Gmail Tasks | A real competitor for outlook yet?

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So as some of you are no doubt aware recently Gmail recently added a tasking function.  Those of you who know me or follow my ramblings, will know that I am a bit of an evangelist for tasks in Outlook and one of the great failings I have seen with Gmail and Google’s attempt to be a competitor to outlook as something more than just an email tool  has been the lack of a tasking system.

So does Gmail’s new tasking function make it a real competitor against Outlook in terms of time and workload management and not just sending and receiving emails?  The answer is complicated.  Yes having a tasking function in Gmail is a great improvement, the ease with which one can link an email to a task and the fact that the email is quickly retrievable even if it has been archived is great, as is the ability to have more than one task list. I also like the ease with which one can drag tasks around to reorder them. These make a fantastic difference in relation to managing time and workload in Gmail, but they are nothing that cannot be done as simply and easily in Outlook.

So what are the issues and where does Outlook still outshine Gmail in terms of tasks.  Firstly while it is possible to put due dates on your tasks there does not seem to be anyway in which to order/arrange them to utilise this date.  The lack of a start date field in tasks also hampers Gmail as it means that the ability to really get into the nitty gritty of scheduling when you are going to really get to do the tasks much more difficult.

So does the inclusion of Tasks in Gmail, improve it as a competitor for Outlook in terms of time and workload management?  Yes I think it does and I am sure that it will be incredibly useful for those who use Gmail as there primary email tool.  However I think that Outlooks position is still very very stable and clearly on the top of the heap.

Tomorrow I will talk about what it is I think that Google and Gmail have to do to become as useful if not more so that outlook as a time and workload management tool.

Paul Pondering

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