Google Gmail signature location not ready for prime time

Hot on the heels of its Latitude friend-tracking service, Google adds another location-based service: an automated Gmail signature that includes your current location. Unfortunately, the feature isn't polished enough for business use.

Don't get me wrong. It's great, theoretically, for digital nomads constantly on the move who want to communicate where they are without effort. 

The feature, which must be turned on by the user, adds the city and country for most countries, but the city, state and country for locations in the United States. 

It works by checking your IP address, but you can make it more accurate by using Gears, which checks your Wi-Fi access point location. 

To turn on the feature, choose the Labs tab under settings, and check the new box under the signature box that says, "Append your location to the signature."

Unfortunately, display of the location looks half baked. In my case, it displayed my location as:

Santa barbara Ca United States

The feature should capitalize all words in the name of the city, rather than just the first word.

It should also use the full name of the state (California) or the proper abbreviation (Calif.). Instead, Google inexplicably uses the postal abbreviation with incorrect capitalization (Ca). 

And finally, if you're going to add a country, you should add the full name of the country, not just part of it. The name of my country is "United States of America." I would be happy with an abbreviation, such as "USA."

Google should also have no trouble using commas to separate city from state and state from country. This is nothing difficult. It's just logic that Google should have added to the code to make it display properly. 

My current location should look like this: 

Santa Barbara, Calif., USA

It should take any developer almost no time at all to simply add rules to the code that display location properly, rather than awkwardly. 

I appreciate the attempt, but by making the feature too clunky for business use, Google is missing an opportunity to attract the very audience that could use this feature: People who travel on business.

Come on, Google. I know you're giving this stuff away. But does it have to look cheap?

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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