After allowing this thing to linger on my desktop for a day, I have to say I’m not very impressed. Some points:
- Generally speaking, the Sidebar is just obnoxious. It takes up a chunk of my desktop and fills it with a bunch of fluff. It’s like the guy who unexpectedly visits you. You’ll be polite and all, but you’re wondering when he’s going to leave.
- The interface is far too cramped. The headlines in News and Web Clips are all mushed together and hard to distinguish.
- The Web Clips – an interesting feature that monitors your browser usage and grabs underlying feeds from sites you visit – is entirely useless. It’s a single, streaming list of feeds that amounts to a lot of useless noise.
- The sidebar doesn’t work with my email (because I’ve got two accounts in Outlook, not just one).
- The Quickview, I’m guessing, is the last ten things i accessed, whether it be documents, applications or web sites. The problem here is it picks up all sorts of nonsense as well, like redirect URL’s and the like.
Overall, this is pretty disappointing. Google is obviously getting nervous about being stuck inside the browser. With Vista, Microsoft’s guns are aiming right for it.
The real challenge for Google (and Yahoo for that matter) is maintaining brand relevance in a world that is starting to see Internet applications proliferate beyond the web browser. While Google may have the best search engine, the others will eventually get to “good enough.” Couple that with the discrete ability to search without going to an actual web site (i.e. visit Google.com first then search), and you’ve got a pretty dangerous scenario for Google. I think we’re going to see a lot more scrambling like this before its over.