Many months ago, Google, who apparently is growing tired of printing money and keeping loyal customers, changed the way that Gmail works. A bunch of stuff was different, but in general the way you composed an e-mail became a big pain in the butt. They were kind enough though to give you the option of going back to the old interface. You know, the one that they originally sold you on and that you loved because it worked so well.
But now in a case of if it’s not broken, break it and piss people off, Gmail only allows this new interface. It works almost like an instant messaging service which is exactly what I and (by the look of complaints online) most people don’t want to see.
In fact I was called by one irate Gmail user who wanted to sue Google. He uses Gmail for his business and has grown to rely on it. Apparently the new format causes big problems with multi-tasking or even performing a simple BCC add to an e-mail. He feels that he’s going to have to spend hours of productivity time training his staff and wants Google to compensate him for the lost time. He even mentioned that Google got rid of some of the complaints about the product from their product forum listings online.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Google has done something like this. They mess with their search engine display and algorithm all the time whether or not people are happy with the results that the old one returned.
With e-mail though, there really isn’t a need for whistles and bells. We all just want something that is efficient and familiar. It does feel like when Coke introduced the New Coke or Netflix made some of their short lived changes. There’s some out of touch executive who has convinced everyone that this is a good idea when in reality all that they’ve done is create a customer service nightmare, especially when they don’t allow you the option of choosing a format to use.
I did tell my caller I was mad too, but also that I don’t believe he has a viable case. You can’t sue someone for bad customer service and unless he had a contract with Gmail, they can make their product as awful as they want to. In the same vein, he, or anyone else, is free not to use it.
You really do have to wonder though what the motivation is behind a decision like this. It’s not as if it will make them any more money. It doesn’t make it work better with tablets or phones. It goes against their initial marketing push that got them all of these Gmail users in the first place.
I’d say I’m switching to hotmail, but the reality is that once you are tied to an e-mail account, switching is like changing banks. It’s really not something that you can do easily. So instead I’m going to just be annoyed. And move on with my life. And hope that Google acts like Coke and Netflix and gives the people what they want.
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