First impressions of Presented by Kai Turner – 20 December 2011
Splash pageNot Google brandedSchemer has been launched as anindependent product, with its own visualidentity.This is a refreshing move for Google–perhaps taking lessons from Wave andBuzz– they are letting Schemer sinkor swim on its own merits, withoutcarrying any of the positive (or negative)associations of the Google brand.Fun & WhimsicalNot being tethered to the Google brandhas allowed them to pursue a fun andwhimsical art direction, charminglyanimated.There’s not enough original illustration inweb design– it’s a trend we’d like to see alot more of.
HomepageSimple concept,Well executedNo lengthy introduction, or video tourof the site – after signing in (with yourGoogle account) – it’s immediatelyapparent what’s going on here:Tell people what you want to do.Social graphIt’s fully connected out of the box.Google+ integration is so seamless, itmakes you think the whole site is possiblya proof-of-concept for how Google wouldlike 3rd-parties to start using Google+.And no social website would be completewithout some ego service– Schemer hasthe concept of ‘inspiring’ your peers.Another feather in the cap for all yousocial media influencers.
Find stuff to doBut – is it useful?Not yet.The quality of the service depends on thequality of things to do as entered by thebudding community.The ‘schemes’ are not so inspiring atthe moment. If the value exchange ofinspiring tips for the time invested (orwasted) is not met– interest, and repeatvisits, will quickly decline.
A schemeSimply doneDon’t underestimate the temptation forthe designers and developers to overcomplicate something like this.They’re not trying to build the semanticweb, or create a rewards mechanic usingconcepts of ‘gamefication’ – it’s an ideathat came from the core, personal needsof the team who developed it– and theyseem to have maintained the originalvision.
Your schemesIt’s a social to-do listYour own view reveals the truth of thematter– it’s just a to-do list.The social element is certainly not presentin most to-do lists. But maybe there’s areason for that– are to-do lists inherentlyprivate?Something else worth considering is thatGoogle is already managing a number ofpeople’s to-do lists– and it wouldn’t bethat big of a leap to set some of them topublic or private.
My profileFeeling inspired?It’s a great conceit– inspire your friends,and get inspired by them.However, it’s a big promise.And you can’t exactly tell someone they’vebeen inspired, so it immediately rings asbeing untrue.A confident service should demonstrate itsqualities. The impression it makes is forthe audience to decide. Email notification
The attention landscape Its core utility is that of a to-do list, albeit a social one. Is that enough to pry us away from our deeply ingrained tools? To-do Lists Event Planning Social Networking One glaring omission is the lack of sharing on social networks. Sharing on Facebook and Twitter is a ‘hygiene factor’ for new services. The event planning and management This Google-centric view of the world has space is both crowded with services and hindered Google’s other social networks. yet notoriously difficult to own. However, it does give us another reason to Facebook’s not doing it well. Twitter’s not use Google+. doing it at all. There’s an opportunity for Google to grow in this space.
43ThingsIt’s been done beforeIf Schemer left you with a sense ofdeja-vu, it could be that you remember43Things– which has been running since2004 (although press coverage seems tohave dried up circa 2008).Did 43Things not fully exploit the market?What is Schemer going to bring to theconcept that is different?
The Verdict Watch this space The value of the service will be defined by the early adopter community who will set the tone for Schemer as a service through the content created. Schemer has an uphill battle. It will attract a core community (as did Quora or Hunch) – but to truly go mainstream it will need to be adopted as a seamless extension of Google’s other services– Calendar, Reminders, Tasks– and of course, the overall success of Google+. Follow me on Twitter – @kaigani