Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Damn Google, It Doesn't Care Anymore

My Love-Hate Relationship with Google

I am not sentimental but I have always liked Google. Microsoft has never been in my good books. I still don’t like Microsoft especially it’s excessive over pricing, blatant display of power, outright arrogance and complete disregard to civilized customer service. And I always found Hotmail with its 'check regularly or get deleted' rules quite despotic. Besides, the MSN search sucked. So, when Google appeared across the horizon offering infinite bounties ready for discovery across the Cyberian far lands, I was delighted. And when Gmail offered dollops and dollops of gigabytes of free storage, it seemed like heaven. Soon, I was lapping onto the free online super luxury hitherto something that I had to pay through my nose. This was the start of my Google affair, my fascination with Open Source software and my net addiction.

Many years later, as I write this blog, I wonder if I am back to square one. And if the recent turn of events is an indication, my love affair with Google is also going to end (unless Google does something about it). So, how did this go sour?

In Mid 2008, my 3 year old, handcrafted, lovingly nurtured blog dedicated to hard-to-find music mysteriously crashes for no possible reason and Google doesn’t help. ‘Sorry Dude! Can’t Help’ was the curt refrain. It’s a long, dirty (and sad) story so I don’t wish to bore you but you need to know that old habits don’t die and I ended up with a new blog - this new blog (against all advice again on Blogger!) and not self-hosted on Wordpress. (blame me).

A few weeks back, when this blog went berserk with a spike in web traffic, my profile view ticker abruptly stopped working and it hasn’t worked till date. My request to Google Support has not attracted any reaction and I now have many new net friends, all blogspot users facing similar or even worse problems with their Blogger accounts. As if this was not enough, one of my Google Analytics account (with more than 80 client websites in it) has gone bonkers and the ‘Goal Conversion feature’ suddenly seems as good as dead. A few clients also have serious login issues with their corporate Gmail accounts (paid accounts). Again, there is no single response from Google Support. As a long-time Google advocate, I had moved many of client email systems (100’s of them) from their third party hosted servers to Gmail supremely confident with Google’s reliability. And finally, to add insult to injury, new Adsense applications for several of my client websites besides this blog are still pending for the more than a month, apparently still under review. Now, I have angry and impatient clients, especially my SEO customers literally breathing fire down on me, all of whom concurrently discovering the priceless value of search analytics and web metrics!

Maybe the anti-Google theories are indeed true. Maybe Google is just an omnipotent money-making machine which has grown too big, too fast. Just visit the Official Blogger Help Group, read the horror stories or better scour other Webmaster forums to read Google/Gmail related disasters and it’s all too evident that Google is indeed all set to become the next Microsoft. The only rational explanation I can construe otherwise is that the support folks at Google are either stupid, outright lazy to fix these recurrent bugs permanently or maybe since it’s all mostly free, Google just don’t care anymore.

I know there is no free lunch in life but when you are talking about a excessively powerful and disproportionately cash-rich company like Google, which many still consider the prime apostle of Open Source free software, it’s very demoralizing, unsettling. As a small fish in the mighty Google ocean, I don’t know if my voice will be ever heard (I hope Google spiders pick this up) but I will at least have the satisfaction of making my Google rants - read and re-read by many here. And that is more than satisfying!


  1. My corporate Gmail account was deactivated for no reason and they took ages to fix it. I lost valuable data and substantial chunk of email contact due to this and since then, I always maintain backups in numerous email accounts. safe than sorry now.

    Janet Brodie

  2. Sorry to hear this but that is why you should self host important things more to it if it is related to a business.

  3. I had a similar experience with all of my Blogger blogs dying a couple of years ago...I have two accounts with two blogs each, all of which were reduced to blank pages for no apparent reason. I have been trying for a while to get an analytics widget for my igoogle page but none of them work either. You'd think they'd be able to offer a widget for their own software, but I guess not.

    I have not yet experienced any problems with my email accounts...keeping my fingers crossed that I never will. It would be devastating to lose all of those hundreds of emails that I just can't let go of but don't -really- need.

    As an aside: to further illustrate the recent failings of Google, when I tried to post this comment it told me to please try again because my request could not be processed. Oh, well.

  4. Google support sucks. No company can survive in slendid isolation. I have found it diificult to contact major corporations. Nobody enjoys spam and regulation is necessary.
    Major companies should deal with attention not shun it.


  5. I liked the comments wrt google. I think there are two reasons why things go wrong...

    1) Some companies are too big - when something goes wrong it goes really, really wrong and they can't afford to pick up the pieces. Some kind of index corruption or storage corruption is usually the cause.

    2) big companies that "sell" very low cost products cannot afford to support individuals.

  6. In my humble opinion your frustration comes from too high expectations. I'm quite sure you got service no worse than SLA promised you.
    Let's take Gmail, it is clearly stated on every page it's BETA. Take buzzwords out of equation when making business decisions, if your important data or work relies on free third party beta service that's your funeral.


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