Speaking of Google…

Speaking of Google… Whatever happened to the promised instant messaging interoperability between AOL and Google Talk? Google released a press release on the matter on December 20, 2005 and to this day nothing has happened on either side. What gives? I know there are other applications, such as Trillian that already support multiple IM protocols/connections, but none have worked quite as well for me as GoogleTalk has on the PC. If I could, I’d stop using AIM altogether, but half of my coworkers insist on using it as their default IM client.

The app that Google forgot

Google bought MeasureMap from Adaptive Path in February 2006. When it was purchased, it was like time stood still and development on MeasureMap ceased. There’s no doubt that a lot of the thought and functionality that went into MeasureMap is incorporated into the new Google Analytics, but it’s just not the same. Google Analytics does too much for most people. When it was first released, MeasureMap was the perfect analysis tool for blogs.MeasureMap LogoUsually, when Google buys a company they either: a) completely absorb the company and phase the existing product(s) out of existence or into existing product (e.g. Writely became the basis of Google Docs); b) let the company run on its’ own (e.g. YouTube); or, c) make it better (e.g. Urchin became Google Analytics).With MeasureMap, they’ve done nothing. It still works (and I’ve been an active user since November 2005), and it still does a bang-up job of keeping track of what goes on here on my site, but the app has grown stagnant:

  • Current browsers aren’t showing up. Firefox 2 and Safari 3 don’t register.
  • There’s no option to export data.
  • Reporting is pretty slow from time to time.
  • Google and Yahoo are the only search engines available when analyzing inbound links.
  • You can only monitor one domain.

The last update that was given on MeasureMap, was made on April 6, 2006 via a post made in the MeasureMap Google Group:

Here are the things we’re currently working on:

  • Performance: for users who have been tracking their blogs for more than 6 weeks, or users who get a high level of traffic, Measure Map may occasionally feel a bit sluggish. We’re releasing a series of performance improvements over the next week that will greatly improve how we summarize and display your statistics.
  • Multiple blogs: lots of people have asked us for the ability to track multiple blogs per account. We will likely release this in two stages: first, you’ll be able to add as many blogs as you want. Later, we will be offering some tools to help you compare the traffic between your blogs. Both of these will probably be paid features when we launch our “unlimited” version of Measure Map.
  • Tracking with “other” blog platforms: Users of home-grown blogging software and users of custom themes in products like WordPress have found certain stats difficult to track (like comments, for example). As our community grows, we’ll be working with some of those users to add their solutions to our help section. Stay tuned…

None of these issues were ever addressed again. Mention of a paid version of MeasureMap was made, but never brought up again. Support for multiple blogs was mentioned, but never introduced. Google support of MeasureMap has been non-existent in the MeasureMapGoogle Group since that final post.I understand that Google Analytics is important to Google and what they’re trying to do with AdWords. I can understand that efforts were shifted away from MeasureMap to make Google Analytics better (link). And I also understand that you can’t complain much about something that’s free… But I can’t understand why Google would continue to maintain a service that’s all but been forgotten.Google: If you’re not going to improve MeasureMap, why not migrate the users over to Google Analytics and be done with it?

HP Blog Printing

HP Blog Printing graphicAt first glance, the HP Blog Printing plugin for Movable Type and WordPress seemed rather pointless to me. Then I used it. All I can say is wow.

Typically, if you were worried about how your content might look when printed out, you’d create a print stylesheet that would control, to some extent, how things look when they print out. The HP Blog Printing plugin eliminates that problem, by allowing users to create an easy-to-read, printer-friendly PDF of your latest content on the fly. Best of all: it’s free.

For those of you who don’t have a site powered by Movable Type or WordPress, it might be worth looking into Tabblo Print Toolkit (developed by HP). By using a bookmarklet while viewing one of the supported sites, you can generate a PDF of the current page content.

I’ve now incorporated this feature into the website. You can access it via individual posts in the sidebar. Hopefully you’ll find it as useful as I have.