Friday, July 12, 2013

"Great, kid! Don't get cocky!"

I've memorized the first Star Wars film's most memorable lines, mainly so I could eventually pull one of them out for a blog post.

That line could very, very easily be spoken to Google right about now.  They have not only an army of loyal Fandroids that leap to their defense whenever they decide to be stupid, but they themselves tend to leap to their own defense when they do something stupid.

So, here's what Google's done so far that has not made any friends among the non-Fandroids that know about Google: 1) Shut down Google Reader as of July 1st, destroying the way we look at RSS and the Web in the process, 2) They've come up with the most ridiculous idea for wearable computing I've ever seen in Google Glass, and 3) They made a gigantic mistake by allowing Google+'s "+1s" to be publicly viewable BY DEFAULT in anyone's Google+ News Feed.  Who decided that ridiculously dumb outcome?

Maybe it's just me, but Google has really gotten cocky recently.  Their actions of late are a huge middle finger to anyone who cares about security, privacy, and usability on the Internet.  Their Android "security" is a joke, they don't give a flip if you +1 something, then it shows up on someone else's Google+ feed, and then that person culls you from their circles.  And don't get me started on how much they've already destroyed the Web with the recent killing off of Google Reader.

I've tried to use Android, really I have, but there are three things that just make me think twice about purchasing any more Android devices: First, the serious device fragmentation and the fact that you can't even upgrade your device to the latest Android OS without rooting your device. Second, the "vast customization options" that everybody and their mother crows about with regard to Android that are nowhere to be found, and worse I could not even find any documentation on.  And third, devices that are just UGLY as sin.  (Including, I wish I was kidding, a smartphone squished into a point-&-shoot camera from Samsung... my God that looks ugly...)

I dunno, maybe I'm either a 27-year-old Luddite, a wimp about "true" technology, or both, but I have not had any bad experiences at all with any Apple products, and my experiences with Microsoft products of recent haven't been exactly awful.

However, Google's products have been a lot more hit-or-miss in terms of how my experiences have been.  Google+ has largely been a positive experience, I had no trouble at all with Google Reader before they decided to terminate it, YouTube has been great (and has given me some of my favorite friends these days), and Gmail is okay-to-middling if they would only stop screwing around with the interface to "better integrate it with Google+", which is, frankly, painful at best.  Google can do integration rather well, but they cannot design a proper user interface to save their lives.  Design has nothing to do with how it LOOKS, but how it WORKS.

So, Google has a great-LOOKING operating system in Android... but how it works, I still have no idea how they put an OS that looks good but is functionally bare out there.  Also, Google still has not stepped up to the plate and offered free Android security apps so that you have NO EXCUSE not to run antiviruses, firewalls and other security apps on your phone or tablet... if you believe in doing that, which I do not.