How to Specify the Email Address to Use in a Google Contacts Group

google-contacts-logoSo how many users do you think are on Gmail now? A quick Google search reveals roughly 500 million (that’s about 1/8th of all email users in the world right now).

So how many of them do you think use Google Contacts? Given that it’s Gmail’s default address book, I’d guess 90% plus.

So how many do you think use the contact groups feature? Given that it’s the easiest way to email the same group of contacts rather than typing their addresses over and over, I’m guessing at least 25%.

That means there’s a good chance that at least 100 million people have this simple problem: if a member of a contact group has more than one email address…how do you specify which email address(es) to use for that contact in that group???

It turns out this is a must-have feature of a contact group. I work in high tech, so maybe my contacts are an exception, but nearly 100% of them have more than one email address. And it’s very important for me to use the right email address in the right context, or else I run risk of at least sending the email to the wrong inbox and at worst sending my contact a signal that I’m an idiot and don’t respect his/her boundaries.

And what is exquisitely ironic is that almost nothing establishes context better than a contact group. A company board of directors contact group obviously should use a work email address. A book club contact group obviously obviously should use a personal email address. Of course there are exceptions, but that’s the whole point: you must to be able to precisely control which email address to use for each contact group or you might as not use contact groups at all.

Which is exactly why I have NOT used contact groups with Google Contacts for the last five years. They just didn’t support that feature.

Or at least I could not for the life of me find it. I tried searching at least a half-dozen times.

I finally got frustrated enough again tonight to decide that Google MUST have fixed this by now. So I did another search for it. And by god, this time I actually found it. At the bottom of this three year long discussion of the problem on a Google product forum.

Look at the second-to-last entry. It reads:

Ed, they didn’t make it obvious, but it’s there.  Open a contact.  At the top, under the contact’s name, you should see a list of contact groups that the contact belongs to.  To the right of each group’s name, there should be a small triangle.  If you click that triangle, it will give you a list of email addresses for the contact, and allow you to check the address(es) that you want to belong to that particular group.  Make sure you click “Apply” when you’re done.

Here’s a picture to show you exactly how this works:

gmail-contacts-email-example

Now here’s the supreme irony. The entry was dated 2/3/11.

Unbelievable. The fix has been in place for over four years and I was never able to find it.

So how many of those 100 million Google Contacts group users do you think have been able to figure this out?

*******

Postscript: logging into my personal Gmail account tonight, I noticed they have a new UI for Contacts. And guess what? The group member email address selection feature is gone again.

What is Google thinking?

Posted in Addressing, Email, Google, Tips | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ex Machina: One Very Fine Machine

ex-machina-posterAbout a third of the way into this movie I found myself thinking that film has become such a high art form, attracting so much talent the world over, that either we’re going to run out of ideas or our heads are going to explode.

This is the sharpest, tightest, most skillful sci-fi script in memory. And very expertly executed, like a hall of mirrors constructed by NASA.

Add to that performances that are uncanny in their intensity, and the result will live with you for a long, long time. Which was undoubtably writer/director Alex Garland’s goal here. Not just to get under your skin, but inside your mind. And maybe break it open.

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Brad Feld on How to Deal with Email After a Long Vacation

brad-feldMy Newsle service spotted this post by Brad Feld about his recommended approach to dealing with missed email: ignore it and re-engage with your email stream afresh upon your return. I completely agree; that’s was the same conclusion I came to after my summer vacation in 2013.

Brad ends his post by saying:

I’m always looking for other approaches to try on this, so totally game to hear if you have special magic ones.

This resonates with me because my focus right now is on how the XDI semantic data interchange protocol can give us a new form of messaging that we’ve never had before—something that gives us new and better ways of handling messages that either email or texting give us today.

Stay tuned.

Posted in Email, Messaging, XDI | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Whiplash is the Best Titled Film – and Possibly the Best Film – of 2014

Whiplash_posterWhen I wrote my review of The Imitation Game in January, I said it set the high-water mark for film in 2014. And, when viewed from the perspective of all aspects of filmcraft, it did.

But when I finally saw Whiplash the weekend before the Academy Awards, I found myself feeling like I’d just been shot out of a cannon.

Every adjective you see on the poster to the left is, in fact, an understatement. “He can’t possibly mean that”, you think. I mean every word of it. See it, and then ask yourself when is the last time you saw a movie that got your blood racing that fast.

It’s bloody genius. We will be seeing a LOT more from director Damien Chazelle.

Posted in Movies | Leave a comment

T.Rob on the Samsung AdHub Privacy Policy – Have We Reached a Privacy Waterloo?

iopt-logoOne of my favorite bloggers in the Internet identity/security/privacy/personal data space, T.Rob Wyatt, just posted an expose of what the Samsung privacy policy really means when it comes to using Samsung devices and their integrated AdHub advertising network.

