Funny if it was from anyone but Google

 Google’s April Fools’ hoaxes run faster and play bigger than any other. With their reach and bloggers, news rooms and email propelling their every move/press release, they’re arguably reaching more people than the daily newspapers and television combined. This year they pranked about a TiSP or Toilet Internet Service Provider (the idea stinks of failure, doesn’t it?) and their Gmail Paper product (complete with microsite of happy employees hard at analog work).

GMAIL PaperWe needed to riff on the possibilities, so here was our contribution to the April 1 hoax:

The new “Fish Wrapper?” ISYN, Google’s Gmail is going old skool with an option to print out your email. No need to wipe your screen. You read it right. The new service will commit your email to paper and go postal on you. I’ll play a little tongue-in-cheek in this post, but it’s also worth serious merit for digital User Experience designers.

Putting asside incredulity as a response, a company like Google doesn’t surrender pixel or consumer mind-space with an offer like this if it isn’t relevant and in demand. Sometimes we get so digital-centric in our world view that we miss the obvious.

That’s where you come in. Who do you know that will use this service?

 Here’s my starter list of candidates for this service:

  •  
    •  
      • Visually challenged, may prefer paper vs. screen fatigue
      • Boca-Complex executives (“hope to be retired in Boca before… [need to adapt] hits the fan”).
      • Whistle blowers and others in need of a paper trail
      • The paranoid (I can see the Google development team asking the game-changing question: What would Nixon do with Gmail?)
      • Great aunts, uncles, etc. who will never get connected nor go digital

 Let’s see where this goes.

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