Google, stop pushing me

by Volker Weber

Google, you don't want to be somebody I used to know. I liked you, I played by your rules. But I could not help but notice that you started pushing me around.

GMail used to be my favorite email platform. Yes, it was ugly, but it did the job. You added contacts, and there were often tons of duplicates, but you provided tools to get rid of them. You added a great calendar and I liked it.

When I got into mobile, I started using your Google Sync. It's basically Exchange ActiveSync with some bugs. You called it a beta, and I still liked it. You started selling it to your enterprise customers, so I had to be good. I added 37 devices to the service.

When Google+ came out, I liked it. I liked it a lot. Yes, you only supported iPhone and Android, and your teams seem to compete with each other for better features. On other phones, I just used your HTML5 site. That did not work easily, but I could make it work.

Then something happened. You got into a fight with Microsoft. But instead of fighting Microsoft, you started pushing me.

  1. At the end of the month, you won't let me add any more devices to Google Sync. You are cutting me off. I won't have access to my contacts and calendars. I don't like this.
  2. You killed the HTML5 site for me. I can't get there any more. You are now pushing me to the basic site, even if I asked you not do this. I don't like this.
  3. Today I wanted to go to Google Maps from the Lumia. You won't show me that page. Instead you are sending me to your search site. I tried again, but you won't read the URL I am typing. I don't like this.
  4. I used to be able to access your services on all platforms alike. It did not matter which services or browsers I was using. There was no 'Best Runs On Chrome' nonsense. You were agnostic. Now you start pushing your own products on your front page. I don't like this.
  5. Plenty of folks use Apple products. A lot of folks use Windows. You have now explained you are not going to develop for Windows 8, RT or Phone. It's your choice. I don't like this.
  6. Microsoft says, you are not giving them access to the same metadata you are providing for iOS and Android. So they cannot build a great YouTube app. Actually they said that years ago, and are just repeating it now. I don't know if it's true. But if it is, I don't like this.

Google, you have started pushing me. You think you are pushing me towards Google.

Think again.

Comments

Google starts behaving like those, who got disliked in earlier times for similar purposes.

Bodo Menke, 2013-01-04 23:41

Frustrating I know. Google could be positioning you for paid services by "pushing you around". All these services are free and generate little or no revenue. They're only benefit is to beta test on you and potentially get you committed for a paid service and stop "pushing you around".

Giulio Campobassi, 2013-01-04 23:52

No, they won't take my money.

Volker Weber, 2013-01-04 23:54

They won't take your money.... yet...

Giulio Campobassi, 2013-01-05 00:07

'All these services are free and generate little or no revenue.'
If a Google Service makes no money, they shut it down. As long as a product keeps you online you will do a internet search sometime.

Tobias Mueller, 2013-01-05 00:19

Google services will be as long free of (direct) charge as their current revenue stream continues and grows, while generating sufficient OUP.
If they ever start charging consumers directly, it might be too late.

Bodo Menke, 2013-01-05 00:25

They may feel bullish because they have a few hundred million Android users by their balls.

Volker Weber, 2013-01-05 00:32

Just to add one more thing: Google has announced they will shut down iGoogle in 2013. There is no easy alternative to my beloved customised homepage. I don't like this.

Axel Koerv, 2013-01-05 00:42

@Tobias. I understand what you mean, but Google has enough cash in bank to test the waters for extended periods. I think they base the go/no go on a service by uptake of users, not purely on revenue because there is value in denying the competition a user base if they're already invested in their services and they take an acceptable direct financial loss.

I am also guessing that if the loss is too great, and/or there is no competition and/or there is no uptake they would definitely kill it. These are the factors I would use in providing "beta" quality free services if I was a mega-tech giant with $50B+ in the bank.

Giulio Campobassi, 2013-01-05 00:47

@Axel Koerv - Google believes Google+ is the replacement.

Ian Bradbury, 2013-01-05 00:50

They started that also on their websites, for example if you open Gmail with IE8. Additional to the small annoying yellow bar on top, everytime you log in you get a huge message displayed telling you to use another browser. Every single time.
They seem to forget that most people in big companies don't choose their browser freely.

Patrick Bohr, 2013-01-05 00:52

+1.

Arthur Fontaine, 2013-01-05 02:00

Full ACK. 'Don't be evil', my ass.

Hubert Stettner, 2013-01-05 09:45

"would you like to invite $person?"
"Install Google Chrome"

No. No, no, no! I told you a dozen times. You keep asking.

When Google wants to rule my browser, my smartphone, my documents, e-mails or even my operating system and my internet connection, things start to get creepy. Great services, indeed, but maybe it's safer to look at them... ...well, from a distance.

Martin Loeschner, 2013-01-05 10:04

Thanks for this entry. Google started to annoy me slightly when it bought YouTube and flooded it with ads. When they were aggressively pushing chrome down my throat and my Gmail account got linked to services I didn't even know about, they annoyed me even more. The last straw was a documentary I saw on how google uses the data they're collecting. I then tried to become google-free - and found it difficult due to lack of good internet search alternatives. So when it comes to searching, I have the choice between a tool that delivers good results back but gets more and more evil and other tools that don't deliver. Not good.

Miriam Höhn, 2013-01-05 11:35

Well said. I agree with all of your "I don't like it"s.

