Ron Says:

    As far as I can see, you *can* add custom feeds, if you can find them with google feed finder. I added the official Postgresql.org feed to mine. Though I would agree that its not really very usefull right now.

  2. Russ Dsa Says:

    Mark,
    I actually randomly got into the Y! mail beta…I signed into one of my old accounts and all of a sudden it invites me into the beta. So far, I see no ability to invite others, otherwise I would have shot you over one!

    PS – my short review (i’ve only been on it for 5 min) is that it seems a little sluggish and a huge (to me!) part of the screen is taken up by a rather large vertical banner ad! =\

    Russ


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