As long as your only interaction with Google doesn’t leave omnipresent search line – all is good. However beyond that there is suddenly plenty of negative feedback, stories of valuable data (or money) lost and general anxious attitude.
So had Google became monster in disguise? Of course not. But there are serious reasons why it may look like one.
Growth critical points
A lot of issues are inevitable when company grows. Success is good but is setting up for future problems as well.
When company provides multiply services to millions of users it WILL have problems. The only variables are:
- how many;
- how often;
- how serious.
It is safe to conclude that Google does not have too many huge meltdowns. On other hand even tiny meltdown on Google scale affects a lot of people.
Practical limit to support
- If you email me about some issue with page of this blog I will immediately do my best to fix it and thank you for it.
- If you email Google about issue with page of theirs… Well, good luck with that.
Further down the road of enlarging and some time after passing point of failures by statistics there is spot where it becomes unreasonable to do your best with every single issue.
Stuff gets simplified and automated. It works faster, better and cheaper. And when it screws up then whoever suffers is discarded as reasonable side-effect.
Perception critical points
There are objective reasons for failure and there are subjective reasons for how those failures are covered and perceived.
Not seeing big picture
People take their opinion as ultimate truth. While they only see tiny and dusty corner of what is actually going on. Even hundreds and thousands of people gathered together and shouting on some forum about problem is tiny fraction of crowd using Google services.
It is good and important to be vocal. It is wrong to mistake expressing opinion for having private and exclusive access to ultimate truth.
Dependence on independent
Some Google services like AdSense or Checkout make people directly dependent from Google in financial way. Relying on company on which you can’t possibly have any leverage and which wouldn’t even notice if you vote with legs and leave is hardly good idea.
When money are added into equation it makes people much more sensitive and faster to overreact. See above point about automation and this is easy recipe for small but numerous disasters.
Sometimes it IS evil
Naturally some stuff Google does is done to benefit Google exclusively. I had no intention to compose list of such for this post so I’ll name contributing to censorship and forcing rules on webmasters (under misleading disguise of benefit) as most known examples.
Google is a business. Business tends to weight good against profit.
Now take out Google and fit any other large company in this post. Nothing will change.
I think we should accept that margin of evil is inevitable in large companies.
- make sure your data is not locked in (open formats, backup);
- be careful with your money (keep them away from places that might poof);
- smile and be glad that those companies are not into slavery.