Google Task Lists -- The economy must be bad

Things are getting bad when Google's adding a Task List feature to Gmail is big news. My in-box is littered with Google Alerts about blogs and articles discussing Google's new task functionality. Is it the economy? Do we need a change of subject from all the layoff news? What is it? Maybe it's a slow day in Google Alert land. The Internet is awash with to-do-list applications beyond what Microsoft provides in Office. I've tried many of them over the years, so many I'd hate to have to go back and list them all. And now you can get to do list apps that sync across your iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and desktop computers.

So, what's new about Google Gmail's new Task List feature? Not much. You can turn an e-mail into a task. Beyond that, it's basic to-do-list functionality, just delivered as a Web app within Google Gmail. Google's Gmail blog says it well, and says it pretty plainly; "People use Gmail to get stuff done, so we've added a lightweight way to keep track of what you need to do, right from within Gmail."

Maybe it's the stresses of all the negative economic news we keep hearing. Maybe it's just the pre-Christmas holiday drop in interesting news. I'm not sure why this announcement got me bothered about the waste of digital ink dedicated to Gmail's task feature. Whatever reason, I just found it hard to build up much excitement about this addition to Google's apps. Google's going to have to do a lot better if it expects Google apps to make a serious dent in the Microsoft Office software market. The new online version of Office apps that Microsoft showed off at PDC was very impressive, a lot more than we were expecting from Microsoft. I find it hard to believe Gmail's task feature will either set the world on fire or send much of a shockwave throughout Microsoft.

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