Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Three mistakes of Google and now Wallet

Google is slowly going bonkers. I used to think that it listens to users feedback and complain. That it is a "people's company". They were the nice guys. "Do no evil". But in past few months, Google's been doing crazy stuff that is changing that perception. It is slowly adopting Apple's policies, I guess. My way or highway. Examples? Here -

1. Google Reader killed. They are planning to shut it down. Even after petition against it crossed 100,000 mark. (yes, yes; they are not obliged to honor that. But look at that number). People are not using it? Google is not able to make profit from it?? What-a-Joke. So many people are against it, but Google doesn't care. Reader's going down.

2. New compose window in GMail.
New GMail compose window. Screenshot from TNW

Instead of the full page compose window that we have now, GMail will have a mini chat-like mail compose window, as shown above, going forward. Formattings and other actions that you can do with one click right now, will need multiple clicks in the new window. And we are composing mails, not chatting for god's sake. Endless number of people opposed this. But Google is still going ahead with this.

As if not listening to user feedback wasn't enough, Google is now shoving its unpopular services down users' throats. Google has 2 services which not many people are eager to use. Google Wallet and Google+. Google being Google, is making those mandatory in couple of places; knowing that people can't up n leave Google.

3. Play store app review only if you have Google+. If you buy an app from play store and you want to leave a review/rating, you now gotta have a Google+ profile. No other login options. Create Google+ profile or diddly squat. Now, I am fine by this. This eliminates anonymous troll comments. But of course, if you force people for something, they are not gonna like it. Most people are seeing it as Google forcing them to inhabit the barren land, that is Google+. Many swore that they will never leave a review on play store. Meanwhile, Google is going "I don't care. ILuvIt".

And now Google Checkout Wallet.
Few weeks back, there was an uproar in cyberspace - "Google sends buyer's mail id to developers". "Ooooohhh... it's privacy violation. Developers will spam you" and what not. Microsoft even ran a version of this in their Scroogled campaign.

And it gave Google the perfect opportunity to push Google Wallet. Previously, all android developers had a Google checkout account. When users buy their app, that order detail comes to Google checkout. It used to look like this -

I could see the order number, buyer's name, what they bought, the time of transaction. If someone cancels an order, the 'charge' button changes to "Archive" and I can archive that transaction. That's how I can keep track of processed vs cancelled transactions. Click on any transaction and inside I could see the buyer's email id. This helps in providing support to the buyers. If a buyer sends an email to me, reporting an issue with the app and/or asks for support, I could simply search his/her email id in Google checkout. If he/she is a genuine buyer, his/her transaction will show up. Otherwise I'd know he/she hasn't bought the app and most probably is using a pirated version.

All that changed today. Google threw my Checkout account to Google Wallet. This is how this looks -
Here's why this new layout for Merchant account is totally useless and confusing.
  • Time stamp is removed from the main window. No easy way to know when was the last order processed. Every order shows date only. If you want to know the time, go inside each transaction.
  • Total number of orders is no longer displayed.
  • No longer have option to Archive cancelled orders. All orders ever processes/cancelled are in this never ending table, page after page. So, I can't quickly see a count of processed vs cancelled orders either.
  • The "Start-Previous-Next-End" navigation at the top right is replace by "Previous-Next" navigation.. It's "move one page at a time" navigation now.
  • Buyer name and email id is removed from order detail. When any user sends me a mail for support, I can't quickly verify whether he/she has actually bought it or not. I'll have to reply with a mail, asking them to send me the order number. Adds unnecessary extra step to the process. Buyers and developers, both are gonna get frustrated.

The "Payouts" page is another head-spin altogether. It is totally overwhelming and bewildering. I'm not understanding a single thing in that pge. In earlier UI, each day's total transactions used to appear in a single row. Date - Total amount of transaction - Refunds - Balance. Now, every day has 3 rows...!!?? And those are not clear what's what. Have a look -
What the hell is going on here? Anyone understood what's happening here? Enlighten me, please.

Google's Android developer support is crappy to the point of being non-existent. I had couple of worst experiences. In one case, someone stole my app's design, made a theme with it and uploaded this app on play store; then filed DMCA takedown notice against my app. Google suspended my app. Filing counter-claim, submitting proof of my app's originality and his thievery didn't do anything. Not even a reply from Google. In another case, me and few other developers had a theme app, which had icons inspired by MIUI x4 theme. One of the developer thought "Jeez, I'll claim copyright on it" even though he doesn't have copyright on it. He filed DMCA and Google suspended other two developers' apps, including mine. Same story.

So, I'm frustrated with Google as it is. This new checkout change on top of it..!! Sometimes I seriously contemplate closing my developer account. Android is what it is today because of developers. If we don't build awesome apps, no one will flock to Android. You'd think Google will treat us nicely. Instead, developers are treated like junk.

How has been your experience with Google?

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