Google Places Failure

I am usually not one to rant about things that frustrate me but I would like to relate my recent experience trying to maintain a Google Places account. I have used the Places service many times to create profiles for business as part of an overall marketing strategy. It was not until I needed to edit the listing for our customer that I noticed some really infuriating flaws with the platform.

Google Rant

Google places only allows you to edit the listing with the account used to sign up. What if you want someone else (like your SEO) to edit your listing? If you happened to sign up with your personal Gmail account, then you are effectively granting access to all of your mail. Most people are honorable, but do you really want to take that chance? Google absolutely needs to let the owner assign other administrators with separate login IDs.

In this case, the client did not feel comfortable, granting access to his Gmail account in order to edit his Places listing. Since the client was not very technically savvy, I informed him that the only other option was to delete the listing and let me recreate it with a new Gmail account that would only be used to maintain the listing. Not only is this time consuming for us as a business, it is also a waste of the clients money.

I told our client that I would provide a small video clip showing him the process to make it easier for him to delete the listing. After several attempts to show an easy way to do so, I finally gave up. Eventually I found where to go to delete the listing, but only after jumping through hoops and being led around in circles for way too long.

My question to Google is this: If it took someone like me who is quite technically savvy no end of frustration to do something this simple, then how is the average user going to fare when editing their listings and edit other Google properties they belong to?

Granted not all Google products are as inept, but they seem to have neglected one of the most important things; they need to make things intuitive and easy to use for the end-users. I get the feeling that the employees of Google are trapped in a techie biosphere of their own design and have forgotten how to make the services appeal to the masses and to make them as intuitive as possible.

I refer you to this recent rant from Michael Gray’s blog post titled: The Epic Failure of Google+ in which he expresses his dislike for Google+ and Google’s practices. He describes the search giant as follows:

In the past, I’ve not been shy about hiding my dislike for some of Google’s practices. In fact, I’ve called them everything from an arrogant bully to an incestuous circle jerk, trapped in a filter bubble world . But recently I’ve been reading all of the press and counter press about how Google+ is growing faster than the waistline of your average McDonald’s customer along with the incessant blood sucking social media guru’s top ten posts about how to leverage Google+ for everything from attention, mindshare, links, SEO, and Fritos covered with caviar. It’s all a bunch of BS: Google plus is doomed to fail. The only people too blind to see it are the techno-weenies, social media charlatans, or any other clueless half wits who think getting on the homepage of techmeme is a meaningful goal worth achieving.

I have never been one to be overly concerned about the way Google operates and have even advocated on their behalf. But combined with the epic failure of Google+, I have to agree with Mr. Gray. Unless Google can really turn this all around, we will soon be witness to the imminent demise of yet another Google property.

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