Google optimize

Give Google better feedback and bug reports and get better results

Be a smarter Google App user and let Google know directly about your problem or suggestion as you use the tools.

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.

The highlighter isn’t something you actually drag around and mark up, but a tool that whitens sections of the grayed-out page, generally divided by HTML "<div>" sections and JavaScript code. You might not be able to pen in exactly what you’re sending in your tip about, but you can exclude the rest of the page. Use the black marker tool to block out sections that might have personal information, like others’ email addresses or financial data. Hit Next again.

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.

About

Kevin Purdy is a freelance writer, a former editor at Lifehacker.com, and the author of The Complete Android Guide.

1 comments
Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you report bugs you find in Google Apps to Google? If you don't how do you expect those bugs to ever get fixed?