Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I like Google. Well, most of the time. But I do have my reservations about them. No so much the company and what they're accomplishing, but their services and customer support, if you can call the latter support, which is one point of my essay here. So, what's my beef with Google?

First, why do they advertise some services but forget to tell you in the fine print that some of the services aren't available yet, and they won't say when they will be available. I'm trying to use their document server and wanted to post some PDF files for everyone to see. They're part of my Mt. Rainier NP photography guide, namely about the first USGS topographic map of the NP produced in 1915.

I found in the USGS archives, or better yet, they found and digitized copies of reports of the original surveys to and in the NP, the primary traverse lines and the triangulation to develop the topography in the map. I'm working on translating the informaiton into maps (and yes, Google maps), but I wanted to make the files pubic (and they are public domain and not currently available elsewhere).

Then I discovered Google's document server doesn't yet serve PDF files. The software simply won't accomodate it. And to discover this I had to explore the support groups and Google's many help pages where they finally state "This feature isn't currently available for PDF's."). Gee, thanks. And now I wait.

Second, their customer support, or the lack of it. Have you noticed there is no on-line e-mall addresses or telephone numbers to ask Google anything? Even when you have legitimate problems or questions about their Website, there is no one to contact. Literally no one.

Why? They're too busy? They don't care? They don't want to spend the little money from their profits to be customer friendly?

I scratch my head wondering. I can understand they would be inundated with e-mails and phone calls, and where do you optimize the pros and cons? That's a tough question, but I do know one thing. Something is better than nothing. At least with this issue.

But then they do something, some employees read and respond to the user support groups and forums. But it's still inadequate to me. I had to scrounge through many posts to find my answer and then look through the help to find the same answer. But why? When an e-mail response would have simply told me it's not ready yet.

Third, which really isn't a gripe but a comment. Their use of third party maps. I like their map server, obviously since I use it a lot for the photo guide. It's just the third parties aren't always the swiftest at updating or enhancing them, especially outside of populated areas. I would think Google could use some diplomacy to help?

Anyway, that's it. After griping about their Picasa image server and new document server, I'm done. I still like them, but maybe they could think a little more about customer support?

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