So, Google+ is being eliminated. It was already in benign neglect mode, but they found a massive privacy hole, and rather than fix that they’re just going to shut the whole thing down. To revisit, Google products I used until they killed them: Reader Notebook Health Desktop Plus Android (for tablets) Inbox Messenger Latitude Google products I’ve abandoned this year: Gmail Sheets Docs Contacts Search Hell of a way to get customer loyalty.
Last week I went back to using an IMAP client. Google had decided to eliminate Inbox after coaxing me into completely reworking how I handle mail. Gmail’s web UI isn’t a reasonable alternative, so I went back to IMAP. Lesson learned, no more new Google products for me. But as I was adjusting to that, it emerged that Google had done something far worse. I’m a pretty cynical person, and when it leaked out earlier this summer that Google was going to launch a censored search engine for China, it didn’t surprise me.
So, Google are releasing another messaging/conversation app. After Google Talk, Hangouts, Voice, Google+ Chat, Wave, Gmail chat, Messenger and Spaces, comes Allo. You’d think that after eight attempts, Google would have learned what it needs to do to make a chat app succeed, but no: Allo doesn’t have SMS integration. Director of engineering Erik Kay says the diversity of Android hardware precludes Google from creating an iMessage-like system that co-opts SMS, according to The Verge.
Ars Technica has an article about Google’s failure in social, which ignores the toxic nymwars but is otherwise very insightful. I use Google+ and Gmail. I have an Android phone. I’m subscribed to Google Music All Access (because it works in a Linux browser and pays artists the most). I’m signed up to get Google Fiber. I’m not anti-Google at all, yet it seems like they keep trying to drive me away.
In 2007, consumer groups asked the FTC to come up with a “Do Not Track” list, which would work like the “Do Not Call” list. Naïve Internet researchers then proposed a “Do Not Track” header for the web. The idea was that users would set a preference in their web browser; the browser would then send a “Do Not Track” (DNT) flag each time it fetched a web page. Advertisers would then voluntarily be good and not track the user.
Dear Google, now that you’ve gotten rid of Vic Gundotra and you’re disassembling his empire, here are my suggestions for how to reverse some of the damage he caused: No more nymwars because of his real names policy. By all means collect people’s real names, but let them decide how their names are displayed publicly. You know, like they do socially in the real world. Turn Google Local back into a search engine and local directory, like it was before you decided to try and use it to promote Google+ and everyone stopped using it.
Amidst all the hand-wringing over San Francisco’s unaffordability problems and the resulting protests, there’s something that isn’t getting discussed much. As an experienced software developer (amongst other things), I get contacted by recruiters on a fairly regular basis. And the conversations pretty much always start–and finish–with “Of course, you’d have to relocate to the San Francisco bay area.” That’s the problem people aren’t talking about. You can’t get a job writing software for Apple unless you work in the Infinite Loop campus.
People are freaking out about a ‘new’ feature that lets people e-mail you from your Google+ profile, even if they don’t know your e-mail address. Well, guess what? That feature has been in there for years. You can still read an article I wrote about the feature back in 2011. I’ve had it set to “Anyone can e-mail me” since before then, and I’ve received zero spam as a result. The only new feature is that Google+ contacts show up in Gmail’s autocomplete, and the preference is visible in Gmail as well as Google+.