Recently in “Can We Trust Google?” (https://lauren.vortex.com/2018/12/10/can-we-trust-google), I explored the question of whether Google should be considered to be a reliable partner to consumers or businesses, given the manner in which Google all too frequently makes significant changes to their products without documenting associated user interface and other related issues appropriately.
Even worse, Google has a long history of leaving users out in the cold when Google abruptly decides to kill products, often with inadequate or questionable claimed justifications.
Google has taken such actions again and again, most recently with the consumer version of Google+ — whose users represent among Google’s most loyal fans. Today, Google announced that G+ APIs will start to break in January — causing vast numbers of active sites and archives which depend on them for various display elements (including some of my own sites) to turn into graphical garbage without significant and time-consuming modifications.
Meanwhile, Google is speeding ahead with their total shutdown of consumer G+, on their new accelerated schedule that suddenly took months off of their originally announced rapid shutdown timetable.
If this all isn’t enough of a kick in the teeth to Google fans, Google continues extolling the virtues of the new G+ features that they plan for enterprises — for businesses — which apparently will be continuing and expanding even as the consumer side is liquidated.
But I wonder how long enterprise G+ will actually last? So many business people have contacted me noting that they no longer are willing to entrust long-term or mission critical applications to Google, because they just don’t trust that Google can be depended upon to maintain products into the foreseeable future. These entrepreneurs fear that they’re going to end up being ground up in the garbage disposal just like Google’s consumer users so often are, when Google products are pulled out from under them.
This goes far beyond Google+. These issues permeate the way Google treats both consumer and business users — very much as if they were disposable commodities, where only the largest demographic groups mattered at all.
I am a tremendous fan of Google and Googlers. But I’m forced to agree that at present it’s difficult to recommend Google as a stable resource for businesses that need to plan further than relatively short periods into the future.
For business planning purposes, all of that great Google technology is effectively worthless if you can’t depend on it being stable and still being available even a few short years from now.
For all the many faults of firms like Microsoft and Amazon — and I’m no friend of either — both of them seem to have learned that businesses need stability above all — a lesson that Google still doesn’t seem to have really internalized.
Both Amazon and Microsoft seem to understand that the ways in which you treat the users of your consumer products will reflect mightily on business’ decisions about adopting your enterprise products and services. For all of their vast technological expertise, Google seems utterly clueless regarding this important fact.
When I mentioned recently that I still believed it possible for Google to turn this situation around, I received a bunch of responses from readers suggesting that I was wrong, that Google will never make the kinds of changes that would truly be necessary.
I will continue to try help folks with Google-related issues to the maximal extent that I can. But I sure hope that my optimistic view regarding Google’s ability to change isn’t proven to be painfully incorrect in the end.