I am really tired of things Google has done lately.
The most recent example being retiring Classic Maps. That’s a problem, because the current Maps mysteriously doesn’t show most of my saved (“starred”) places. Google has known about this since at least 2013. There are posts all over their forums about it going back to when what is now “regular” Google Maps was beta. Google employees even knew about it and did nothing. For someone that made heavy use of it, this was quite annoying.
But there have been plenty of others:
- Removing My Places and My Maps from Maps for Android. Those features were used to, for instance, plan trips, highlight routes, add campground possibilities, etc. (They eventually brought this feature back months/years later, in limited form.)
- Removed the 7-day and month views from Calendar for Android, claiming this was “better” for users. Finally re-added those views a few months later after many complaints. I even participated in a survey process with them where they were clearly struggling to understand why anybody wanted to see 7 days at once, when that feature had been there for years…
- Removing the XMPP capabilities in Google Talk/Hangouts.
- Picasaweb pretty much shut down, with very strong redirects to Google+ Photos. Which still to this day doesn’t have a handy feature for embedding in a blog post or anything that’s not, well, Google+.
- General creeping crapification of everything they touch. It’s almost like Microsoft in the 90s all over again. All of a sudden my starred places stop showing up in Google Maps, but show up in Google Drive — shared with the whole world. What? I never wanted them in Google Drive to start with.
- All the products that are all-but-dead — Google Groups and the sad state of the Deja News archives. Maybe Google+ itself goes on this list soon?
- Looks like they’re trying to kill off Google Voice and merge it into hangouts, but I can’t send a text from the web with Hangouts.
- And this massive list of discontinued services and products. Yeowch. Remember when Google Code was hot, and then they didn’t touch it at all for years?
- And they still haven’t fixed some really basic things, such as letting people change their email address when they get married.
- Dropping SIP from Grand Central, ActiveSync from Apps, etc.
I even used to use Flickr, then moved to Picasa when Yahoo stopped investing in Flickr. Now I’m back to Flickr, because Google stopped investing in Picasa.
The takeaway is that you can’t really rely on Google for anything. Counting on something being there for an upcoming trip and then having it be suddenly yanked away is a level of frustration that just makes the service not so useful. Never knowing when obvious things (7-day calendar view) will be removed means you just can’t depend on it.
So, are there good alternatives? Things I’m thinking of include:
- Alternative calendar applications. Ideally it would support shared calendars for multiple people in a family, an Android app that lets you easily view some or all calendars, etc. I wonder if outlook.com is really the only competitor here? Last I looked — a few years ago — none of the Open Source options really worked well.
- Alternative mapping applications. Must-haves include directions, navigation in the car, saving points of interest, and offline storage on Android. Nice-to-haves would include restaurant review integration, etc. Looks like Nokia (HERE.com) and Mapquest, plus a few OSM spinoffs, are the leading contenders here.
- Email is easily enough found elsewhere, and I’ve never used Gmail much anyhow.
Anybody else moving off Google?