Well all love The Google. We all use The Google every day in some way. We want more Google. The GoogleThat said… nothing is perfect, not even Google.

What bothers you about The Google Empire?

If you could wave your magic wand over Mountain View and fix some stuff for Google, what would you fix and why?

I’ll go first and these fixes focus mainly on Google Apps for Your Domain Premier Edition.

You should feel free to bring up anything Google you wish to fix.

Dear Google: Grow Up And Get Out of Beta
Now that Google Apps for Your Domain Premier Edition is live and people pay $50.00 USD a year per user, they should be entitled to use software that is not in the perpetual Beta Testing Stage. Currently, in my Google Appls for Your Domain Premier Edition dashboard, I see Email, Docs and Spreadsheets, Calendar, Chat and Web Pages are all still in the Beta stage!

Only the Start Page is out of Beta and it’s been broken since the Google Apps for Your Domain beta started because it still won’t update the Start Page for all users when you do a content and design update.

I understand if Google lives in a constant Beta State they can brush off blame and responsibility for any problems because “We’re in Beta!” Now that Google is taking money for their services they need to lose the “Beta Excuse” right away and get on with the business of adulthood and mature end user responsibility.

24/7 Technical Support is Not 12/5 Support When You Feel Like It
When you pay for the Premier Edition of GAYD, you allegedly get 24/7 Technical Support. Here’s what your own website claims:

Administrators can contact our product specialists by phone during extended business hours and get 24/7 support for critical issues. Find the number for phone support by logging into your Google Apps Premier Edition control panel. Please have your customer and support PINs ready when calling.

24/7 doesn’t mean you get to actually speak to a person “after business hours” or “on weekends.” You will be able to leave a Voice Mail and you’re told you will get a call back. I called with a severe technical issue on Friday night, left a Voice Mail that night and then visited Google Groups support seeking help, sent in a written follow up on Saturday and again on Sunday and the problem was fixed on Sunday night but I never received a phone call and the email response I received on Monday merely confirmed that the problem was fixed because I reported it fixed in the Google Groups support area.

While the problem was eventually resolved, I wouldn’t in any way call your support 24/7. It’s more like 12 hours a day 5 days a week — if that.

Embed Blogger to Google Apps for Your Domain
I’m surprised Blogger doesn’t appear in the GAYD dashboard! Sure, you can kludge a workaround by doing a CNAME dance as I did for blog.bolesuniversity.com but that took some wrangling that many Admins don’t have the time or inclination to perform. Why not add your Premier Attraction to your Premier Edition?

Add FTP Access
If you will allow GAYD web page creation, then you also need to provide direct FTP access! That way we can avoid a functionality and design personality split between say, something like BolesUniversity.com and David.BolesUniversity.com and beyond!

Add More Space
Sure 10 Gigs of space for GAYD-PE email is sweeter than the 2 Gigs we had, but when the rumor mills were churning on The Internets that you’d give us 30 Gigs, 10 Gigs is a disappointment. We want to live on Google and we don’t want to suffer the notion of running out of space or breathing room any time soon. Humor us.

Embed To-Dos for Calendar and Email
We desperately need a nifty “To-Do” feature that we can embed in our Calendars and Email. Add that, and you immediately win even more hearts.

Merge Gmail Accounts
If we pay for GAYD, we want to merge our existing free Gmail account and all its keen stuff into our GAYD account. Please make that possible so we don’t have to live split lives between our causes, wants and intentions.

Create Killer Contacts
Your current Contacts Manager is tepid. Add more power and integration to who we contact and why and you will add even more value to an already great service.

That’s it from me for now! Now it’s your turn to take a hack at fixing Google. What needs to be fixed and why and how would you go about implementing those changes?

18 Comments

  1. Hi Nicola!
    Yes, I complained in Voice Mail and in Email that 24/7 support was entirely misleading. If you write in to support you don’t even get a response back acknowledging your request.
    If you write in to the specific Google Apps support email address you get a cold robot auto-reply back that you haven’t gone through the proper authority for help and you get redirected back to the Help area on Google in a never-ending mobius strip support existence where your head eats your tail.
    My direct complaint about 24/7 really being 12/5 received a terse response from a Google account rep accusing me of not appreciating GAYD — and I was summarily provided the URL I published in my article to that paragraph concerning 24/7 support.
    When I wrote back and said that URL and paragraph supports my position and damns Google’s — well… I’m still waiting for a response.
    😀
    Have you had a chance to play around with the new Blogger?

