Google is the biggest powerhouse in search engine. And slowly they have gained access to most of the population. They have become a monopoly.
Monopolies, when controlled by someone generous, good and ideal rational, will make the society a better place. But then if you are generous, you wouldn’t create a monopoly in the first place.
Fair competition is needed because it helps keep the market stable and avoid being controlled by one single entity. If you become a monopoly naturally, then the next step you would do is make the distribution hard so that the new entrant won’t come.
And to make the most money from your position, you would start making arbitrary rules and situations so that you can charge a load of money.
Facebook, Google And YouTube
Let’s take Facebook, for example, it started out as a generous company encouraging you to create a page so fans can reach out to you.
Initially, your post reached all your fans. But then Facebook started restricting the post by pages to appear in feeds of people who have willingly liked them. And then they started charging for the removing that restriction.
Facebook could do this because they have become so big that if you don’t pay them, someone else will, and you will lose out on your potential audience.
Google did a similar thing. Initially, you could search on Google and then the best links would be on the first page. They trained you to follow their algorithms and standard practices so that you could be the number 1 result on the first page. And once you had achieved that, they introduced ads.
Now anyone with a bigger budget than you can pay Google to appear before you and get those clicks. You did everything right as per their plan, even told your customers to find you online via a simple Google search. But now all the keywords lead to some other company because they have big bags of money. Yes, you could beat them now, but you need shell even more money and pay to Google.
Let’s consider YouTube when it started out, it was a creators landscape. They allowed anyone to create the channel and upload videos including Reaction video, lip sync videos and copyrighted songs made into parody. Most of the things fall into the fair use category legally, and some weren’t. But YouTube didn’t mind because they needed to grow – so slowly, creators started their journey and made YouTube the Godzilla of entertainment it is today.
But then YouTube joined hands with all the media corporations because they were now willing to come to them. And they gave corporations all the power to shun down all the videos which they didn’t like even if it is fair use. Of course, you could battle them but in court. Try winning with multi-million dollar corporations. Thank you, YouTube for stabbing all your creators for making you.
The Downfall Of Blogs
Gmail started out as an invite-only group, and now almost everyone has a Gmail account. If someone gives you a Gmail account, then chances are it is the legit one. You probably use other companies email account for privacy or checking spam websites.
The internet made the voice of the commons available to everyone, and it was being heard. For example, blogs become a huge success. And there were blogs about everything – from sales to career to self-help.
Most of the blogs made money by showing Adsense, which is a product of Google. Also, it was necessary to connect with your readers, so the blog owners relied on RSS feed distributor.
It works like this. You publish a blog post, your feed updates accordingly. And your reader can subscribe to your feed among others on their feed readers. So when they open the feed reader next time, they will see all the new post from the feed they had subscribed to. There were many feed distributors available, so it wasn’t monopolized.
But then Google came and made their own feed reader and advertised it heavily. They put their sweat and money in the feed reader so you would switch from the competition. And slowly almost all the competition died. And then Google killed their feed reader. Now you as a blog owner were frenzy on how to move ahead.
Then there were many companies which advised to subscribe by email. So your readers can now subscribe via an email. And guess what that email was mostly Gmail. Now suddenly the only way to connect with your readers was among the many other things like shopping receipt, personal emails and notifications email.
Take a seat back and try to visualize. In feed-readers, you would open it specifically because you wanted to read the latest blog post. In contrast, when you open an email, you are expecting all sorts of things, and blog post is one among them.
All was fine till this until Gmail introduced a 3 inbox layout. What it does is it puts the emails as per their algorithm on different inboxes. And as human behaviour, you are more likely to check the primary inbox. Now, Gmail started shifting the blog post notification in the promotions folder. As of now, they aren’t charging, but they are silently killing blogs. Don’t be surprised if you will be asked to pay a premium to get into the inbox of your readers.
Hence, the email is broken. And there is a need to fix it. Here are 10 ways you can fix the current Gmail or make the new email inbox:
1. There should be one inbox where all the emails should arrive. And readers should white flag the sender on an individual basis the first time an email comes. Only based on that, should the email be moved to a different folder as requested by the reader. Sure this would be a lot of work upfront for readers, but once you have set up – it won’t be much bothering.
2. The email shouldn’t be supported by ads. Because that means someone might take the place of your inbox just because they have the money. So the email should be supported by generous donations like Wikipedia.
3. There can be advanced algorithms like sorting and clubbing emails. But that should be upon the request of the user. Because if it is the default, human behaviour isn’t to change the default.
4. The Keyboard shortcuts should be encouraged so that the email usage becomes efficient. And the goal can be shifted from making them stay because of ads to make them go because their time is precious.
5. The UI should be clean and based on the aesthetics of minimalism so you can focus on the core feature and not get distracted.
6. There should be a contract in place which would be in effect even if the email service is sold, which would include emphasis that there won’t be ads ever. There will either be donation money or a membership fee to cover the cost and profit. So you would never become the product.
7. Instead of a global email service which doesn’t provide support even via email, there can be regional email service which has all the benefits mentioned here and the support is local so it can be addressed fast.
8. There should be an option to use the email in your native language. And the receiver can choose to receive an email in the original language or a translated version.
9. The focus should be on giving the user privacy. Hence, no unnecessary data should be collected, shared or stored.
10. You should have the option to choose your own typography to view, edit and share your emails. I love a good font – I hope this becomes a reality.
What else can you think of to make Gmail better?