usb-cableAre you looking for the best possible USB cables to support and charge your mobile device? Surprising as it may seem, not all USB cables are made alike—and even ones from major manufacturers may not be properly standards-compliant and could even damage your device. How to tell which ones might be hazardous?

As it turns out, an engineer from Google’s Pixel tablet team has started testing USB cables and leaving customer reviews of them on Amazon to indicate how likely they are to work properly and not cause damage.

I’m not sure how long he’s going to be able to keep doing this—most corporations have rules against employees making personal statements using the company’s name—but while he is, it could be a valuable resource if you’re looking for some new USB cables.


  1. I suspect Leung not only ran what he’ll be doing past his bosses at Google, they’re delighted for both the publicity and the support troubles he’ll prevent. Google is doing what Amazon ought to be doing.

    Keep in mind that in its early days Amazon thought it’d have to pay people to review books (and by extension products). It was delighted when it found that people would do those reviews for free, saving it money.

    Amazon is now having to face the downside of free reviews—that they may carry with them agendas pro or con. Typical of Amazon, it’s attempting to do so with lawyers and threats rather than spend money for competent reviews. What this Google employee is doing could also be done by a paid reviewer with the tools to test whether USB cables meet the specs. That wouldn’t cost much to integrate into Amazon’s system, but it would cost Amazon more than it seems to want to spend.

    Books are among the least of Amazon’s problems. Thousands of the third-party products it sells are junk. Amazon doesn’t seem to care, probably under the assumption that a return policy is enough. But for something costing a few dollars, returns aren’t worth the bother. Sleazy companies make lots on those non-returns. If Amazon eventually dumps them, they simply reappear under a different name.

    Change won’t come easy with bottom-line-driven Amazon. Whether a USB cable is good or junk doesn’t affect how much Amazon makes on the sale. That leaves it with little incentive to clean up the House of Horrors that is much of what Amazon is selling in some categories. As a result, this Google guy is doing what Amazon ought to be doing.

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