Larry and Sergey, you can brag all you want about Moonshots—your driverless cars, your WiFi for developing countries, your other marvels; and sure, I’m also happy to hear about the new Literata font for e-books.
But overall, compared to the past, you just don’t care as much about the people who made you billionaires. Us. Customers. End users. Pick the term.
I’m running the latest nonbeta Chrome on my HP Pavilion and using the tips I shared earlier with TeleRead community members. And you know what? Chrome is still crashing far too often. While I realize you want to add new capabilities to your browser, how about the basics?
Another don’t-give-a-damn example is the Gmail mess. Why the devil aren’t you offering us the option of paid telephone support for, say, $50 a year. You could turn that into a fat cash-cow. Instead, just to get decent support, I had to “migrate” over to Google for Work. With 30 gigs of email, the process required weeks and had to happen not just at Google’s end but also through the finicky GAMME program on my PC. Along the way, GAMME drained away RAM and other resources badly needed for my ever-hungry Chrome. In the end I’m still sticking with my old Gmail account because, for now, I lack time to switch over various Google services tied to my old Gmail. I won’t even be able to take my Google+ account with me.
Your tech support people have been heroic, especially Laura down in Central or South America. It isn’t their fault that so much of your infrastructure stinks, or that I had to sign up for Google for Work Apps to enjoy telephone support.
Why couldn’t I have filled out a simple form, okayed payment and stuck to plain old Gmail? Were you trying to herd people toward Google for Work? Or does Google have too much invested in its substandard Gmail infrastructure to fix the problem? If nothing else, think about the Gmail interruptions that caused me to want to phone support. What’s more, I could also mention the less-than-optimal interface. I want composition in Gmail to be as easy as in Word, and I’m willing to pay for it.
I could also mention all those Nexus 7s bricked when their owners installed your OS updates. And outside #fails at the customer level, more than a few content providers not happy with the performance of Google ads, if the scuttlebutt I’m hearing is representative. Notice? Every ad on the TeleRead site is from Amazon. There is a reason for that. Perhaps TeleRead will be getting in Google ads. But for now, Amazon reigns supreme.
Although you’re in business to make money, not keep the world happy, I’d hope that the two goals would in many ways overlap. Keep in mind I’m very, very grateful for past innovations, including Gmail itself and other goodies such as Google Analytics. And I even pro-Moonshot. This post is not Google-hate; it’s simply tough love. But priorities, please, Larry and Sergey. You’re falling behind on the basics at the very moment rivals like Microsoft are working their rear ends off to reinvent themselves and improve The Customer Experience. Chrome is tormenting me just as Microsoft is revving up an improved browser. Perhaps I’ll switch both my e-mail and browser. The email@example.com account is all ready to take over if need be from firstname.lastname@example.org.
So if you want to stay competitive, then fix all the broken things at Google. Now. We customers have entrusted so much of our lives to you by way of Gmail and other products. Stop being evil. Care. It just could be good for your bottom line and maybe even create a little goodwill that you could use in your current antitrust battles in Europe.
Related: As antitrust case looms, ‘Peak Google’ debated. This is from a French news service. Still, ignore it at your peril. Take care to read the anti-Google rants in the comments.
The latest, 2:12 a.m. Washington, D.C. time: I just checked the About section of Chrome to make sure I still had the latest update. I didn’t. When I tried to upgrade to Version 43.0.2357.65 m, the message was “Update failed.” If I wait, I suppose Chrome on its own will eventually get it right, and I’ll also concede that some failures are inevitable, given all the complexities. But these days Google is disappointing me all too often.