Dear Google: Talk to us

Dear Google:

A couple of weeks ago, my Mac’s Calendar app started to go crazy. Duplicate events littered my display. Multiple reminders started popping up in long columns on my screen. As I clicked to dismiss them, another swarm would surface. It was like playing Whack-a-Mole.

It turns out I was not alone.

Google Calendars, which we use to manage our shared events around here, was introducing a new syncing system and let’s say there were (are) still a few bugs. Big, hairy ones with long feelers and self-satisfied smirks on their mandibles.

And there were a LOT of angry customers on the Forums talking about this. The rants started escalating, the rhetoric was flying. Everyone was getting more and more irritated.

Fortunately Google was actually listening. Two of your customer service folks were monitoring the web and took the time just to say, “Hey, we know about it and we’re sorry. We’re working on it. Hang in there.” Suddenly the problems seemed less severe and the rabble (us) were calmed.

There’s a huge lesson to be learned here — for Google and all of us. Communication works. When Katherine and Alice posted on the forum, even if they said “We’re not sure when this is going to be done” we knew someone was listening and we weren’t just baying at each other. It calmed things down and bought Google a little more time. As huge as your system is, I can imagine teams of coders working frantically at their cubicles to fix this and not really knowing how long it will take. But keeping us up to speed as they progress toward a fix is truly helpful.

We like Google and we like our Macs, and we’re not a bunch of unreasonable jerks. But when things go wrong, it’s damned annoying. To paraphrase Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, “We’re working here!” We don’t want, can’t afford, to have our day interrupted constantly. We just want to get back to our lives.

So, Google (Alice and Katherine, I’m talking to you), keep on keeping us in the loop. And I’ll try to remember to do the same with my own clients. Thanks.

(Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment.)

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2 thoughts on “Dear Google: Talk to us

  1. Sounds placating at best to me because I think their priority and purpose for buying more time, by communicating, is separating from “tracking” everything we do and everywhere we go electronically!!! We are mostly algorithms Uncle Josh %%5822#***^ (I think this is your algorithm number?)

    • I have no doubt that Google’s purpose is to track as much as possible and sell the info to the highest-paying advertiser. I don’t think that’s Katherine and Alice’s personal goal, though, and I was more interested in how just a little acknowledgement — even if you can’t solve the problem right then — can calm an angry throng. (If they don’t solve the problem soon, though, they’ll lose a lot of Mac users. Do they care? We’ll see…)

      And yes, that’s my algorithm number, except you’re off by one digit. I’m not telling which one. 🙂

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