‘Third World Problem’ Series – Need for Offline Gmail mobile app

How many times have you been stuck in a situation where in you try to open Gmail mobile app in an area with poor or no internet connectivity in order to fetch some mails which has access to tickets or bills in vain?

gmail

Some instances where I got stuck because of this problem is when  trying to retrieve tickets for movies or train,bus tickets for my travel.It is for this very reason that Gmail (or for that matter any email service provider)should have offline capability so that it can help us in conditions when there is a poor network connectivity but need to access mails.

This is my how I expect the offline functionality to work:

1. Users should be able to set rules to make mails received from certain e-mail address offline by default.

2.User should also be able to make an individual mail also be available for offline .Marking it for offline should move it a different folder where all offline mails are stored.

3.When a mail is made available offline , its corresponding attachment also has to be made available offline. But user must be prompted in case when the mail attachment size is really huge so that user can decide.

4.User should have settings do decide how often these offline content needs to be archived , frequency etc and whether offline caching has to be enabled when connected to wi-fi only etc

5.User should be able to choose offline mode for Gmail if the app takes a lot of time to load the latest emails from server.This will help in accessing the required email easily  .

Google, are you listening ?

Apple iPhone Announcement and how world reacted to it

By this time ,a billion posts would have been made about new iPhone announcement and analyzing every bit of even remotely minute information.

So this is just to relax.

2012:

WWDC: iOS6 showcased

  • OS looks so stale , nothing refreshing! It always show a bright 73  C .
  • No widgets,no live tiles ,no improvement to notifications ?
  • Android miles ahead. Has Apple lost mojo ? Why they have not tried anything new in last few years.
  • Apple has grown too large that it is afraid to fail and is following the ‘why fix when nothing is broken’ strategy.
  • Skeuomorphism  is so over rated, Windows flat design is the future.
  • No big innovation

2013:

WWDC: iOS7 showcased

  • Oh my god ,colors are too bright and playful for my taste. iOS7 is gay cousin of iOS6?
  • They have stretched flat design too much.
  • Those icons look really bad , they should go back to old icons.
  • All those people who are used to earlier OS will find it very difficult to learn this hideous flat design.
  • iOS playing catch up
  • No big innovation

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Re-Imagining Phone Contacts for Smartphones

Imagine you are stranded on the road due to a problem with your car. You pick up your smartphone , find the customer care number of your car maker and dial it.How will you feel when the response is  ‘number does not exist ‘ or ‘number not in use’.

Source:Phonebooth

Yes , the customer care  number is changed but as a customer you do not have an update. Then you have to google search for latest customer care number and then try to establish a contact provided there is a data connectivity available for search. It’s perfectly fine when your friend has changed the number but not updated you about it. But with business , it is not the same . Remember Customer is Boss.

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Two things ‘Google Now’ can do for India?

If you are using Google Now in India , you would have discovered by now that the use cases for Google Now is minimal.Though public transit information – bus and train timings are pretty decent and works well, the live traffic data as claimed by Google is not pretty accurate. It is calculated based on historical data available.

Weather information in India is good but it is not that much of a priority as people don’t check the weather every day to see if it would snow or rain – it’s always hot in this tropical country. Checking to see if it would be 35 C or 38 C does not make much sense.

Also have you received any movie or train or air tickets as a pop up in Google Now at all ? These features work only in US and few other countries I guess. To make Google Now more relevant for local population since India is a huge market for Android, Google should delegate the work of figuring out what is relevant to respective countries’  Google office since natives of the land would be well informed.

What can Google India do for Google Now ?

1.Manual Traffic Updates:

Google Maps calculate live traffic based on the GPS signals available in smartphones  from users and few other signals as well , aggregate and then compute the traffic and it is based on historical data collected over a period of time.It is  not helping live traffic. With the acquisition of Waze, Google should now should follow a similar idea of crowdsourcing traffic information and  allow users to manually update on traffic status in case of traffic jam. It should be like :  Just open Google Now, report traffic and with GPS on , it is easy.It will be bit tricky to filter inaccuracies but again its better than historical data.

2. IRCTC/Book my show or Red Bus e-tickets as alerts .

IRCTC ,Book My Show and Red Bus are some of widely used services by people in India. e-Tickets is well received and is adopted by mainstream consumers and service alike. This is why Gmail should be able to  parse  these mails and Google Now should use them effectively for remainders /tickets instead of we searching through our heap of sms or emails during the time of travel when it is most needed .

Even more awesome would be if Google is able to build a xml format  so that third-party services that sends e-tickets in emails can stick to that format and Google Now can use them effectively ,an idea similar to Passbook for iOS would be a good place to start with.

Google , are you listening?

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Why should you subscribe to Saavn Pro,the music streaming service? Because its affordable.

Music piracy is rampant and music labels too have not priced it in a way that is economical for users to pay and listen to music. I have written about it before.

But now Saavn , the popular music streaming application has the most perfect option to legally listen and enjoy music. Saavn Pro is a new subscription based streaming service that not only lets you stream but also download songs upto a certain limit for offline storage.

Saavn Pro Lite is 110 Rs per month and one can download songs upto 1GB which means around 200 songs. This is such an attractive option. There is Saavn Pro option available as well that cost 220 Rs per month with download of 5 GB for upto 5 devices.

