People often ask me why I’m so down on Android, and I’ve got a great example for you.
I use a Google service called Pagespeed, which is basically their CDN for speeding up websites. It’s quite excellent, like many Google services.
The problem is in how it’s managed.
For years I’ve been using one particular portal, shown below.
First off, getting to it made no sense whatsoever. There isn’t really one way to manage your various services with Google. They’re all over the place, with multiple URLs, and multiple ways to get there.
You basically bookmark and hope things don’t change.
But anyway, you see how that service looked, which wasn’t bad but didn’t really fit with a unified management system. So it was highly functional, but felt massively ad-hoc and isolated.
No biggie. Like I said, I’m used to it.
But then I get this message that you see in the screenshot. They’re evidently upgrading to a new console, and they want me to try it out.
So I click on it and it takes me here:
I land there, all excited to be on something unified, and start clicking around.
Hmm, I don’t see the Pagespeed service there. Clicking. Clicking. Clicking.
I spend like 10 minutes hunting for the Pagespeed service within this “new and improved” console, only to get pissed off and give up. And sure enough, this must be a common problem because anyone in that interface has a bar at the top that allows you to go back to the old way.
Here’s the problem: that was like two years ago. I’ve been going back and forth, checking to see if the new interface was any less non-functional, like once a week for two years.
As of today, when you click to go into that new console it still doesn’t take you to Pagespeed management, when you click into it from your Pagespeed interface.
A culture of ad-hoc and temporary
My issue is that this is pervasive throughout Google’s services. They just decided one day to kill Google Reader. Boom. Gone.
They have their management interfaces strewn about like high school projects under various domains and URLs and consoles.
Then you have Google+. This was the thing that was supposed to be the future of everything, and now, after it failed as I predicted, it’s becoming just kind of a…thing. Nobody really knows what it is.
In short, everything with Google feels transient and disorganized. It feels like the entire services group, which makes PHENOMENAL stuff, is just trying out cool ideas and seeing what happens.
To some degree I admire that. And I accept it. And it’s good.
But they’ve done a poor job at isolating that part of their efforts from their customer-facing service layer. They don’t realize how poorly their services feel to people who value design, and consistency, and confidence.
So this is why I won’t use an Android phone. It feels the exact same way to me. They’re doing brilliant stuff. Seriously. Google Now is still superior to Siri in my mind, and this no-doubt comes from their willingness to innovate and tinker.
But with Apple I get a consistent presentation of quality, in a way that respects design principles. This, more importantly than anything, lets me know that when I use something from Apple it’s going to be a good experience. Because I know they care about that. It’s their priority.
With Google they have great priorities too, but they’re simply not aligned with mine when it comes to consumer products.
That’s why I use Apple.