Dec 17 2015

Google, Get It Together!

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat – I absolutely hate Google. By that, I explicitly mean the corporation known as Google, it’s services, it’s general policies, up to an including the new “parent” company, Alphabet (which, let’s face it, is the absolute worst name for any company ever if you ask me.)

For a company that people adore as much as they do, Google seems to just not have a clue how some of us use the internet, and use social services. That all being said, it’s time to begin.

Fair warning, this is a rather meandering, hard to follow post, mainly because the problems I’m facing don’t even completely make sense to me!

Google+

Ah, Google+, Googles attempt at a social network. This was something I liked. In fact, I liked it quite a bit. It was nice to have a social layer tied into Google services, and I actually enjoyed the idea of it being forced into YouTube, at the time it was. However, the same elements that made me like Google+ being integrated with YouTube also caused me to grow to hate it…

Google+, as I said, was a social layer on top of the Google Services provided at the time. That itself was fine, but Google+ had a policy that, while I didn’t like, I was happy to go with back then. That was a “Real Name” policy. That, to me, was nice in that it helped curb SOME of the YouTube trolling, and it coincided with me wanting to be more “professional” by using my real name in everything (tied in to my online alias, of course.)

seriously

Over time though, I began to want to switch back to dominantly using my online Alias, which you wouldn’t think would be too bad, but Google had to make it hard for me. Now, changing the name isn’t bad – I can, and did, change that to Kurisu Yamato. The problem is the URL for your google+ page; it can’t be changed.

Now, traditionally, I use my alias on everything “personal” in social media – it keeps things consistent. Google+, however, would not let me do that when it came time to set up a custom URL for that page – it defaulted to me having to use my real name, followed by something additional, to differentiate it from another person sharing my real name. Now, at the time, this wasn’t so bad, but now, I want it to simply be my alias.. and that’s impossible.

Twitter lets you change account urls… Ello let’s you do the same… but Google can’t? Even though your real Google ID is a number string, and the URL is just an easier way to get to the page? I call bullshit.

The worst thing is that if you delete the Google+ profile and make a new one… you are stuck with the SAME URL. It’s permanent to that Google account, and I don’t feel like going through the hell of making ANOTHER Google account and setting everything up again, for many reasons, which I will get into in the next part.

Google+ is an important place to start, because this next section, the primary one, ties in very much to Google+… and that section is…

YouTube

Ah, YouTube, one of my favourite websites. I am on it every single day – that simple. At some point, I will watch a video. not only that, but those of you who pay attention to what I do will notice I publish quite a bit of content to the site. I actually enjoy making videos, and being a content creator, so when YouTube got Google+ integration, I was rather excited. Longer comments, more name options, and better control of everything. I could make comments and disable replies, for example, so I could say my peace on something without having to deal with tons of replies saying what I already knew they thought, or could stop troll replies before they ever happened. I could block people from commenting on anything I post, again, keeping trolls at bay. Those features sound simple, but they were absolutely amazing to have…

…then, over the past few months, they were taken away. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but one I feel worth focusing on.

With Google+ and YouTube being separated, there have been quite a few changes… more correctly, there have been changes which include Google+ being removed from YouTube. While yes, you can still have your account attached things are just a mess. Seems you an no longer disable replies to YouTube comments (a Google+ feature, I take it) but you can still +1 things… also, they now have the custom URL function changed to something insane, requiring X number of subscribers, or linking it to a Google Business Page – indeed, for them removing Google+, they seem to now, more than ever, want you to link it to a profile or a page to get that custom URL on a new account, as it shares the URL of the page or profile you make.. which yes, means that “real name” URL of mine, if typed into a YouTube, does lead to my YouTube account… which I hate.

Granted, you can change what your YouTube account is associated with. That’s easy – just make a new page and there you go, new URL… but don’t ever delete that page, or you lose that URL forever.

That’s right, the one-time URL issue strikes again. How hard is it to allow users, even once, the chance to change their URL. Really, how much damage could that cause? Why can’t I re-create a page I once had? It’s stupid.

custom settings wtf

Granted, yes, Facebook has similar things going on, but with this similar limitation Facebook handles things so much more gracefully, and isn’t as confusing on how to do things. Also, they don’t forcibly integrate into other services, so one can keep things pretty unique there, not to mention, they don’t FORCE the URL you are set with – you can use whatever is free. Remember, Google+, both business and personal pages, seem to want to force you to a certain URL by default.

