It’s been a strange week at Google. Maybe the company is just trying to cheer themselves up after a brutal month on Wall Street that has seen their stock lose more than 20% of its value and been cut by a handful of analysts, but Google has released a pair of features on two of their flagship products this week that make me wonder if their calendar might just be accidentally turned to April.
Google is known for funny April Fools day jokes every spring, but eagle eyed readers will notice that it is indeed October and not April. So what did Google release this week that has me scratching my head?
Google’s SaaS email program, GMail, released a new feature called “Mail Goggles,” with the aim of stemming the tide of late night, drunk emailing. “When you enable Mail Goggles, it will check that you’re really sure you want to send that late night Friday email,” wrote GMail engineer Jon Parlow.
Mail Goggles works by asking you to solve a handful of fairly simple math problems before sending off your email (i.e., 68-39) in a short period of time. “By default, Mail Goggles is only active late night on the weekend as that is the time you’re most likely to need it,” says Parlow. Because the weekend is when you’re likely to have been out partying.
We know that some of GMail’s biggest corporate clients are universities, but is drunk email protection really the best way to attract the enterprise market that Google wants so badly to wrestle away from Microsoft?
XKCD-inspired YouTube Audio Comment Previews
Web cartoonist Randall Munroe, who pens the often hilarious web comic XKCD, may not know his own power. Apparently, he has some fans at Google — or at least, they respect his opinion enough that XKCD strips are now influencing the development of Google properties. A couple of weeks ago, Munroe put up a comic that suggested that if YouTube had audio previews of comments, the level of discourse would go up on the site.
Someone at Google was listening, because this week they actually added audio preview to YouTube. It’s not quite the dramatic reading Munroe was hoping for, but it’s a step in the right direction. Right? Certainly, now comments on on YouTube will rise to the level of the Economist debate series.
Okay, probably not.