Using Google Gmail, and then some

As email systems go, Gmail seems like one of the best–so long as the fact a machine is scanning every word you write and inserting relevant ads into messages doesn’t bother you. Like Orkut, the system is intuitive and smartly designed. I particularly like the clean interface and simple information management features such as the ability to label emails and create threaded posts in the process. The mail is also blazingly fast. Clearly, that amazingly large Google server farm has been deployed as part of the back end infrastructure. The only buggy feature I’ve encountered is the Contacts Manager/Address Book–it just doesn’t work on my machine. I have no idea how many of the address I am writing to (or getting email from) are being saved, and I haven’t figured out if there is a way to add manually add addresses.
I’m leery enough of the whole thing to not want to make it one of my main email systems (they invited me to be part of a test, after all), but I find myself liking the system and wanting to use it more–I’m just concerned about getting attached to something that might get turned off after a month.
And then some
I’ve also been experimenting with Froogle, the shopping referral engine. Froogle has the potential to become an invaluable tool once the interface and the information presentation are refined a bit and some additional capacities are built around the core product. I’d particularly like to see Froogle Integrate Google’s local search capabilities, allowing people to search merchant results by location as well as item and price. A syndication API and RSS/XML feeds also seem like must-haves, enabling buyers and sellers to use the Froogle infrastructure to create a trading market of sorts (yes, I am thinking that if this tool was combined with an eBay like auction structure and purchasing system, the results would be killer–and monopolistic in the extreme.)
And finally, I wonder how Froogle would work if its functionality was integrated with local classifieds, powering a far more granular FISBO (for sale by owner) product, which Google could then syndicate to online newspapers as an entry point into helping them get back (and therefore owning a chunk of) their online classifieds business.