Lastly, when you do change to a page, or from one account to another, be prepared for your account to go apeshit crazy. Comments don’t transfer over, leaving your old comments still visible, but floating around, no longer tied to that YouTube channel, while new comments are made using the new page or profile you have the YouTube account linked to in Google, but be from the same Channel, if that makes sense.

Beyond that, your YouTube account itself will go through a period where it looks like everything you have ever done has been deleted. Videos will disappear, it will look like you are subscribed to no other channels, and while this and other issues that arise will work themselves out, you will lose your watch history. It’s just an absolute mess, and honestly is kind of terrifying, and certainly not worth it.

…and before you ask, no, you cannot just remove it from a Google Account all together and let it stand alone.. it has to stay attached to one, which basically means it is still linked to Google+, but without all of the Google+ features. What’s the point?

I mention how easy Facebook makes things, because Google Settings are an outright fucking mess! I’m not going to get into it too much here, but if you try to do much of anything on YouTube, you will flip flop between Google settings, Google+ Settings, Google Account settings, and YouTube settings.. all just to hunt for an option you probably don’t have anymore.

Oh, and one last thing, which has me super pissed on a whole… I cannot paste anything into a comment on my own videos. MY OWN VIDEOS. Why not? I think a setting was triggered in Google+ that is no longer available, and thus the setting is stuck like that. It’s an absolute fucking mess, and I hate it. End of story there. You would be amazed how often I do need to copy information to reply to a comment and I can’t paste it into the comment – makes things kind of hard, sometimes. Oh well, at least, maybe, it keeps spammers at bay… who knows.

 

Android

Don’t get me started on Tablets and Smart Phones. Just don’t. What I will go to here, and I’m about to finish this rant up, is the YouTube app on my tablet. No matter what, for the past 7 months, any time I try to view a YouTube video, I get the very common error “Connection to server lost. Tap to Retry”

By common, I mean, if you do a search on this error, you will find page after page with people asking about it (usually from mobile phones) and ways to fix it.

The problem is, I have tried all of these methods, in varying ways – I’ve tried everything short of restoring the tablet to factory settings and…. nothing. It refuses to work.

Please, explain to me why a tablet, running android, and the most current version of the YouTube app, cannot access YouTube, but every actual computer I own, on the same network, has no issue?

…and people treat these things, especially android, like they are the best things ever!

Lastly, on a whole, it amazes me to see people adore Google the way they do, and to use their services in and out without any concern, yet these same people claim in Windows 10 Microsoft is “Spying” on them, yet they may no claims against Google requesting every piece of information they possibly can on a given user. Google, a company that makes it’s money off advertising.. advertising which uses your information for targeting.. do you see where I am going here?

Maybe this is due to the fact that people willingly hand over their info to Google, since, again, they seem to think the company is perfection, and completely trustworthy. I obviously differ on this view point, but even I do see the absolute irony in my usage heavily of YouTube, and of Google Adsense. The hypocrisy is not lost to me, so hold your comments.

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I just… I hate Google. I really do. No matter what everything they do seems to be an absolute mess.  You would think such a massive company would have all their ducks in a row, but they don’t… everything seems to be an absolute mess and honestly, I hate it. I hate that I need to keep these things around, that I can’t change even simple things, or fix minor issues… Twitter, Ello… they let you change your URL… comments on many social media outlets can be turned off easily… why is it so hard for Google to make these settings simple and universal? Yes, they tried to do that with the Google+ integration, but when people rebelled against that they should have just kept the features the way they were. They threw out the baby with the bath water, so to speak…. you would expect better from such a company.

Google, get your shit together. Now.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.xadara.com/google-get-it-together/

2 comments

  1. I don’t get how Google keep screwing up either, that idiotic URL problem is the reason i essentially have more than one YouTube account, one that was auto created with my email (and therefore uses a very old and unwanted username) and my main one that i had to make a Google+ page to get. I wish i could just have one account with the Username/URL that i want instead of the mess it is at the moment.

    1. I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who sees what an absolute mess Google has going on right now. I want to like what they do, I really do, but I won’t stand by and act like there are no problems, like the masses do.

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