While Google Poops, the Rest of Us Get Dumped

As the author of the new book — Google Apps Administrator Guide — it is difficult for me to write this article today, but the hallmark of the book is its blunt examination of Google Apps and how to get the whole mishmash of applications working in unison across an entire domain. I believe the book is a fun, honest and informational read that doesn’t kowtow or ass munch.

Speaking of kissing ass… we’ll get our lips around that matter in a moment… and I’m not talking about the Google PageRank scandal that is blistering the tongues of blog wags everywhere.

My disappointment with Google has many monster heads but a single monstrous core: Google are lousy at providing end user technical support even for those who pay for their service.

If you have ever had a problem with Google Apps, or your private Gmail account, you know of the horror of which I speak — there’s no one single way to reliably get an answer out of Google to solve your problem.

The Google Groups dealing with Google are understaffed and poorly maintained and watching the rabid calls for help from end users who are — basically ignored by Google — does not bode well for the future of the company despite their current stock price because customers are the core of their business and ignoring the wants and desires of those who pay to use their service speaks of the old Evil Empire inelegance of the Microsoft of yore.

My current problem with Google Apps had been ongoing for over 10 days as I tried to get help from the official Google support channel for adding a domain to my Google Apps account that refused to verify.

Google admitted the process was broken on their end, but they had no idea when, how or why the matter would be resolved and they were unresponsive to follow-up inquiries. To leave me and the matter hanging without an end in sight makes one wonder who is minding the technical support store at the Googleplex? The answer is people like me and other volunteers are manhandling the unofficial Google tech “support line.” Some of us do it offline. Others do it online in the Google groups and in blogs.

A few even write books! Yesterday, I deleted the problem domain Google couldn’t fix and I closed my tech support ticket. I gave up. I went away. I let Google get the best of me by not serving my worst problem. One of my readers recently sent me an email that said, “Google needs to get off their vibrating, gold, bidets and solve my problem!” Ah! Now it’s time for some Google anal examination! Here’s the lowdown on Google BidetGate as we enter the realm of the rear:

Free perks range from gourmet meals at the company cafeteria to bathrooms equipped with digital toilets, where the seat temperature and bidet pressure can be controlled with a remote. “They have created a Willy Wonka effect,” says James E. Pitkow, CEO of Moreover Technologies, whose former company, Outride Inc., was purchased by Google in 2001. “Engineers want to work on the coolest problems with the smartest people.”

The Washington Post described the perks of Google bum cleansing this way:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — To understand the corporate culture at Google Inc., take a look at the toilets. Every bathroom stall on the company campus holds a Japanese high-tech commode with a heated seat. If a flush is not enough, a wireless button on the door activates a bidet and drying.Yet even while they are being pampered with high-tech toiletry, Google employees are encouraged to make good use of their downtime: A flier tacked inside each stall bears the title, “Testing on the Toilet, Testing code that uses databases.” It features a geek quiz that changes every few weeks and asks technical questions about testing programming code for bugs. The toilets reflect Google’s general philosophy of work: Generous, quirky perks keep employees happy and thinking in unconventional ways, helping Google innovate as it rapidly expands into new lines of business.

I wonder if the rumor I’m satirically starting right now is true: All Google employees wipe their bums with Bearer Bonds when they’ve finished dumping their business? More evidence of the strange Google disconnect between service and support is evident in last week’s bizarre and confounding rollout of IMAP support for Gmail accounts.

If you read the Google mail support group you’ll see a lot of people are having trouble setting up IMAP in their offline mail reader or even getting IMAP added to their accounts. I have been waiting since last Wednesday to have IMAP added to my main email address. First Google said on their blog it would take “a few days” and then those days turned into “a week” and the timeframe has now become the fuzzy and foreboding “soon.”

I have a feeling Google did not think out its IMAP implementation very well and they’re paying for it now with lots of problems trying to get it to work right on a large scale. Meanwhile, as Google ponders, the people suffer wondering for answers and wanting reliable technical support on a predictable basis: Is asking for help and actually getting it too big a log to chop?

Meanwhile, as Google poops, the rest of us are left fiddling for answers by writing books for each other and answering reader inquiries and providing informal online support in order to fill the technical support vacuum that Google values less than automatic ass washing.