Saavn has both Android and iOS app and right now we get a 30 day free trial. The mobile app  is neat, has a clean and intuitive interface. So why are you waiting , give it a try ! Support good music by paying for them.

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Enhancing maps,gps based navigation in India using pincode

Has Pin code lost it’s purpose in 2013 in this digital world at least in urban India?  Pin code were primarily used in India for delivering letters/courier and is still very popular in the rural areas though advancement in telecommunications with onset of mobile has reduced its popularity to great extent thus in 2013 , it has little or no relevance.

Most of us would have faced this situation of explaining our residence address to family or friends or cab drivers. It is last mile route  that is difficult to find and it takes around 2-3 calls to find the exact location.

In India , we always rely on the passer-by help for  finding the address especially in smaller streets for which maps are not that good. During  rain or late nights , we hardly find people on the road and finding address becomes difficult.In many instances one need to come out  of the house, stand on the road  and guide the people who are on the phone in other end.

Even with the advent of GPS and Google maps along with explosion of smartphones at various price ranges , locating and navigating to specific address is not quite easy.Google Maps solves the problem to some extent.One option is to search and  save the address by browsing through maps  and then navigate easily.

With Google Maps , it’s easier to search common point of interest likes restaurant and other common land marks  but not individual house or small establishment etc.

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Why closing of Flyte by Flipkart is many steps backward for music industry

It’s only last year that Flyte, music library akin to iTunes was launched in India. Few , very few people was actually interested in news about buying music legally. Rest all continued with piracy route.

And it’s no wonder within a year , the service is closed since there is no traction from buyers to this new concept of paying for music. Digging deep into this , it is alleged that there is a minimum guarantee money that needs to be paid to music label irrespective of whether music is sold or not. And this amount seems to be higher than the income made by service and hence it was not profitable for Flyte to continue the service.

And some are not believing that to be the case and how better advertising could have helped the service gain more traction.

Music Industry is non-existent without movies

First , let us try to understand the music industry in India.Music industry is nothing more than  complimentary to movies made in India. Music industry as stand alone doesn’t even exist in India. Unlike Western countries where music industry is independent from Hollywood , in India is totally dependent.

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Re-thinking fine dining experience

There are few innovations that are currently being rolled out in fine dining space such as booking seats in advance and managing good set of content on the restaurant website. But what about the experience once the customer reaches the restaurant ? What kind of experience that can really wow the customer ?

Automated Food ordering through tablet

1.Interactive UI for exploring the menu using tablets

Visualizing the dish

Whenever i visit a new restaurant and browse through the menu , i find dishes whose names are very difficult to comprehend and come to a conclusion as to what this dish is all about.  It is always a good idea to provide actual pictures on how the dish would look like giving an idea whether it is served dry or curry etc.

Is that quantity enough for 2 or 4 ?

While ordering food , am not also not sure about the quantity that will be served as it differs from place to place and also depending on cost. This will make me conscious not to order too much. So what could be done is that a picture when taken with the actual quantity in a proper bowl will add value so that we can order food based on the quantity . It will also give a chance to people to order more than one dish since they are sure about the quantity. In some instances , i have ordered food and found the quantity to be less but would not order anything else due to time constraints. This could help in this aspect.

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FM Radio – India’s Spotify for music streaming

I was surprised by the news that Samsung Galaxy S4 does not have a FM radio. And it’s interesting to read the reason provided

Our studies show a trend shift of interest to digital broadcasting, specifically – focus on listening to music content in social networks or on the channel YouTube. The flagship model of our products are focused on customers who use digital content, which use modern formats and channels of information consumption

Galaxy S4

Source:AppleInsider

While i felt it is an important omission as FM radio is a standard feature in almost every device now , my friend replied that when some body buys a phone for Rs.45000 , wont they buy digital music? FM radio’s are so old he added . Spotify is the new in thing that lets you stream music and that it will come to India shortly.People who buy high-end smart phone will be willing to pay for such services was the focal point of discussion.

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Key take aways for Android OS and apps from Facebook Home ?

So the Facebook Home is revealed and so are the reviews . Every review is positive about how Facebook cleverly managed to sneak itself into an unique layer of smart-phone and OS battle front. It is neither a phone nor a OS but just a wrapper that makes it all the more unique.

Bringing people to center of smartphone was an idea flouted by M$ when launching Windows Phone 8. It even had a lock screen implementation for Facebook which looked a bit similar . But blame it on  less traction and without a clear strategy that idea did not take off quite well.

Facebook home

Source:extremetech

What was running through my mind when Facebook was making this announcement was that why no app in Android did take advantage of occupying the lock screen for so long. My personal understanding on  how Android was built made me  thing that lock screen is not accessible  for stand alone third party apps and that is why no is able to come up with cool features that takes advantage of the big screen real estate. But Facebook has proved now that it can be done and that it can make the experience good as well.

Apple Passbook to an extent used the lock screen in a good way to display the Passbook related notifications  based on geo-location though there is no clear idea on how the lock screen is going to be taken forward in iOS. But with Apple being closed , it can take more time for Apple to collaborate with Facebook to bring such a deeply integrated feature in iOS.

Though Facebook Home undermines Android OS to an extent from visual design point/app launcher and notification , there are few take away for Android which when implemented can make the experience more awesome.

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