Love it or hate it, Google is here to stay but that doesn't mean they live up to their motto of “Don't Be Evil” (DBE). Like anything in the real world, Google is driven by profit. Thankfully most of what pushes Google forward and marking it as top dog is it's adherence to science, math and automation. Well that's where the fun ends and the trouble begins.
See, as much as we praise the all mighty Google for its minimalist designs, sporty interfaces and efficient interfaces is lacks the one thing which only Apple has managed to capture in design: consistency.
I use Google's services for a lot of things, but that doesn't mean I don't take everything they say with a grain of salt nor does it mean I wave their flag. On the contrary I inspect every move they make under a magnifying glass. Simply said: Google is NOT your friend. It's a business. I have many problems with it, but there is one nagging thorn in my side about Google's products and services: each and every product ‘tries' to look and feel the same and yet they each have buttons in different places, different color schemes and even different work flow depending on ‘who' you are (I'll get more to the ‘who' a bit later).
Let's start with the best known Google interface: Google Search. Also check the bottom of the post of a quick preview of Google brand new Keyword Tool Beta!
Google search is probably the most powerful publicly accessible search engine in the world. The search in and of itself is great, I love it. It's the interface I have a problem with. I have a US based Google account with all setting specifically set to English. So, that means I get 99% English only results and my interface should be in English when I'm outside of the USA right? Sadly it's not as easy as that. While logged into my US account, here is what I get when my type http://www.google.com into the address bar: http://www.google.pl
Also the interface is all in Polish. Why o why is my English account all in Polish? iGoogle has the exact same issue. Thankfully I know a bit of Polish so I can navigate it and set it to English … again … and again … and again. What gives?
As a marketer, this means I can't use the interface as effectively because I don't understand half of what written! Thankfully Gmail is still in all English, at least I still get my mail. What's worse though, is that EVEN though my US based, set for US English and everything it get localized results.
This I understand to a point. They need and want localized result for the country your currently in. I get it! Really I do … if I weren't logged into my US based account. 99% of things I, as an American, search for are English sites and I want US based results. Most of my marketing is to the USA and all my research is based on it to.
This problem is just the tip of the iceberg. Another issue came up recently when I was using Google Chrome to access the awesome Google Keyword Tool: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal We all know it looks like this:
That's all fine and dandy and I rather like this interface. It works. Googles new BETA keyword interface is completely different. I know change is always a shock, just like when they changed the Adword interface, but this is just ridiculous. Of course, I give them some leeway on the ‘look' of the thing since it is ‘beta' (then again so is Gmail). The new look COMPLETELY changes everything around to the point where there is no consitency along any Google services anymore:
Menu has jumped from the right to the left and even the color scheme is different than anything before (And it's inconsistent at the moment too). Don't get me wrong, I kinda like the new interface. It works faster, seems sleeker and works a bit better … except they messed up again.
As a internet marketer I there are times when I was JUST the keywords. The new interface doesn't allow for that. You either get all, or nothing. End of the world? No. But it sure is a pain in the butt. Though I have to mention a AWESOME great feature of the new interface: complete control over localized search result! If you look at the top left area of the Beta image you can see the search results I picked are location based! So that really is cool!
Though again, not consistent since no other Google interface has that option really (unless you dig around a bit).
As a marketer it really is getting hard to get any real information about of Google in any consistent fashion. It's aggravating and annoying and I REALLY wish Google would take a lesson from Apple in consistent UI design.
One quick note which is a problem for me as a internet marketer: Google does not allow you to data mine their data at all. Which is a pain, since there are times where I would love to compile some statistical data on the search results (and trends) to fine tune my marketing. Well, the only way around around is proxies, bleh … so much for Google D.B.E. policy (and it's not consistent either!)
Let me know what you guys think in the comment. Do you have any other Google inconsistency problems?