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The Tuesday Grab Bag: RedMonk HQ, Google Voice and More

RedMonk HQ

Remember when I told you that in spite of some pending lease work, “barring any unforeseen issues, RedMonk is once more a Maine based organization?” Well, we had some unforeseen issues; in this case, a hideous and truly unsignable lease. So, we exited, and there was no more Old Port for RedMonk. That’s the bad news. The good news is that a couple of weeks later, I’ve resettled in what is going to be an even better home for the firm eight or nine blocks from the former office. As you might be able to tell from the picture, the building is a former temple, converted some years back into office space. Just across the street from the Old Port neighborhood I occupied briefly, we’re just as conveniently situated as we were before. More, if you’re visiting and need to park.

So there’s your miscellaneous RedMonk update for the day. And now, your grab bag of items that may deserve their own entries but aren’t getting them.

FriendFeed

I’ve had a FriendFeed account for a long time now, but to be honest, I haven’t really done much with it besides the initial configuration. When I need the kind of aggregation FriendFeed provides, I tend to hit Blizzard’s whoisi instead. It’s not that I don’t see the appeal, it’s just that FriendFeed hasn’t yet clicked for me. That said, I do find it interesting that subscriptions to my FriendFeed – which can be found here – have upticked dramatically in the past few weeks. I’ve gone from the odd few requests every other week to a constant stream of connections per day.

Is anyone else seeing something similar?

Gmail Interface

Much has been made in some quarters of the new, revamped mobile interface for Gmail offered to Android and iPhone users, and not without cause. Leveraging HTML5 and Gears, it includes some basic offline support, the ability to deal with flaky mobile connections and a cleaner interface.

Unfortunately, like all new software releases, it has some issues. In my usage, they’ve ranged from inconvenient to legitimately troubling bugs. As an example of the former, my personal Gmail account will often insist that it cannot connect to the network while my work account – also Gmail – has no issues whatsoever. As for the latter, a few days after the release I attempted to reply to an email thread with a few of my friends about where we were going for lunch the next day. Henceforth, every time that I reconnected to Gmail, it would resend that same message; my friends got seven or eight emails saying “Sapporo +1″ before I went in, deleted the databases (Settings: Safari: Databases: delete GmailMobileWeb) and fixed the problem.

The point is not to lambaste Google for bugs: they happen. Instead, I think it’s worth pointing out that with volumes of new interfaces being pushed out to devices with radically different form factors, we’re likely to see a lot of such weirdness in the months ahead.

Google Voice

While I remain a bit perplexed that it took Google as much time as it did – a year and a half or so – to spin Grand Central into Google Voice, it’s true that the my experience with the telephony moving pieces is less than some other areas we could talk about. Meaning that I’ll cut them some slack on the timing, if only because they’ve delivered on the features front. The SMS notification is great, as it allows me to use my Grand Central number as a real replacement for the mobile, which in turn allows me to limit the number of people that have my cell. This is good. The call transcripts, while occasionally a bit jagged, are enormously beneficial as they pick off calls from agencies and spammers alike: it’s much quicker to read a transcript than it is to listen to a voicemail. At least for me.

The sole missing feature for me that would make the service transformative would be the ability to point our toll-free number at it. I’m currently trying to do that with a For Pay third party service, but with little luck thus far. PhoneFusion insists on picking off calls before they get to Google Voice, while Toktumi won’t let me complete the sign up process (though their support has been helpful thus far).

If they added that ability, Google would effectively be our telephony provider going forward, with Skype playing an important supporting role.

Categories: Mobile, RedMonk Miscellaneous.

  • http://sitening.com Jon Henshaw

    Regarding Google Voice and forwarding numbers to it, you can port and forward numbers to Google Voice with NumberGarage.

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  • http://daveshields.wordpress.com dave shields

    What a great building!

    Do you by chance know the name of its last congregation? Son Rabbi Mike Shields of the Lake Norman Jewish Congration could look it up and learn something about its history.

    thanks,dave