I can tell you right now: I’ll never buy a Samsung smart-ANYTHING until that policy is changed. Full stop.

If every prospective Samsung customer does the same thing—and tells Samsung this right out loud, like I’m doing right now—then we’d finally see some of these policies changing.

Because it would finally hit them in the pocketbook.

Posted in Internet of People, Internet of Things, Privacy, Respect Trust Framework | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Selma

Selma_posterIt is very hard, being a white man who was only seven years old at the time, to even think I can appreciate what it was like to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965.

But Selma takes you there. Puts you in the shoes and eyes and ears and mostly the voice of Martin Luther King Jr. David Oyelowo is practically a medium channeling that voice—in fact it was stunning to learn that it was not the actual words of Dr. King due to restrictions on the rights (so even greater plaudits to director Ava DuVernay for making them ring so true.)

Though the singing of Glory by John Legend and Common at this year’s Academy Awards was the most moving and significant Best Song in memory, it still did not offset the travesty that David Oyelowo was not nominated. What, pray God, was the Academy thinking?

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

FounderDating Breaks the First Rule of Trust—I Will Never Use This Site

True story: two weeks ago I received an email from an entrepreneur I know and respect (who will remain unnamed). It read as follows:

Hi Drummond,

I’ve just joined FounderDating (no, it’s NOT romantic) – a handpicked network of entrepreneurs connecting with advisors and other talented entrepreneurs. Can you do me a quick favor by leaving a quick vouch (aka reference) for me as an advisor? Should take 2 minutes.
http://members.founderdating.com/advisor/vouch/63582/

(To prove that you’re the real Drummond, you will be asked to use LinkedIn.)

Unlike with some systems, this will help me make much more meaningful connections with potential advisees.

Thank you,
[Name Withheld]

Knowing that this entrepreneur was a very discriminating person who chose his words carefully, I considered this a ringing endorsement of this new site. So I went out of my way to provide a vouch for him.

The site subsequently contacted me with the following email with the subject line, “VIP Invite”:

Hi Drummond:

We noticed your background and wanted to invite you to be a part of a select group of current FounderDating members that are Advisors on FD:Advisors. It’s an expansion of the FounderDating platform that allows entrepreneurs and advisors to meaningfully connect. Others members on FD:Advisors include, Aaron Batalion (CTO/Cofounder, LivingSocial), Josh Handy (Lead Designer, Method Products), Katherine Woo (Chief Product Officer, Kiva) and Sean Byrnes (Cofounder, Flurry), just to name a few.

It’s an opportunity to showcase your expertise, help awesome entrepreneurs and streamline the advisor requests you already get even if you’re not open to others. There is no upfront time commitment. Just click on the button below and fill in your areas of expertise (the ones you want to advise on). We curate the network, but with this invite you are pre-approved.

START ADVISING

Hope to see you online,

Jessica

Cofounder/CEO, FounderDating

Again, given the enthusiasm of the original note I received from the original entrepreneur—and that I am a student of Internet reputation systems given my work on the Respect Trust Framework and Connect.Me—I decided to go ahead and take the plunge. I filled out a few forms, selected a few interest areas, and then did the obligatory selection of a few people would who might vouch for me—chosen from a list of my LinkedIn contacts, of course.

FounderDating never asked me to write or customize a message to them. But this morning, one of them forwarded the email he received (again, I’m redacting his name to protect the innocent):

Hi [Name-Withheld],

I’ve just joined FounderDating (no, it’s NOT romantic) – a handpicked network of entrepreneurs connecting with advisors and other talented entrepreneurs. Can you do me a quick favor by leaving a quick vouch (aka reference) for me as an advisor? Should take 2 minutes.
http://members.founderdating.com/advisor/vouch/63582/

(To prove that you’re the real [Name-Withheld], you will be asked to use LinkedIn.)

Unlike with some systems, this will help me make much more meaningful connections with potential advisees.

Thank you,
Drummond

Ah-ha. I immediately realized that the email I first received was NOT written by the entrepreneur who I thought composed it, but rather forged on his behalf, just like this one was forged on my behalf.

Poof. There went all the trust I will ever have in FounderDating.com. I strongly urge that you do not patronize this site. I will not respond to any email or any vouch request from them again.

P.S. When I went to the site to delete my account (for which they had never given me a credential), I clicked the sign-in button and got this error message:

{“connections”:1}

That’s it. They won’t even give me a way to leave.

Posted in Connect.Me, Customer Service, Entrepreneurs, Reputation, Respect Trust Framework | Tagged | 3 Comments