Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's a whole new me! But with the same low threshold for annoyance.

Usually I’m impressed with the way Google does things. Even though they’re slowly taking over the world, they seem to do it by being extremely useful, but Google Accounts – the thing that provides the backbone for all their other services – seems to be the stupidest system ever invented.

I’ve been using the “wrong” email address for most of my Google services for years, but once I signed up for AdWords and suddenly started receiving all sorts of business notifications in the email inbox I reserve for friendly communication, I decided it was time to fix things.

It was hard. After struggling for a while with the crazy interface that kept sending me back and forth between AdWords and Google Accounts, I eventually decided it was time to click the Help button. It was actually a link. I didn’t let that stand in my way.

What did stand in my way was the fact that help wasn’t helpful. It basically told me you can change your account address any time, as long as it’s not a Gmail address. If it is a Gmail address (which mine is), then you’re out of luck. Sorry! Too bad! Now what kind of nonsense is this--where an entity (such as Google) actually makes things harder for the people that use its other services!? They’re supposed to treat me better because I’m a loyal (ahem, freeloading) Gmail customer!

Well, humph, I thought. Perhaps Google has just made an honest mistake, and will help me out if I approach them through the appropriate channels and call them stupid. I thought this plan was coming to fruition when I found a link to “Contacting Us.” Alas, when I followed the link, I was presented with an impressively worthless set of options. First, I was invited to look in the Help Center. Well, since I’d just come from there, I rejected that choice.

Then, to my great joy, I read that if I “have a great idea or suggestion,” I should let them know! “We enthusiastically read and tally all your suggestions,” Google gushed at me from the web page. I clicked on the link, prepared to inform them that it was cruel and unusual to send me AdWords notifications where I’m expecting emails of adoration from my admiring fans. Instead, I was presented with four pre-written suggestions. If any of them happened to be the feature that I actually wanted Google to implement, I could then click the “Suggest it!” button to its right. Google apparently has some forward-thinking notion of the meaning of “suggest.” Why waste people’s time by making them come up with suggestions on their own? Let’s save them the work by anticipating all four of the things that they might conceivably want to suggest, and let them choose from among those options!

Well, I did click one of the buttons, just because the feature seemed like it might be useful in the future, but I returned to the previous page still clinging to the archaic belief that I might have an idea I might have to explain. Perhaps I could explain it in a forum! How fortunate that the next option on the list was “post your question to the Help Group!”

The Help Group was conveniently available in the following languages: 한국어, Türkçe, Nederlands, polski, Русский, Français, Deutsch, Italiano, Español, Português (Portugal)‎, Português (Brasil)‎. No, not English. How silly for Google to have a help forum available in the language spoken at its corporate headquarters!

Well, below that were some options for Contacting Support, and there I saw the Holy Grail that I had been seeking! “I cannot change the email address on my account”! I clicked on it and the first question was, “Did you enter the correct email address?” This did not bode well. Google was already assuming that (1) I had actually been given an option to enter an email address and (2) I am stupid. Following gamely along this path did not yield results, and eventually I gave up.

This story may have a happy ending. I have opened a new Google Account, added it to as many services as I can, and granted it administrative access. I am in the process of trying to remove that access from my personal account wherever possible. So I'm mainly posting this entry to find out if my attempt at changing my Blogger sign in was effective. I sure hope so. Still, it woulda been a lot nicer if Google would have just let me choose a different address to receive emails.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.