Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dear Google, Using Blogger is a Painful Experience

Dear Google,

It's become so painful to use Blogger that I often resist posting new work. I'm using Safari/Snow Leopard, and a wonky ATT DSL (read variable speed). But these problems persist even under Mavericks OS... So either it's a variable ATT issue, or you don't support Macs.

Before you lay all blame on my legacy Mac OS and low-end DSL, let me remind you that there was once a time when Google products really shone, they zipped right along, and loaded right up with even older software (Tiger, Safari 4.1). No waiting. Gmail was a dream. It just worked—despite bad ATT DSL. That is why I embraced Google products. You might even say I was evangelical—like Guy Kawasaki, who got me into this blogging mess to begin with. BTW, I'm an old customer: I scored a coveted Gmail invite waaaay back when you had to know someone who knew someone at Google.

Now, unless one has fast DSL, using Google products has become an unpleasant experience. I have complained and yowled long and mightily to you in the past via your Report a Problem button, especially when you first rolled out this version of Blogger. But clearly no one at Google cares, or is listening. Blogger is long in tooth and in dire need of an overhaul. 

So once again I find myself writing into the void in the rare hopes that maybe someone at Google might actually read this plea and instigate an overhaul of the painfully sluggish Blogger, and fix an equally sluggish Gmail, AND also ensure that they still continue to work with older software (and a weird internet connection).

I now am forced to use the classic Gmail in basic HTML as the current version of Gmail won't even load with Safari 5.1. It's not much better under the latest Safari and Mavericks OS. Nor is it improved by using the latest Firefox, or Chrome.

I can't begin to tell you how many emails and Blogger posts I've lost to the cyber-void due to Google software hanging somewhere between first saving and uploading.

I mourn for those lost posts as I put considerable time and scholarship into them. One post I was able to rescue as it was cached on another open page. But usually I'm not so lucky. That particular rescued post just so happens to be your number one post on on the Google search engine—The Viking-Irish Redhead Gene Myth. (Use "Viking redhead myth" for your search words).

Since Google products used to work just fine before you revised your suite a few years back, despite the fact that we have the world's worst ATT DSL service, the blame can only lay square on you. You've designed fatally flawed software. In the process of trying to make it cool, you've sunk your flagship with too many bells and whistles and not kept enough elegant structure—for which you were once justly famous for. I expected so much more of you, Google. 

When I say Blogger is painfully slow, it's not hyperbole. When I load the Blogger dashboard, I get a white page, and it hangs for five or more minutes—or longer—before I can get to the post icon to write. By that time, I could care less about posting a blog. I go make myself a cup of tea, and see if it's loaded yet. I wind up drinking a lot of tea while waiting for Blogger to load, Maybe I should take up wine instead?

For example, I have some screenshots I wish to share with you and I can't upload them, because, yes, they're hanging. Again. (So far, third time is not a charm...just sayin'. Forget about multiple images, I'm lucky to load one image to load at a time.) Hanging here....

My Blogger experience is punctuated by these white windows hanging for as long as 2 to 5 minutes each. Sometimes they hang forever. Loading and loading and loading. Just like the current Gmail.
I spend too much time watching this spinning cursor. This is where things can go horribly wrong if it's the first save and publish. OMG!
This is is a particularly devilish window, because even if you hit the Dismiss link, sometimes the screen goes white and there's no text at all. All my hard work gone. Poof! Sometimes it takes 20 tries to get past this red warning bar and upload the revised blog. Click on the orange Update button. Wait five to ten seconds, sometimes longer. One-and-two-and-three.... Wait for the red bar to appear. Click Dismiss. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Oh, and I revise a lot. So I count a lot too. One-thousand one.... You get the picture.
Oh, and about loading photos, this is a particularly slow loading page, that blue loading bar typically gets stuck, and most of the options are hidden behind white expanses. I had to find the right buttons by trial and error.
Photos typically hang when I do get this far. It generally takes me 3 to 5 tries to upload photos. Notice that the drop down list under MORE is invisible.
And may the gods help you if you get this window. There is no cure, no exit strategy. It will repeat endlessly. Only thing left to do is to copy your blog post to a clipboard and make a whole new document.

Your bloatware is worse than Microsoft Word. Rethink the process Google. You know the adage: KISS (Keep it simple, stupid, but I'd rather call you sweetie).

Don't even get me started on Google+, I literally cannot use the site which is linked to my other Gmail account—and in this case, Safari is not at all to blame, as I use the latest beta version Firefox for that account. Because it is so buggy, I've pretty much had to abandon my Google+ account. Luckily, I've found a way to access my old legacy Gmail and Picasa albums, otherwise they're as good as lost to me under Google+. 

I am also cross-posting this note to you on my Blogger page, because it is patently clear that you do not actually listen to customer feedback submitted via your "Report a Problem" button. So I put this plea out to you, warts and all. And I challenge you to do a much better job next time, when you do overhaul Gmail and Blogger. (Please let it be soon, before I am forced to use another email server. FWIW, IOS, by comparison is much better with Google interface. Keep in mind, that ATT DSL is little better than dial-up, with its variable speeds, causing this iteration of Blogger to repeatedly crash. Something to consider for the next iteration.)

Your latest slate of programmers have done Blogger and Gmail a grave disservice, and by extension, your (formally) fiercely loyal customers as well, by designing such flawed software, that you leave legacy folks with laptops in the dust. Bells and whistles are merely that, and if they interfere with the bones of the program, in the form of bloatware that can't upload, then you need to rethink your strategy. Sometimes cool is not very cool at all. It's so yesterday.

Or why don't you just come on up and wifi-ify Oakland too so we can have great internet. Some of these Blogger problems are bound to disappear with fast, regular DSL. I'll be more than happy to make you all a nice cuppa tea too. Cookies?

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