The decisions Google makes don't normally annoy me, except in small geeky ways that most people would pfft at, and you may well pfft at me now but they are seriously annoying me now.
On one hand we have the recent integration of Buzz into Gmail and Google Reader. The upshot being:
- You cannot disable Buzz without disabling your carefully tended Google Profile.
- Because you cannot disable Buzz, you end up slowly accruing followers - you could ignore them, but you start to look like an ass.
- So you follow back and this breaks Google Reader.
- So the choice is between using Google Reader OR Google Buzz to read content from others. Google Buzz is so tightly integrated with Google Reader that I can only choose one or the other. There is no way I can see to effectively and simply use both at the same time.
But then on the other hand:
- Nothing looks the same as anything else - the interfaces of some products have similar elements, but there's no universally consistent theme to the products.
- Google Translate (which is so nicely integrated into Google Reader) is not integrated into Buzz, so all the non-english-speaking people I follow are just so much noise to me.
- Google Bookmarks (which I used to use a great deal) now houses the annotations you make to Google results (starring results and so on) but
- Google Chrome doesn't use Google Bookmarks to store your bookmarks (!?) it uses Google Docs.
- On top of that, I am yet to be able to actually produce a two-way sync across Chrome at home and at work.
So riddle me this Google: why are some products tightly integrated - inextricably so - while others barely work in ways that would make absolute sense to the user? Normally I can see where you're going with things - heck, I write a site just about Google Wave - but in these couple of cases, it seems you're making decisions not based on what's best for the user, but forging ahead with integration only when it will push a product that you deem worth your time. No one was clamoring for Buzz. They thought it would be nice if Google entered the Social Networking space, but not at the expense of your other products. But users have been asking for years for tighter integration of products that matter to them - translate, bookmarks, the defunct notebook, docs and calendar.
I realise these are all different teams of people. I realise they're all working as hard as they can on what they're doing. But Google the Company needs to stop occasionally and say "Maybe we need to focus on fixing and integrating what we already offer before we introduce this new shiny toy".
Google, you have a lot of excellent products - please pay them some attention occasionally and get them talking to each other.