I’ve been writing for probably a decade about how bad Google’s GUI is for Google Analytics, Google Apps, and countless of their other properties—not to mention their multiple social media network attempts, like Google+ and Wave.
Of course today they had a massive outage across multiple services.
Back then it was super annoying, but kind of ok. They’re a hardcore engineering group, and their backend services are without equal.
But lately it’s just becoming too much.
- Even Gmail is a cesspool at this point. Nobody would ever design a webmail interface like that, starting from scratch.
- What happened to Google Docs? Why does it not look and behave more like Notion, or Quip, or any of the other alternatives that made progress in the last 5-10 years?
- What college course do I take to manage a Google Analytics property?
Google just rolled out Google Analytics 4—I think—and the internet is full of people asking the same question I am.
Is this a real rollout?
They have a button that says, “Click here to upgrade to GA4”, but all it does is have you create a new property, which I guess you link to with your old one.
This immediately resulted in my hits getting counted twice when I did it, and the new analytics interface didn’t have any of my old data. So it really wasn’t an upgrade. It was the creation of a new one. I thought it had to be me being dense, but then saw that the whole internet was saying the same thing.
Google DNS management is probably the cleanest interface I can think of.
But that’s just one example of dozens, and the examples spread across all their various properties.
The real question
My question is simple: how the hell is this possible?
I get it 10 years ago. But then they came out with the new design language. Materialize, or whatever it was. Cool story, and cool visuals.
But it’s not about the graphics, it’s about the experience.
- How can you be sitting on billions of dollars and be unable to hire product managers that can create usable interfaces?
- How can you run Gmail on an interface that’s tangibly worse than anything else out there?
- How can you let Google Docs get completely obsoleted by startups?
I’ve heard people say that Google has become the new Microsoft, or the new Oracle, but damn—at least Microsoft is innovating. At least Oracle has a sailing team, or whatever else they do.
I’m being emotional at this point.
Google, you are made out of money. Fix your fucking interfaces.
Focus on the experience. Focus on simplicity. And use navigation language that’s similar across your various properties, so that I’ll know what to do whether I’m managing my Apps account, or my domains, or my Analytics.
You guys are awesome at so many things. Make the commitment to fix how we interact with them.