Posted July 16, 2010 9:19 am by with 14 comments

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I have a question for you.

Do you think Google is getting sloppy?

By that, I mean, does it seem like Google is pushing new products and updates out the door without first conducting in-depth testing and customer feedback?

Exhibit A: Google Buzz. Turns out, it was pushed live without the normal rigorous testing…and Google paid the price.

Exhibit B: Google decides to mimic Bing’s background images…then quickly pulls the feature.

And, Exhibit C: After launching a complete overhaul to Google News, the search giant is now having to backtrack some–making changes in response to the many complaints:

..some of you wrote in to say you missed certain aspects of the previous design, such as the ability to see results grouped by section (U.S., Business, etc.) in two columns.

At Google, we’re all about launching and iterating, so we’ve been making improvements to the design in response to your feedback. For example, we’re now showing the entire cluster of articles for each story, rather than expanding the cluster when you hover your mouse over it. We’ve given you the ability to hide the weather forecast from your local news section. We made the option to switch between List view and Section view more obvious.

Of course, you could argue that Google is merely doing a great job of listening to the feedback from its customers. And, that is true. But, it seems to me that Google’s customers are doing a lot more complaining these days.

Either we’ve raised our expectations of Google, or Google has lowered its standards.

What do you think?

  • I would say both with regard to standards and expectations.

    Google seems to be experiencing something that not many companies even get to the position to do so. They have set the bar high through years of doing things better than most but they are pressured by our hyper-sensitive “gotta have everything RIGHT NOW!” culture. They even try to respond to that culture (which most simply can’t).

    Something’s gotta give, right?

    • Hmmm, can we think of any other company [Apple] with the same problem? 😉

      • I thought of Apple too.

        It really seems to be a combination of an increasingly high expectation of high quality products at a rapid pace. People don’t want to wait for the product to undergo all the rigorous testing required, but they same quality that can only be provided through that rigorous testing.

      • On the other hand, while both companies appear to have the same problem, you have to give Google credit where credit is due for listening and acting on customer feedback. Apple hasn’t really made much of an attempt with that. Long-run I think that really could bit them in the ass.

        • You are right on in word and photo. My four years of business experience with Google apps including Ad Words, Analytics, the Business Center, Calendar, and Webmaster Tools has been consistent. Too many bugs, too little documentation and support, and perpetually in a Beta state. Their hiring practice of the best minds available makes this doubly disappointing. I expect more from them and if they’re going to give Microsoft and other giants incentive, they must improve their quality.

  • You say Google “paid the price” for Google Buzz, but I don’t think it was very “expensive.” Sure it will never be a money maker, but it probably wasn’t going to be, and they would have been fine with that. One can argue that it was expensive to pay the developers, but Google pays soooo many people that aren’t directly related to revenue already.

    • I would disagree. They missed their chance to launch a social network that rocked people’s socks off. That could have been a huge revenue generator for them. Now, it’s just mediocre at best.

  • Cynthia

    I think part of the problem is that Google is trying to be all things to all people. I think they need to think about the natural extensions of their products that worked such as gmail and Google maps – all great resources, and stay away from games, social interaction and heave forbid Google-bay auctions!

  • Brook

    I was forced to take part in google’s Beta of the new News (there was no opt out option) and hated it. From the complaints I read from my fellow Guinea Pigs, I was not alone. It surprised me that Google moved forward inpsite of the nearly universal disdain for the new format and I’m guessing they did so either from corporate pressure for something new or because they sunk so much developement time into it that they had to give it a try. Disregarding what the user wants and imposing their view of what’s needed onto the user – they haven’t slipped, they are realizing their dream of becoming Microsoft…

  • In general, I believe Google was used to being ahead of the curve but not find themselves slightly behind it. I used to think just about everything they came out with was forward thinking and technologically sound. But the items listed above are not. I’m not sure why, but they seem to have slept at the switch. That does not take much in Internet time. So I’m sure they can regain that edge again.

  • Samber

    Now we all know “May day update” was a desperate attempt by Jewoogle to boost their profits by sacrificing the search quality.

    Jewoogle search quality is going down constantly since last 2 years. I use wikipedia and bookmarking sites to more these days.

    All jewoogle algorithms has failed and they are hand ranking websites.

  • JP Seabury

    Sloppy, yes. Don’t forget the Nexus One, which Google is effectively shelving this week, oh, and that packet sniffing business..

    Everyone is falling over themselves to have Google set up highspeed broadband in their communities. I wonder if those same people are really paying attention to what Google does, and how well they do it.

  • Google is not getting sloppy. In my opinion, Google is experimenting like any other company would do. I do like the products they push out and sometimes wish they would keep some of them longer than an ephemeral minute.

  • The best and worst things about Google’s products is that they are very personal and widely used – rendering it nearly impossible for Google to provide effective customer service and still turn a profit.