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Google's trust issue gets the Microsoft treatment

There is no doubt that Google has trust issues with users of Google Apps, but is that an issue that should be exploited by Microsoft?

The TechRepublic Google in the Enterprise Blog has been around for almost a year now and there is one common theme I have seen expressed time and time again - many IT professionals do not trust Google.

This lack of trust is related to two specific issues:

  • The lack of privacy in the form of gathered user data, and
  • The continuous changes made to available features in Google Apps

The first issue is the more difficult because there is really no solution. Google is a gatherer of user information - some would say that is their primary business. The company uses this information to make the advertising they sell more effective and therefore more valuable. I don't see this ever changing - it is how Google generates revenue.

The second issue does have a solution, but not one Google seems willing to accept. Users and the businesses they work for cannot afford to have their office productivity tools change day-to-day or even week-to-week. Adding features there and removing features here just causes confusion and slows down productivity. Many of these changes occur without warning and, more frustratingly, without any sense of purpose or direction.

Enter Microsoft

These issues of trust have not gone unnoticed by the likes of Microsoft and its nearly ubiquitous Office Suite. Justin James shared a link to the video below and it struck me as mildly amusing and closer to the truth than Google would like to admit.

Microsoft's record with these little videos are hit and miss, but how would you classify this one for truthfulness? Should Google be listening and looking to repair their reputation or is the video a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

8 comments
SKDTech
SKDTech

I recently started using Google Docs to collect research and rough draft my term papers. It is useful since I can access it anywhere I have internet and get peer reviews from classmates by letting them read and comment my work. But final formatting, editing, revision and everything else is done in MS Word.

BobManGM
BobManGM

They have a point, but Google can fix this. Yes Microsft makes changes (and some are not popular), but we use MS Office here and although the initial hit for 2007/2010 was "No Like", they users have changed their tune. I use Google Apps at home and I think it needs to be expanded, but I like it. So Google can fix it, but will they....

Sue T
Sue T

install google chrome frame so the students could use Google Presentation in google docs. I never saw anything that told me this was going to happen. One day it worked, the next it didn't. Install Chrome browser - no thank you. Really did not want to install chrome frame but I did. MS Office never did that to us.

maj37
maj37

The video was cute. I am with parnote@ changing the way the software works in a release 4 years after the last release is not the same as changing features daily/weekly without warning. The ribbon caused people problems as they had to learn it but no one at Microsoft changed Office on someone's PC, the user or their tech support did it. In fact my wife still uses Office 2000 on her computer at home, and will hardly use the Office 2007 on my computer. Any software company changes features when they release new software but not on the fly like Google Apps apparently does, so yes that is an issue that should be exploited by Microsoft.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It was a small office that uses the G apps. An art type office no less so when the arrived to work one morning to find out Google decided to change the calendar colour pallet it completely broke the staff's ability to quickly recognize categorized appointments. specific appointments used to be read.. suddenly they're a pink'ish kind of colour? Oh, and it's still listed as red which just adds insult to injury for people who work professionally with colour. It get's better; is there a way to set a specific colour pallet like a theme option? If not, why does a company the size of Google not include that kind of function? I can have my gmail background displaying the current weather but I can't select a them and/or stable colour pallet for the calendar? Another great example is text file editing someone mentioned a few weeks back. Docs used to open and edit plain ascii and now it doesn't. You have to convert a basic text document to a heavy formatted word/whatever document so you can open and edit it.. oh.. but "text editing" is planned to be re-introduced in the future some time. Come on Google. You'r a company of engineers, planning and change management is kind of a basic engineering skill. You can do better.

Gr8Music
Gr8Music

+1 - laughed out loud! I've never trusted Google for different reasons but this is classic.

parnote
parnote

... but then, they haven't been much better. I'm thinking of the ribbon interface, and the mixed reviews it received. [quote]Adding features there and removing features here just causes confusion and slows down productivity. Many of these changes occur without warning and, more frustratingly, without any sense of purpose or direction.[/quote] OMG! It's almost as if someone from the Google Docs team wrote this! THIS is exactly how they work, with complete and utter disregard for their end users, or the end users' opinion. They know people will use whatever P.O.S. interface they put on it, since there really isn't much else available to compete with in the area of online document collaboration services. Sure, they have their online forums where folks can voice their opinion and concerns, but nothing ever comes from those. I think the Google Forums are just entertainment for those making the unnecessary and senseless changes, so they can sit back and watch the rest of us scramble like rats in a maze, laughing and pointing their finger at us, saying "Muahahahahaha, now look at them. Look at what *** I *** made them do! Muahahahahaha!"

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

As I have mentioned before, CBS Interactive and TechRepublic dumped Microsoft over a year ago in favor of Google Enterprise Apps. A decision I have not embraced wholeheartedly - I like my Microsoft Office suite of tools. Does Microsoft have a valid point when it comes to the way Google keeps changing Google App features? I know those changes have been getting on my nerves - have they done the same to you?