Google has some insanely useful applications, the top of their field in many cases — and by mastering these tools, you can become a productivity ninja. But these apps — Gmail, Gcal, Google Reader, Google Docs, et al — they aren’t perfect.

Don’t get me wrong — I love these apps. They are awesome, and I couldn’t bring myself to use anything else. But although they’ve come out with some minor upgrades recently, Google has been a little slow in upgrading their great apps with much-needed features. Perhaps they just need a little nudge.

Well here it is. Google, here are just a few of the features you need to add, pronto.

Gmail

  1. Sort features. You should be able to sort your inbox (or any folder/label) by date, sender, etc.
  2. Two panes. When you open an email, you shouldn’t have to leave the inbox view if you don’t want to.
  3. Dragging. You should be able to drag emails if you want, to re-arrange them, pop them in a label.
  4. Drag-n-drop and batch uploads. Why should we have to manually select each individual file attachment? Allow us to select a bunch of files, and drag them into an email.
  5. Progress bar. Speaking of uploads, if you’ve got some big files attached, and it takes awhile for Gmail to upload, Gmail should show you a progress bar so you know it’s working.
  6. Better integration with Gcal. This has been improving, but as of right now, you need to add third-party extensions to allow you to schedule stuff from an email into your Google Calendar, or to see your agenda for the day in Gmail. With two great tools like this, integration really should be complete.
  7. Unthread. I love the threaded conversations. It’s ingenius. It took me a couple of days to get used to this, back when Gmail first came out, but now it’s indispensable. Except when you don’t want emails to be threaded (if you email something to 50 people, for example). Give us a choice.
  8. Notification. I’m actually not a big fan of email notification, as they’re horribly distracting. But I know that others want it. You could use a third-party extension for this, but you shouldn’t need to.
  9. Open emails in new tab. Self explanatory. Firefox made me addicted to tabs. Why can’t I use them in Gmail?
  10. Read receipt. I wouldn’t use this much, but I think a lot of people find it useful.
  11. Message size. I should be able to see how big a message is, and sort by size. Would make deleting emails easier.
  12. Off-line reading. I love Gmail being online all the time, but what if my Internet connection is down, or I’m away from a wi-fi spot? How will I get my Gmail fix?

Gcal

Gcal
  1. To-do list. C’mon. This is pretty basic.
  2. Pop-up notifications. Yes, they have this already, except when Gcal isn’t open. I’d like to be notified at all times.
  3. Quick-add. There’s an extension for this, but it should be built in. Do a simple key combination, and enter an event. Voila.
  4. Off-line usage. Same complaint as Gmail — you should be able to save stuff and view your calendar even when you’re not connected to the Internet. I’m sure this is coming, but it should come sooner.
  5. Drag an event to another week. I love being able to drag an event to another day when I’m in “week” view … but what if it’s next week, or the next month? What then, Google?
  6. Icons. OK, this isn’t that necessary. But darn it, I’d like a little birthday cake next to the birthdays, and a little Christmas tree …

Google Reader

  1. Nothing much. This feed reader is pretty much perfect.
  2. Except. Off-line reading.
  3. And search! How is it that the king of search companies doesn’t have search in Reader?
  4. Also: someday/maybe list. If I unsubscribe to a feed, I might want to save it on a list to check out at a later date.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Google Docs
  1. Sharing with non-Google users. As far as I know, if you want to share a Google doc with someone, they’ll need to log in with a Google account to access it. Well, they shouldn’t have to.
  2. Drag-n-drop. When I’m looking at my list of docs, I should be able to re-sort them, put them into folders, drag them to my desktop, and drag documents from the desktop to Google Docs.
  3. Selecting text. I should be able to use the keyboard to select a paragraph of text, like you can in other word processors. Control-Shift-Up Arrow. It’s frustrating not to be able to do that.
  4. Spreadsheets. This app needs a lot of work. It’s so behind other spreadsheet programs it’s almost not usable. I can make some very basic spreadsheets, but it’s a lot more time consuming. Simple things, like being able to quickly do a Sum formula without having to click on the Formulas tab first. Keyboard shortcuts. Things like that.
  5. Off-line working. Same as above. This would be killer.

Other apps Google needs

  1. Glist. Instead of just adding a to-do list into Gcal, Google should come up with a really cool to-do list program, with multiple lists, project view, drag-n-drop, reminders, etc. Basically a Google GTD program, integrated tightly with Gmail, Gcal, and Google Docs & Spreadsheets.
  2. GMoney. There are a lot of personal finance programs out there, but Google needs one, integrated with its other features. I’m sure it will do this one day.
  3. GDrive. This has been discussed, but really, Google should put your hard drive online. Drag and drop files, sort them, put them in folders.
  4. GContacts. I like how Gmail automatically adds email address to your contact list. I barely even think about my contacts anymore. Until I want to look up a phone number. Then I have to go to Contacts, do a search, click on the contact … using the contact manager is one of the worst features in Gmail. Google should have a separate Contact manager, integrated with Gmail and Gcal. And make it really cool, kay?

What features or apps would you like to see Google add? Let us know in the comments.

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