“The best camera is the one that’s with you.” That quote has been repeated ad nauseam since smartphone cameras started going mainstream, a reminder that a tool’s usefulness is limited by convenience with all the subtlety of a purple elephant smacking someone upside the head with a pillowcase full of batteries. Still, the sentiment rings true, and can be applied to any number of other tools, from hammers and saws to calendaring and weather apps.
Siasto, a Y Combinator-backed company, is applying that same principle to its non vomit-inducing project management software with the introduction of its new Siasto Tasks extension for Google Chrome. The company’s software needed to be where its users are, and, as it turns out, most of the time they’re using a Web browser.
The Siasto Tasks extension works as you’d expect: Siasto users sign in to their accounts, download and install the extension to Chrome, and then click on its icon to quickly add tasks, view projects, or share things with their team. It’s essentially the Siasto website in a more convenient, wherever-you-are-on-the-Web package.
“A lot of people are asking us for different ways to interact with Siasto,” says co-founder and CEO Niccolò Pantucci. “When you think about a collaboration tool and task lists and task management in general, it’s something that needs to be available at any moment.”
Users were sick of keeping a dedicated tab open for Siasto’s website, so the company went ahead and created an extension. It’s software the whole way down, and Siasto isn’t the only company trying to accomodate users who spend their entire day in their browser. Hell, Google built an entire operating system, ecosystem, and $1299 laptop based on that premise.
I have four extensions visible in Chrome: the Evernote Web Clipper, Evernote Clearly, Pocket, and Quote.fm. I’ve also been tinkering with extensions for Todoist and Any.do to manage my to-do list, so those get swapped around on occasion as well. These aren’t true Web apps, per se, as they all rely on or supplement another application — but they have changed the way I browse the Web.
While all of these tools, the Siasto Tasks extension included, seem like small developments that are merely nice-to-haves instead of essential features, I’ve found the opposite to be the case. As easy as it is to go to a proper Web app and get shit done, having that same service right next to the Omnibar (that big box that lets you enter URLs and search the Web) is even easier.
If it weren’t for the Pocket and Quote.fm extensions I wouldn’t use either read-it-later service. Copying a URL, browsing over to the service’s website, and adding a page is two steps too many for me to save all of the interesting Web pages I come across each day. The extensions make-or-break the services for me. The same could be said of Evernote. Without the Web Clipper or Clearly I wouldn’t use the service to create a digital archive of anything worth saving from the Web, drastically affecting the way I interact with the Web.
Based on the feedback Siasto got from the 10,000 teams that rely on its software, the Siasto Tasks extension has the potential to do the same thing for project management. If you’ll allow me to get my purple elephant on for a moment: The best project management tool is the one that’s with you, and for Siasto that meant it needed to develop something as simple as a browser extension.