Question

What popular software today will be just a feature in future software?

Steve Jobs infamously told Dropbox founder Drew Houston that his product was just a feature (while Jobs, at the same time, was considering acquiring Dropbox). Conflict of interest aside, Jobs' prediction doesn't feel entirely incorrect. iCloud's built into Apple devices. OneDrive and Google Drive are at the core of their Office suites. Dropbox is still a great tool—but an increasingly hard sell if you already use another storage app.

It's a story that's played out over and again in tech, as a popular simple app eventually becomes just a feature in another larger app, most recently with grammar and style check coming built into writing apps at the expense of tools like Grammarly.

What popular simple app today do you think will be just a feature in the future?

Or, on the other side, which feature in a larger product today do you think would be better shipped as a standalone smaller product?

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mikestaub's avatar
2 years ago

As much as I love the tool: calendly.com

6 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @mikestaub )
2 years ago

Actually surprisingly how little Google Calendar's invites have changed over the years—other than to include Google Meet links now.

1 point
optemization's avatar
2 years ago

i think time tracking. there is a ton of apps dedicated to that. i personally use harvest and rescuetime but I can see how that can be integrated into larger ecosystems.

4 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @optemization )
2 years ago

That would make a lot of sense, especially in either team chat apps (as a broader focus on productivity) or to-do list apps. For now, it's mostly add-ons in project management apps rather than a core feature.

1 point
chowdhuryrahul's avatar
2 years ago

What was once the USP of Zenly (live location sharing app), has already started to become a feature in most apps.

Even iOS's Find My app provides a similar feature.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @chowdhuryrahul )
2 years ago

Very true—and interesting how that's become, to a degree, a messaging app feature where you can share live location in group messages in Messenger and LINE, or see shared family members' location in iMessage.

2 points
maguay's avatar
2 years ago

Buffer and other social media tools built to schedule social media posts have already been replicated by Twitter and Facebook's built-in tools to schedule posts. Though that hasn't killed their market entirely—it just makes Buffer's features to schedule the same post across multiple apps more important, as that's far less likely to be replicated by the social networks themselves.

1 point
DudaBardavid's avatar
2 years ago

Although I love it and am an avid user: loom.com

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @DudaBardavid )
2 years ago

Interesting, you think more software will end up including video chat in their apps?

1 point
DudaBardavid's avatar
@DudaBardavid (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

Yup. Drift has already started (not inside their app yet but it’s a first step): https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/video-screen-recorder-for/kfhkikpdmehlpkaiplafjkaicdljldcf

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @DudaBardavid )
2 years ago

Oh fascinating, launching it as a companion product of sorts.

I’ve noticed something similar in the automation space, with more companies e.g. Slack building in a workflow builder that, over time, could end up competing with standalone automation tools like Zapier.

1 point
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