Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Google Plus

Some of my best friends work at Google. So I want the company to be profitable enough to keep the sixteen or so free company restaurants open so I can stuff myself on the occasional visit. Think Android is confusing? Try deciding on whether you want Tibetan fries or Finnish goose as an appetizer or main course. That is after you find the right place in the Restaurant Row known internally as the Google Crave with themed, color dots and markers leading one to the right place. It doesn't help to be color blind or late.

I am very grateful for the various Google initiatives I have been able to sample such as Google Wave, Buzz, Voice and Google+. Unfortunately by the time I figure them out, Google tends to throw them under the bus. That happened with the Wave. Actually I read the Apache Software Foundation accepted the Wave into its incubator for new product development. Now I feel better.

My gmail recently told me that Buzz will be going away and I might want to save my posts. Fortunately I only had one post, about CBS newsman Bob Schieffer being my favorite TV news person. It hurts that he probably never got the message though I do note that his Sunday morning ratings are up. I take no credit for this incremental improvement that could also be due to the color of his tie.

I'm just getting into the ever-widening, dizzying circles of Google+ but am fearful that the same fate may await it. I think the project would have a greater chance of reaching its first birthday if Google executives used it as regularly as they do Facebook. This initiative I want to survive.

I give Google high marks for integrity, even though I have never been comfortable with the "Do No Evil" slogan. Recently an employee distributed to the world a memo intended for internal purposes, addressing the failure of the Google+ platform, no less.  This has been called the greatest Reply-All screwup in tech history.  If you include the withering criticism of Jeff Bezos in this memo, then I'd have to agree.

As far as I can tell nothing happened to the employee. I've worked at a dozen media companies and one association and I would have been handed my head in all but one. In the military I would have been shot.

Google not only doesn't shoot employees if they wander off that very large reservation; they continue to provide to supplicants like myself an array of free services as if they were the government. But better.

My son signed me up for Google Voice some time ago and I have been delinquent in using that service.  So the Google Voice Team sends me a pleasant email saying phone numbers are a limited commodity and if I wanted to keep my precious 415 prefix, I should get a whole lot more chatty. They also provide customer service if I want to port my existing number to Voice so the one number will ring all phones. The service also includes free text messages and voice mail transcription. 

Even when I'm not parked in a Google restaurant, I still seem to be getting a free lunch.

It's just that sometimes I have to eat fast.

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