In response to Henry Blodget’s earlier post about Gmail, many of you have asked why “our COO” is frustrated with Google Apps, which we recently switched to. So here are the details.
First, here’s exactly what we’re doing: We have a Google Apps account, which we pay $600 a year for. (This is half of what we were paying our old email provider, which is nice.) We use Gmail to provide 20-odd employees with email. We have two group-storage accounts. We use our individual Google Calendars. We also use Google AdSense, Feedburner, and Analytics, the last of which we’re quite happy with.
Now, here are my complaints:
First, and not limited to Apps, why are Google’s logins different for almost every single Google experience?
- Webmastertools, email, docs: Remembers and logs me in
- Analytics: remembers but makes me click a little “Access Analytics” button
- Adsense: have to log in each time
And all the log-in boxes look a little different. Why?
And specific to Google Apps:
- Functionality that I expect to be the same across apps is not. For example, the spreadsheet tool saves constantly so that the only time you have to proactively save is to close the file (“Save and close”). The word processor requires proactive saving.
- Why are the menu names different across apps for the same functionality? “Make a copy” for spreadsheet, “Save as new copy” for word processor.
- Docs and Spreadsheets are sluggish, especially Spreadsheets
- Spreadsheet is wonky to navigate – It will scroll left and right when I’m trying to go up and down (and no, I don’t have this problem in other applications)
- Spreadsheet is wildly underfeatured. I don’t expect pivot tables, but sorting and formatting capabilities are unacceptably weak
- 1MB limit on spreadsheets is too low
- Doesn’t support latest version of Powerpoint (.pptx) but does support latest Excel, Word (.xlsx, docx)
- And the ultimate daily irritant: Google Apps email insists on sending my Blackberry inbox a copy of every message I send. Nothing we’ve tried has fixed it. Among Google’s suggestions for addressing this? “Create a filter…. Use the app…. Use the web.” No, Google. I want to use my Blackberry mail program just like I did with our old, admittedly costlier, email provider!
Google seems to be making a big push to sign up corporations as paying customers. If it wants to win business and keep customers happy, it will have to do much better than this.
Google’s free Apps are fine: You get what you pay for. The paid Apps, however, are a far cry from enterprise-class applications.