  2. Sounds about right for Google.
    I have not played around with the new blogger at all ……… with the blog on WP now I didnt see any point. They useless at providing support and answering queries – even on the help forum – at least on WP you get an answer and dont have the insufferable down times that blogger has.

  3. That’s an excellent review of WP.com vs. Blogger, Nicola. Getting any sort of official help out of Google is their Achilles heel. They’re smart. They see the future. They need to listen to us on how we feel about going there with them.
    What do you think of Gmail? Is it your main way of emailing? Has it ever failed you in receiving or delivering or losing?
    Are you at all concerned that I, because I pay, get a “99.9% uptime guarantee for my email” while you do not?
    😀

  4. I had a couple of days last summer where I had real problems with Googlemail – which I think was partly unstable connections and me not clearing my cache properly. I only think this because I trundled around the net to see if others had problems. Of course I had to do that because guess what – no answer from Google.
    Other than that I have had no porblems at all with GMail.
    I would say why do you have to pay for what I seem to get for free ?

  5. Nicola —
    That’s interesting Google went belly up on you last year with Gmail. Usually if I have problems I wait a few minutes and log back in and things are always better.
    Do you use the Google Groups on Google Groups to get help? They’re pretty good.
    I pay for things other than just that guarantee — but it is interesting that Google thinks that guarantee is important even if, in the end, it is probably pretty meaningless.
    Doesn’t offering a guarantee like that suggest there are problems with the free version? I wonder how that guarantee is enforced? Is my mail now on a better or more robust server than yours?
    I do like paying Google, though, because there is now an offer and an exchange. We’re in business together now. I pay for services. I now have an expectation of excellence I could not enforce while I was free and at the mercy of their whims.

  6. I tried various avenues of google support – not a reply from one of them.
    Offering a guarantee obvously raises expectations of a better more secure service – not sure how they deliver it though.
    I hope Google live up to your expectations ………..

  7. Nicola —
    The Google Groups are good for getting help and understanding from other end users. There’s no official presence there, really.
    I think you’re right that Gmail is expected to be even better if you pay — that’s a nice security blanket, I suppose, not matter how much false comfort it pretends to offer.
    So far so good, actually, with Google. They’re new to the “24/7” support game so they really only have one way to go: Up!
    😀

  8. Hello timethief!
    I am a Google-lover at heart, though. 😀 I do think they have a long way to go when it comes to proper customer service.
    I had a hard time understanding the concept of Gmail when it first came out — I admit to paying $40 for an early invite on eBay — I had to get a taste and a whiff of the future. I didn’t understand the idea of labels being better than folders for managing mail. It was a two year experience of fighting my experience and my expectation, but now I finally get why the “big pool” idea is a much better solution to working with email and finding information than having to deal with thousands of emails in hundreds of IMAP folders as I did before Gmail arrived in the world.

  9. To be honest often I find the advertising search results as useful as the actual ones, especially when trying to buy fairly obscure products. Quite often I have to disable adblocker so I can actually see them…
    Gmail is rather useful too. Compared to Windows Live mail, it’s just brilliant. Especially as Microsoft seem to have no issues in displaying ads that either look so terrible as to destroy the feel of the page, or are so resource intensive they bring my (old 1ghz P3) computer to its knees.

  10. David,
    I wanted to say that I am enjoying reading your write ups on GAYD Premier. I currently have a domain using the free version but I am considering the Premier version because of the option to squash advertising and because I would like the increased storage space (even if I may never need that much).
    Personally, I would like to see a couple of things from Google. I would like the option to create raw HTML files and upload them for web serving, as I dislike Google’s web page editor; a FTP based or web based uploader would be fine with me. I would also like to see Google make Gmail Notifier work for GAYD.
    Otherwise, I am pretty happy with Gmail/GAYD.

  11. Welcome to Urban Semiotic, Jeff!
    Thanks for your review of GAYD. I really love the paid version. Having all that extra email space really does feel great — even if we never use it.
    It’s also quite fine to remove all those awful Ads from the sidebar — but remember the good sidebar stuff like links to auto-track FedEx and UPS and such are still there when the email is appropriate. That was a welcome delight.
    I’m with you on the Google Pages issue. You can’t use a favorite icon, you can’t get sophisticated HTML loaded and the lack of direct FTP is frustration.
    Let us know what you think after you move up to the Premier Edition!