Monday, July 5, 2010

Google’s Promotion to Incompetence (a Rare Rambling Rant)

I remember back many years ago when I first heard of Google.  The new search engine that crawled the Web so you don’t have to.  I was using altavista to do my searches at the time, but, I was getting tired of spelling Altavista all the time, so I gave Google a try.

It was friendly, accurate, and intuitive.  Three of my favorite things.  These guys apparently knew how to write a database and knew how to search it in a speedy manner.  The results were displayed in an easy to read format and they didn’t allow “pop ups”.

Three or four years ago, I don’t remember exactly when, I decided to create a Google account where I could possibly make some extra money on my website using their advertisers.  This is called adsense.  It seemed like a nice idea.  I created my account using my digigar email address and all was right with the world.  I gave them my checking account information so they could directly deposit any funds I may or may not have coming my way and then I discovered I could also use Google for shopping.  Since they already had my banking information anyway, I just added a credit card and now when I see something online I want to buy, I can use my Google account for that too!  This Google account was becoming a wonderful commodity.

A little over two years ago, I decided to start a blog.  Can you believe it?  Google hosts blogs as well!  So, of course, I used Google for my blog hosting service.  It already had all my account information linked to it, so now my old digigar account has my bank accounts for adsense and my blog accounts.  It even linked the two together so my blog automatically links to my adsense!

My daughter was over at my house a while back and she said, “Do you think I could get a gmail account?”  I figured why not.  Google is easy to use and gmail is a Google product (thus the g before the mail).

Somehow they managed to let her associate her gmail account with my digigar account and now my digigar account is permanently associated with her gmail account even though I deleted her gmail account.  That was pretty darn irritating, but I figured I’d never want a gmail account anyway, so I’ll just live with it.

Then a few weeks ago, I got an Android based phone.  You’ll never believe who makes the Android operating system.  You guessed it!  Google!  And thus they have reached the pinnacle of incompetence.

You pay $100, $200, $500+ for a new phone because you can download thousands of free applications for it because of the Android OS.  But, in order to download any of these apps, you must have a Google Account.  But not just any Google account will do.  It must be associated with a gmail address.

If you’ve been following along, you’ll realize that this puts me in a rather special kind of bind.  All of Google’s intuitive, friendly, database savvy has apparently been thrown out the window.  There is no way they can remove my daughter’s gmail account information from my Google account (even though I disabled my daughter’s gmail account).  If I want to create an account for my phone, I must create a whole new account.

Well, I don’t want a whole new account.  My old account works fine and it’s associated with all my logins.  All of my bookmarks are associated with my digigar account.  Everything I do is associated with my digigar account.  I want my phone to be associated with that account as well.  The bastards at Google are such big database experts that they can’t make this happen.  I’m thinking I can no longer trust them to bring me accurate information on my web searches because they can’t even fix a simple data association with my account.

Furthermore, they’ve become so proud of themselves that they offer no way to contact their customer support.  Everything is automated.  You can spend 45 minutes filling out forms to be told, “Sorry, you can’t do that”.

Another funny tidbit.  I finally gave in and signed up with a new Google account with gmail so that I could use my new phone.  I discovered today that I could “permanently” delete my daughter’s gmail account, so I did.  Then, I figured, I’d be able to associate my new gmail account with my digigar account (thus fixing all problems).  Back to customer support.  Their self-help page says, you can only associate a “new” gmail account with your Google account.  That’s fine, I tell myself.  I’ll delete my gmail account associated with my phone since I never use it, then re-create it in my Google account.

In the re-creation process, my Google account tells me that my account is already linked to a gmail account and it can’t be linked to another one.  I just permanently deleted the gmail account it was linked to!  If you are going to give me automated help  at least don’t make it a complete moron.

Now, my phone quit working.  It’s always got a little exclamation mark in the top left corner because it can’t access my gmail account.  I figure I’ll re-create my gmail account that I deleted to start this experiment.  It won’t let me do that either.  It tells me the username is already taken.  It’s not already taken.  I just deleted it!

To add insult to injury, I can’t change the account on my phone without wiping the phone memory.  How stupid is that?  Thus, the title of my blog.  Google has promoted itself into complete incompetence.

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