I love these new ideas
There was me using a text file of standard replies that I could copy and paste from, oh I am a dinosaur.
Lazy Gmail users can now set up automatic replies to common emails with a new add-on feature dubbed ‘Canned Responses.’ "If you are sick of typing out the same reply every time someone emails you with a common question, now you can compose your reply once and save the message text with the 'Canned Responses' button," said …
1. Great, now I've got your new number. Now who are you?
2. Sorry, I'm off duty at 2am. Now f* off and ring me between 9 and 5.
3. No, I'm not with Orange. And I don't want a free upgrade.
4. Can't you just ring me? This conversation is costing me a fortune in texts.
5. I'll ring you later. The missus is here right now.
So google has this huge money machine and they make a habit of employing the brightest people they can get their grubby and well greased paws on. They lure the obsessive geeks in with huge paychecks, bean bags and free food but the killer is this: 20%. Any true nerd spends at least a few hours outside of work time doing stuff that interests them (writing little code projects, contributing to open source stuff or just hacking about with things) if you give that same geek one day of his working week to do stuff that interests him, and give him access to all the engineering resources of google then it's really not surprising that the features are going to keep coming. A whole lot of the google labs stuff is born from the fact that google people can have an idea and then run with it until it's big enough to throw out there to the general public but of course for every good feature you will also get the odd nut job feature.
I get good ideas every now and again but either lack the skills of the resources or both... these google people have the skills and the resources to realise every idea on a massive scale regardless of if it's a good idea or a bad one.
It won't be long before some google guy or gal uses his 20% time to fit sharks with frikkin lasers.
Nice for gmail no doubt, but people have been using vacation autoresponders such as the Unix vacation command and/or procmail for years. Most other mail systems also have this, including the ability to send different replies to different people based on filtering (Exchange, Sun's mail server, probably every other non-webmail system as well).
So it's not clear this is very new.
The gmail solution in the article also seems to be missing the very important feature from most of the other solutions of remembering who it's sent email to, so it only sends an irritating "I'm on the beach unlike you" vacation message once per week, rather than every time each person sends email to you.
This isn't the same an autoresponder that automatically responds to every email. Instead this seems to allow you to build up your own set of standard replies so when you get an email that deserves a standard response instead of pulling up a compose-reply window and typing it I assume you'll just click to pull up you set of standard responses, select the one you want and press send.
Thus IT support can now sit back and simply select between the
- "try turning it off and on"
- "install the latest version"
- "we don't support that any more"
Nearly the entire content of Google Labs comes from the work the google staff do on Fridays.
It's quite clever, really. Their teams play around on friday coming up with projects and ideas. If one of them becomes very popular, i.e. Google Maps, then it gets made into a full project to be worked on the rest of the week.
Self propogating work and ideas means there's probably never downtime in the Google office and the staff are motivated because on Friday most people get to wear a wacky-tacky tie, they get to do whatever the hell they want! I know it'd work for me, I'm so bored at my job I usually spend time working on my own websites and designs than the work I'm meant to be doing.
These were the only kind of texts you could send with my first GSM phone, an aberration of an Ericsson with a bendy flip-out antenna. It had about 6 stock texts that you could send, stuff like "I'm on my way", "Meet me later" and "This SMS lark will never catch on like this, will it?"
OK, it seems to be true that you can use the templates manually. Kind of like templates in the old Sun mailtool and other non-web mail programs?
But the linked blog page says "Gmail already lets you create filters .... Turn on Canned Responses in Labs, and you can set a filter ....., create an automated reply, and hit the Send button for you." This part at least sounds like a vacation program, albeit most people are probably not used to using detailed filters for this.
I still think, when using this paired with filters to autorespond, a "only send the same reply to the same person once per week" option would be a good idea to have as an option.
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