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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Google Love/ Hate Relationships

Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch has a top 25 lists of things he hates and loves about Google. Great read!

Here’s my top 5 for each:

Things I Hate About Google

  1. Google Pack, Google’s bundled software package that came with a lot of the underwhelming type (a slide-show screensaver... hey, I have one of those installed on WinXP by default) and spyware (Real Player).
  2. Google’s move to China. When Google went for a “little evil for a greater good,” and started self-censoring human rights organizations in China, they left their old informal corporate motto (and a lot of fans) behind.
  3. Sloppy scaling for new (and some old) services. Google’s new services are often down during the release week, and then some. I’m not saying it’s easy to scale, but why don’t they prepare... or not release it? To this day, Google Analytics, Blogspot blogs, and other services are having problems with lags and downtimes – to the point that people flee to elsewhere.
  4. Bad HTML. Different Google web services obviously are made by different teams within Google, resulting in different types of HTML. Mostly so far, their HTML is so deprecated you get the feeling the Google engineers never heard of Tim Berners-Lee. In at least one instance, this even harms development for others; the Google Homepage API forces you to work within a “quirks mode” when creating code with it.
  5. Where’s the multimedia search engine? If Google has such a razor sharp focus on search, why didn’t they manage to launch a web video or web audio search engine so far? Others have it too, and it fits perfectly into the search niche Google tries to dominate. Google Video, on the other hand, has user-uploaded videos only... without any web-crawling to just go look for the stuff.

Things I Love About Google

  1. Google has a very no-nonsense, pragmatic approach to usability. At Google, the complexity is behind the scenes, even when the homepage looks amazingly simple. Many other tool sites are pushing the complexity towards the user to show-off.
  2. Many of their services are bigger, better, faster... and more relevant. While this might not be true anymore for new releases, almost everything they released up to Gmail was really impressive in terms of how much you got in what time.
  3. They don’t have designers. Of course that’s not true. Google has information designers, interface designers, even interaction designers.. and probably a couple of traditional graphic designers too. Still, their tools are first and foremost just that: tools. And you don’t really need a hammer with amazing decoration on it, do you?
  4. Gmail. Google actually managed to reinvent email (and not just webmail). By making everything faster, adding a lot of storage, a conversations view, and auto-completion for contacts, today they make me wonder how I ever managed to actually send a mail with Hotmail.
  5. They’re smart. The Googlers are a smart and creative bunch. Ɯbergeeks that try to create the best possible tools. People who think big. Within all that, of course, lies the danger of becoming arrogant and self-absorbed... will those smart people continue to listen to the world outside the Googleplex?

What do you love/ hate about Google?


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