The obligation of RSS
Friday, Apr 16, 2004
I now have 90 sites in my daily (nee multi-hourly) RSS readthrough. At the moment they're all in a flat heirarchy except for a folder of sites pertaining to Gmail (Battelle, outer-court, etc.) and I've been meaning to sort them into folders by topic, 'friends', 'blogosphere', 'news' etc., but I just realized the important categorization I should make is 'sites where I'm expected to have read every post' and everything else.

For example, I have about 14 friends who, when they post on their blogs, have the same expectation that their friends will have read the post as if they had sent the post in email to the friends. While skimming through the roughly 400 posts a day, it would be nice if I had this 'must' list so I could stay in low gear in one folder, then return to 'skim' gear for the rest.

Then again, maybe I should set up Bloglines to email new items in the 'must' blogs to me, where I can filter them to a 'friendblogs' label and address them as if they really were emails sent to me.

This would also let me search past posts, restricted either by label, by specific friend, or both, so I can 'catch up' quickly when I missed something important...

Gmail's not turning a blind eye.
Monday, Apr 12, 2004
Last weekend, Mark Pilgrim raised some strongly-worded points about accessibility in Gmail's preview release.

Accessibility, for the visually impaired, for those who love Firefox's keystrokes, and for those who use Lynx as their browser of choice, is very important to the Gmail team. At this point in the preview Beta, the team focused on the interface that allowed for the best performance for the broadest swath of users, but development doesn't stop at Beta and Google's tradition of crafting services with excellent accessibility doesn't stop at Gmail's gate.

I personally respect Mark's dedication to accessability and strive to match it, cluestick firmly in hand.

As for Mark's data export reservations, I point to #6 on the Gmail FAQ, because holding on too tight just isn't Googly, and the best way to keep users is never to trap them.

Buffy + Lord of the Rings = OMWH
Monday, Apr 12, 2004
For your filkification: Once More, With Hobbits.
The White Van Speaker Scam
Sunday, Apr 11, 2004
Have you fallen victim to the White Van Speaker Scam? I did, when I was 16 years old. It looks like I'm not alone.

Then again, the speakers turned out to be good quality, and were less expensive than comparable speakers at Circuit City, so is it really a scam, or just a pressured sale?

Personal Data and You
Thursday, Apr 08, 2004
Today I took a look at the information you're required to supply before Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail will give you an email account:

Yahoo Hotmail Gmail
* First Name
* Last Name
* Zip code
* Gender
* Industry
* Job Title
* Specialization
* Birth Date
[] Send me special offers from selected Yahoo! partners (checked by default)
* First Name
* Last Name
* Language
* Country
* State
* Zip Code
* Time Zone
* Gender
* Birth Date
* Occupation
[] which of 40 newsletters you want to receive in your inbox
[] which of 55 topics interst you, so that 'featured offers' from Hotmail partners can be delivered into your inbox
* First Name
* Last Name

That's a whole lot of data the other guys want, and they use it to target information. Yahoo admits in their privacy policy that they provide it to third party partners for marketing purposes.

Google, on the other hand, explicitly states: "We will never rent, sell or share information that personally identifies you for marketing purposes without your express permission."

For the curious, I'll likely have some more Gmail information to post tomorrow, so you might want to check back, or grab my RSS feed to keep up to date.

Obligatory Gmail Screenshots
Friday, Apr 02, 2004
For the hungry world, here are a few Gmail screenshots, featuring conversation threading and collapsable cards.



These are screenshots of an actual conversation between Jason and me, and shows an example of Related Pages. Related Pages aren't ads, they're just similar pages from within Google's web crawl. Nobody pays for them to be there.

Ads don't appear on every page. I'd guess they come up about once every 3 or 4 messages right now. Sometimes you get ads, sometimes related pages, sometimes both, sometimes none.

Often they're eerily relevant. A Related Pages link to BoingBoing came up twice in my mail today.

Anyhow, I'm sure more screenshots will appear on the web soon.

Gmail is real
Friday, Apr 02, 2004
No, really.

Real real real. Not "I have a friend who reads this guy's blog who claims to know for a fact" real. Not even "I read this guy's blog and he says it's not an April Fool's joke" real. Well, maybe for you, gentle reader, it's exactly that real, but for me it's "I came to work for Google and got handed a dream assignment to design the UI for a product that's going to change the world" real, and now I'm thrilled that my best kept secret was kept so well that even my close friends took the "it's gotta be a joke" path yesterday.

Nearly two months ago my Mom sent me an email, saying she read a piece in the newspaper speculating that Google was working on an email product.

"Really, Mom? That's interesting. It's funny how they press makes all kinds of speculations. First we're going IPO, then we're not, then we are, then we're waiting. We never said anything but the press likes to make stuff up."

Then I sent her email around to the team. Today several of them asked me if I'd come clean to my own Mom yet. I did. This morning. :-)

Where was I? Oh yeah. Free email, a gig of it. If you've been reading the paper or the blogs today, you've read about it, spun either as an April fools joke (though if it were only that it would be a pretty short-sighted jest: "Here's this great product! Ha-ha, fooled you!"), or a piece of ill-timed PR. In truth, as guessed by a few of the more circumspect bloggers, it was both and neither. A double-April-fools joke. Metapranking, if you will. Google-style fun with a big pot of gold at the end.

To me it's showing the world the wider viability of the Google aesthetic. Clean design, unobtrusive yet useful ads, a fast, powerful product that will literally change the way you "do email." Oh yeah, and a gig of space, too.

I'm reminded of a quote from Scott Adams:

"I say we should listen to the customers and give them what they want."

"What they want is better products for free."

Only here that kind of thinking isn't a Dilbert punchline.

Yay, Google.

(oh, and this screenshot, though cute, is totally fake)

Here are some real Gmail screenshots I took this afternoon. Link away!

Google + Email = Gmail
Wednesday, Mar 31, 2004
For those of you wondering why Fury's been kind of slow this year; For those of you who get annoyed when I say I can't talk about what I'm working on; For those of you who wondered 'when?' when I told them I'd be able to tell them soon, that day is finally here!

I'm so very, very happy to point you all to Gmail, or at least the related Gmail press release, since the service isn't publicly available just yet.

I love this time of year...

April 2, 2004: Read the update

Google is UserFriendly
Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004
UserFriendly summed up the state of yesterday's web ever so nicely.
Google Redesign
Monday, Mar 29, 2004
The Google redesign launched today simultaneously across all languages. When was the last time a major site did a redesign and the majority of Slashdotters liked it?

Google Web Alerts and a bunch more launched this morning as well. As it says on the homepage: What have they done for you lately?


Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
I can be reached at .

I also have a resume.


I'm co-founder in
a fantastic startup fulfilling the promise of the Internet of Things.

The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.

Find out more.

We're also hiring.


I post most frequently on Twitter as @kfury and on Google Plus.


I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

©2012 Kevin Fox