I used to be a great fan of Google! Google Books, Google Finance, Google Maps, Google News, Google Search, Google Chrome, even the Google Groups Usenet archive — what’s not to love?
One-by-one the Google services have disappointed me. Google News annoyed by insisting on using the Buddhist calendar(*), as do most of the Google services lately, but I’ve no idea how News behaves now. When someone (at SDMB?) recommended theoldgnews.com I immediately changed my bookmark and haven’t looked back.
- I tell Google I prefer English every chance I get, but it doesn’t listen. I use the special incantations to set the special cookies when someone divulges the magic. Nope: still Buddhist calendar. Yes, I know subtracting 543 gives me Anno Domini, but I still find it annoying. No, I don’t forbid Google’s cookie setting. And I certainly will never clear Google’s cookies again — that was a total disaster when I accidentally did that several years ago.
Google Finance used to be 20 times as good as any other free stock news/charting on the web, but it barely exists now. (Anybody know the best replacement? Or should I log in to my broker every time I want to look at a stock graph?)
Google Maps was wonderful in the beginning but got worse and worse. I switched to mappingsupport.com, better than Google Maps ever was, but it went away. What’s the best mapper now? (Can’t blame Google for putting mappingsupport out of business. It was taking Google’s free data and presenting it in a friendly way!)
But through all these annoyances, I still loved my Google Gmail!
Today I needed to click a business URL in an email someone had forwarded me nine months ago. It was a dead-end — it led to a Google URL “shortcut” which seemed to have expired. No mention of the original URL of the business I needed to contact.
Now, who could ever blame Google for repacing the URL’s in my email with URL’s that point to Google instead? Why, if they can’t easily see which websites I’m going to besides their own, how could they compete with Facebook or the NSA? (For all I know, these Google URLs don’t just transfer, but stick themselves in as middleman so they can monitor my passwords, billing info, what I’m buying.) Gmail is free; I’d be ungrateful if I weren’t happy to unknowingly share secrets with them.
And I’d have never known Google had been doing this … except that the old e-mail I retrieved was amnost a year old and the Google transfer URL had apparently expired. (Fortunately ‘View Original Message’ did actually show the original message, so I was able to find the original URL that way.)
BTW, I use Gmail’s Basic View. Does everyone else use Standard View? Can you even get to Basic View if you wanted to? When the mandatory shift to Standard was instituted several years ago, I needed weird gyrations to get back to Basic.
I suppose one of the hyperlibertarians will be along to proclaim the virtues of hypercapitalism and say that if enough people agreed with me, a start-up named Froogle or such would be along to give us what we want. Wrong again; Google has so much infrastructure and power now, it’s a monopoly the likes of which the world has never seen.
ETA: Google Search also suddenly got much worse several weeks ago. Googling single words used to present definition or the Wiki page for that word. But now, if that word maps to any commercial product, the first page is all ads etc. for that product. Did everyone notice?