But then again: why do we keep hoping that more and more services are (will be) offered for free? And suddenly, when companies shut those down we are shocked.
Would it change anything if Google (or others for that matter) offer the alternative of letting us decide either to pay for services in the future or abandon them?
To be honest: personally I'd rather stay with Google - for the time being - than jumping on the even worse apple train ...

Horst Kläuser, 2013-01-05 12:51

Seems to be the hallmark of Larry Page, founder and CEO for over a year now.

"For the first time, someone is thinking across Google products,"

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/01/03/google-larry-page/

Martin Virtel, 2013-01-05 13:14

Regarding the Windows Phone redirects: This seems to be based on a simple user agent check, it can be worked around by using User Agent Switcher.

http://www.windowsphone.com/de-de/store/app/user-agent-switcher/65783cf3-4a4f-4a89-a315-7998fe1ced6e

Jochen Schug, 2013-01-05 16:43

Better the little devil you know than the proven bigger devils we know even better.... (I second Horst Kläuser's opinion.)

It is no fun that Google starts to behave in some aspects like M$ did for the last 20 years or more. But let's face it: We got those services for free as a customer. If they want to bind the customer to their overall strategy, they are free to do so.
Is it evil to tying those services to the package to make the other Google products more attractive than the competition?

If this strategy proves to be a nuisance for a big enough share of customers someone else (maybe Canonical?) will come along and will pose a serious enough threat to big G to change their behavior again.

Another thing... are users registering 37 devices the normal target group?


Just my two cents...

Georg Duma, 2013-01-05 17:01

Please explain the benefits of locking users out.

Volker Weber, 2013-01-05 17:08

Remember that us users are actually Google's product, not its customers. The customers are the people/companies that buy advertisements.

Jochen Schug, 2013-01-05 17:31

Google's most important product is still AdWords. Google earns money with AdWords. Nearly all other products and services are merely vehicles for AdWords, so they basically needn't create revenues on their own.
The lock-out activities seem to pursue another target, namely to get rid of some competitors. It's easier to deal with one major competitor than with two.

Lock out to lock in.

Sven Bühler, 2013-01-05 18:08

wrt #3: The Verge, "Google restoring Maps access for Windows Phone after uproar", http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/5/3840620/google-bringing-maps-back-to-windows-phone

Andreas Schmidt, 2013-01-06 02:01

I think something is wrong with the very end: Google is pushing you towards Google?

Joerg Michael, 2013-01-07 00:08

@Jörg: if you want to use any new device seamlessly with Google, you will have to buy Android. All other platforms will have to implement 3 different protocols instead of one: IMAP (Usually you have that), CalDAV (Has been there for there for years, but no real spread), CardDAV (Quite new).
Some rare exeptions here: The Blackberry Playbook implemented this protocols stack already. As most other platforms will do as well. As soon as they do, they are back in action.

I guess the real reason for abandoning ActiveSync/Exchange for normal users is simply a cash problem (and politics, as always...). Google probably has to pay M$ money for every active device that is using the Exchange service. So what they try to do, is to offer a royality free option for free users and holding open the Active Sync part to paying Google Apps Users.
Clever Move in my view and long overdue as well.

Do i like it: of course not. But i do have a choice, at least thats something ;)
But that won't help vowe's magic flying circus...

Mark Altmann, 2013-01-07 14:09

@Mark - According to the Wikipedia article: "In December 2008 Microsoft shifted its licensing of Exchange ActiveSync from that of a protocol license, to licensing the patents of Exchange ActiveSync and providing full protocol documentation."

It doesn't cost Google any more if there are 10 users or 10 million, which leaves political motivation.

Charles Robinson, 2013-01-07 16:55

@Charles

Nothing in that quote says anything about whether Google's costs are fixed. It's quite likely that the EAS patent license is based on usage volume. Per Google, over half a Billion (> 500 million) Android devices have been sold, most of them since the EAS license deal. It's not too much of a stretch to believe that this is starting to cost Google some real cash.

Paul Simpson, 2013-01-08 02:26

@Charles

Nothing in that quote says anything about whether Google's costs are fixed. It's quite likely that the EAS patent license is based on usage volume. Per Google, over half a Billion (> 500 million) Android devices have been sold, most of them since the EAS license deal. It's not too much of a stretch to believe that this is starting to cost Google some real cash.

Paul Simpson, 2013-01-08 02:29

That's an interesting thought. How are Android, Gmail and EAS related, if you factor in how many records Justin Bieber has sold?

Volker Weber, 2013-01-08 05:07

@Ian Bradbury - "Google believes Google+ is the replacement." In that case Google are very much mistaken. I will also miss my iGoogle page when it dies.

Here's hoping they introduce some portalesque features into Google+ before iGoogle dies. I'm not holding my breath...

Steve Bailey, 2013-01-08 16:27


Well a number of big american players are fighting about making many mony for long time and having control over the "virtual" reality of the "world" population.

Facebook
Apple
Microsoft
Google
Amazon
...

there a some central technologies as core technologies to be in the game.

Search
Browser
OS
Mobile Devices
Social Communities
Office

In result - there push people around in some cases to bring it to a balance of power. In Case of MS and the new mobile strategy it looks for me - that MS needs more control over Keyareas to come again in a dominating position.

But best for us:

Balance of power between at least 3-4 most innovative players. So sometimes i can acept some pushing around - when i believe that it is helpful for the balance of Power.

Martin Rosenberg, 2013-01-10 16:36

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vowe.net is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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