Google+ and it’s recent bonehead moves

After a very long day I finally had a little time to myself this evening to post a few pics of my recent motorcycle trip and catch up on other stuff I’ve been putting off all week. I grabbed my iPad and hit the couch. Cindy and I were discussing a friend of ours and his compaints about Google’s recent UI and functionality changes. I was told that somewhere over the past couple days they eliminated the ability to scale a page of search results. I’ve been busy, I hadn’t noticed. I had to see for myself. Sure enough, after searching through every link and setting on my Google page, I could not find any way of scaling a page the way we could less than a week ago. As I was turning red and pulling hair out by the fistful, I was told that Google also removed the preference setting that allowed us to switch between desktop and mobile app.

As the hair flew and the blood pressure continued to rise, a question began to form in my mind; rhetorical but still warrants an answer: When did Google just say f#@k it and to hell with it’s users? The first priority in designing an app, website, or anything that a user has to navigate and operate on a computer or mobile device is to design the user interface in a way that’s intuitive to ANYONE with less clicks to get around and most importantly, web standards and accessibility compliant. For a company operating at the core of the entire planet’s internet experience, it seems to be blind to the obvious lately. I haven’t been 18 for a hell of a long time and unfortunatley, some type is getting hard for me to read. I like to have the zoom option. For a friend of ours who is much older and has a hard time reading any text that’s less than 48pt, this has really been a step backwards and has made it annoyingly difficult to read anything that pops up in the Google search results pages. I guess Google doesn’t give one slippery shit about the folks who cannot read tiny little type though, and they are just designing and developing us right out of the picture.

I’ve had a Google account for a long damn time now, but until recently had been using it primarily for the web developer tools. My internet searches have been exclusively through the Google search engine for as long as I can remember and it’s my home page on every browser I use. I’ve had my photography on Picasa for more than a couple years already, have been using the calendar even longer, and Adsense, Analytics and all the other web tools have been integrated into every site I’ve developed in the last 5 or 6 years. As a heavy user I was pretty damn excited when they released Chrome, which is now my main browser, and I damnear shit plutonium pickles when this whole Google+ thing hit the public. Having grown tired of Facebook and people posting stupid shit like what they’re having for lunch (photo included) and letting us all know how much work they got done around the house on their day off, as if anyone really gives a shit, I was primed and ready for a new social networking tool. One that would be integrated with the plethera of other tools I’m already using would be a huge bonus I thought, as well as a big FU to FB and all of it’s banality and boring, mindless ramblings. Less than a month later I’m sitting here wondering whether to dump all of my Google account stuff or not. A big sigh for the high hopes I once had.

Until recently Google in Safari on my iPhone and iPad has worked perfectly and just like the desktop browser versions. I noticed things beginning to take a turn for the worst over the last two or three weeks as more and more developments have been going on in Google Plus. The first release of any app is always going to have a few issues surfacing along the way, especially when it’s live and being used by the public. One would expect an app to evolve quickly after being released to the public and the bugs being worked out of it as fast and as transparent as possible, but not with these folks. Every day Google and Google Plus seem to devolve a little bit more for my mobile devices however. First it was the page zooming, then it was being forced to use the mobile version which has little functionality, and on and on it goes. By the end of the month I’ll be lucky if I can even post a comment from my iPad. As it is today, I find myself stomping angrily off to the studio every time I have to do something that requires more than typing out a simple post. Just as I finished posting a quick angry little rant in Google+ about this very thing a few minutes ago, I realized that I had not included all of my circles that I intended to include. From my iPad, I looked, hunted, and searched for a way to go back into the post and share it with more of my circles but once again the Google app had me devolving into shouting incomprehensible cuss words, throwing my pens & pencils around the room and making my dogs hide in the corner all tense & worried as I exploded in another Google induced rage and went back into my studio to make the simplest of edits on my MacPro.

Then just when you think this can’t possibly get worse, I noticed Cindy reading about the Motorola deal. Google has purchased Motorola for a little more than it would cost to build a soccer stadium on the moon, and what for, you ask? So their shit will work properly on the Droid, probably. WTF? I’m sure there was an easier solution but hey, if you have 40 billion lying around and burning a hole in your pocket, why the hell not? I would have purchased the White House as well and turned it into a motorcycle shop and art studio; something I dream of frequently.

Then there’s the REAL NAME policy they have for your account profile. I have a lot of friends in the motorcycle industry who’s nicknames are their identity and linked to their business, some of whom I’ve known for 20 years and still don’t know their real first names. F*%k is the nicest, cleanest word I can come up with when trying to describe how angry that stupid policy makes me feel, so I won’t even bother typing it out. It would make no sense to you!

That’s all for now. I’ve vented but don’t feel much better about the whole situation. I’ll give it a few more days to see if the Google geniuses come to their senses. At this point I see them moving away from being an extremely progressive and productive company into just another gargantuan conglomerate monster roaming the globe with it’s mouth open gobbling up everything in it’s path until it’s so massive, fat and stupid that it can’t sync up with itself to develop anything useful. Like Microsoft. But I could be wrong; it’s happened once before. Maybe a miracle will happen and someone over there will start making decisions with it’s users in mind, and if it does, I’ll be excited and happy about it like I was a couple months ago. Fingers crossed

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