How do you know if you have a complaint about a quirk, a missing feature, or a straight-up error with one of Google's products? Simple - if you use those products every day, you probably have something to say. You can search the often complex web of tech/customer support options, or, as of just recently, you can do the smarter thing and let Google know directly about your problem or suggestion. You can point directly to what's wrong, highlight it for Google's engineers, and leave a note as short or as long as you'd like.
You've probably seen the links to "Report a bug" or "Send feedback" before, but you likely assumed it opened an email prompt, or took you to a new page - which, before a little bit ago, you would have been absolutely right. But as the Google Operating System blog points out, now those links let you directly comment on the browser page you're looking at. Go ahead, give it a shot - click in the "gear" menu in the upper-right corner, or, if that's not present in this Google app, try a "Help" menu, either in a menu bar or at the bottom of the page.
Whatever page you're looking at gets grayed out, and a text box pops up, asking you to briefly describe the problem. The thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to get into extreme detail, because the next step lets you highlight exactly where on the page you're having your problem. But write out your complaint or issue, and hit Next.
Now you can review what your submission will actually look like, and what data you'll be sending to Google's help squad. Generally, you're sending your text note, the screenshot you see at right, and some details about the browser you use, and the version of the Google app you were using.Will you get instant feedback, directly from an engineer, asking you to talk on the phone about how this app snag could be worked out better? Not likely. Will your feedback have a much more meaningful impact than a quick snark shot on Twitter, emailing a very common support address, or telling your boss about how annoying it is? Almost certainly.
Kevin Purdy is a freelance writer, a former editor at Lifehacker.com, and the author of The Complete Android Guide.