Google broke it

by Volker Weber

You can bend a piece of metal. Back and forth. Many times. And then, finally, it will break.

Many years ago I switched from using Altavista to Google as my search engine. Years later, Google built the first desirable webmail. They gave me a whopping 1 GB mailbox that kept growing. Google Docs (now Drive) allowed me to co-edit documents and share them with my editors. Google calendar did the same for calendars. Federated calendars! Then Google Sync would tie all that into the many mobile devices I had. Google would go out of their way to make it work everywhere. From old Windows Mobile and Symbian, to BlackBerry, PalmOS. If it was there, it would work with Google.

It was wonderful.

Then something happened. I believe it was Larry Page taking over from Eric Schmidt. And Google changed.

Things would just stop working. BlackBerry Sync would be abandonded. Stuff would only work with Android and iOS. Google would start abandoning Microsoft. And with that, Microsoft customers.

Google would not give you options. Google would not even take your money to grow your mailbox beyond 25 GB. Google would not take your money to be able to ActiveSync your GMail account. Google would just take it away. Reader is only the latest example. It's one data point in the new Google way.

They bent the metal too often. My trust in Google is broken.


Well said. I don't want everything for free, I'm willing to pay it with the analysis of my personal net behavior for advertising purposes or with real money. Both is possible. But I wan't a reliable and flexible sevice provider who treats me as a valuable customer.

Frank Müller, 2013-03-23 15:47

@Frank if you are not paying for a service most of the time you are the product not the customer.

The problem is that Google made good services, Mail, Docs, most of them working very good and most of the time better than other companies (payed) stuff. So a lot of people already able and willing to pay have chosen Google because they offer technically the best service. Some of them, maybe a lot, looking on the growth of Feedly within 48h, started to rethink that.

Sven Semel, 2013-03-23 17:16

Same for me. My first step: Switched back from Chrome to Firefox.

Alper Iseri, 2013-03-23 17:46

Agree with your message - my trust was broken much earlier and I'm taking more and services out of their (and anybody else's) hands.

I also think that it started much earlier - more with Eric Schmidt, which was a business only CEO, looking more into enforcing Google power also to earn more money. I remember the SEO "suggestions" on what to do and not to do on your website to get listed or penalized by market leader. My site, my rules.

The need for self hosted data storage and service providing has never been bigger than now.

Olaf Bottek, 2013-03-23 17:48

So what are the alternatives? What matches or exceeds Gmails experience if you want to use it with your own domain? What matches or exceeds Google Search experience? I'll replace Reader by Fever hoping for Reeder 2.0 for the iPad soon and I don't use Docs and Picutures/Picasa anymore and Youtube only very occassionally and not logged in. Gmail with my own domain and Google Search however are not that easy to replace.

Martin Hiegl, 2013-03-23 22:25

I started to use 'Bing' as default search.

Tobias Mueller, 2013-03-23 22:54

Before more people embarrass themselves: No, you can't turn a GMail account into a Google Apps account, or vice versa.

Volker Weber, 2013-03-24 03:14

self hosted data has always made it for me. I have always worked with my own mail server and will continue. Other services you can switch easily and i will, if i have demand for it.

Detlev Buschkamp, 2013-03-24 06:38

You are right, Volker, I am talking about Google Apps. I use however only the Gmail, Reader and Search services/apps, that's why I say "Gmail with your own domain", wasn't it originally also called like sth like Google for your domain? Migration from Gmail was quite simple at the time btw.. Anyway what else gives you this mail experience with the spam filters, the web-GUI and so on?

Martin Hiegl, 2013-03-24 10:11

Martin, when you migrate from GMail to Google Apps, you give up your Google profile. I'd rather keep that profile and move services elsewhere. I am already forwarding all mail from GMail to which has the superior webmail experience. It is currently missing two things: IMAP access and the new UI for the calendar. Both are a very high priority for Microsoft.

Volker Weber, 2013-03-24 11:24

Interesting read. I am switching between search engines for a while now, using

next to google ... and try to use it less and less.

I especially like ddg's zero-click-info box and that all three have a "privacy first" policy.

Albert Scheiner, 2013-03-24 12:42

We wanted to use (and pay for) the Google GeoCode lookup functionality at work, but were told we are not allowed to unless the result of the lookup service (latitude and longitude) is displayed using Google Maps.
We wanted to get altitude and longitudeof the addresses of our customers, so we could create a KML feed for our users and managers to analyze different things. This is not allowed (despite it being easy to call the GeoCode API and get the location). I switched to using Yahoo instead, not only do they allow more queries, I can also do what I want there legally...

Karl-Henry Martinsson, 2013-03-24 19:08

Google is also forcing it's Postini customers to Google Apps. The business user's spam filter is essentially a GMail account.

Brian Green, 2013-03-26 15:38

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Ceci n'est pas un blog 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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