Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Problems in Google-land: Gmail, Blogger and do you really trust Web 2.0?

Last week a bad update broke Google's BlogThis! tool. It took them a week to fix it, and there was never any official notification of the problem, though Google's support people did post in response to numerous help group complaints.

This week Gmail's spam filter is malfunctioning. The "whitelist" functionality is broken and it's miscategorizing email. I tried to post about this on the Gmail Group but the "problem" group is down (really, I'm not joking, they're out of order). Users who get large volumes of spam will inevitably lose email in the mess.

Google has not provided any notification on any blog, or on their help page, of the Gmail malfunction. (They did provide notification us that the Gmail Help Group is down, but that's rather obvious.)

It's the failure to notify, more than the bugs, that really concerns me. Google is not treating their customers respectfully.

The foundation of "Web 2.0" apps (what we once called "application service provider") is trust in the service provider. The "web 2.0" model doesn't need to be perfect -- all software has bugs and local hard drives fail, so traditional "owned" software models have their own problems. The "web 2.0" model does, however, require trust, and trust requires respect.

If Google can't respect their customers, who can? What does this say about all the other web 2.0 services that we increasingly rely upon?

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