Can you imagine that tomorrow you wake up, start searching on the web, and the letters of Google Search are dull gray? I would feel flabbergasted. Now, Google’s Official Blog is somewhat like this: a Blog in gray letters, with gray faces, and gray blood.
Well, I must admit it was a relief to see Aaron’s post sincerely criticizing the Official Google Blog: saying ‘Why does Google’s official blog suck?’
Several times, whenever I used my GMail account, it came up with a wide spectrum of web clips above the mails with a promising title from Google’s Official Blog, among others. Rapid click, chasing the title and the blogpost. And? I have checked it out, and gone away totally disappointed.
No real news, rather a masterfully boring series of the promotion of those Google products that need more popularity compared to Google search and GMail. Yet, Google Official Blog is ranked as high as number 15 on Technorati. Goog Gracious!
Let’s see the last few ones:
- The one entitled Happy Cyber Monday (practically the title was acceptable, even though ‘cyber’ is getting more and more stale): there is NO real content. It is about ‘Hello! Use Google Checkout because you can be safe with it.’ That’s it.
- So Cal without cars? Is about ‘Hi! Use Google Transit. It feels like Sunshine.’
- A new way to browse books is educating us how to use Google Book Search, and in the end, encouraging us to use it: ‘So check out the new Google Book Search.’
And it goes on and on in the same style. It is so official that it is nothing but a Random Tutorial, no wonder bloggers do not even like the way the name sounds ‘Google Official Blog.’
What could Google do about it?
Personalize. It is OK to read that
Make it intriguing: So Stephanie used the Transit product. Suggestions for tuning it up: Any problems with the Google Transit product? How many people are using it in California? Is it accessible in the US? When do you think it will be expanded to other parts of the world (let’s say improving traffic in Budapest, Hungary, for instance)? How did the idea came? Why did you feel you needed to put up this post on the Official Blog? Did someone tell you? Was it an inner urge or there is a growing policy in Google Inc. to become more open (e.g. because of the rapidly growing size and as a counterbalance of the corporate mammoth feeling Google is radiating – especially if its doors remained closed for the public. Scoble did a relatively good job to get inside the building, though)
Use visuals sometimes: I would truly appreciate some pics on the blog once in a while. Or even YouTube video shots embedded (like here on WordPress). Like this:
Open Feedback: Please ask for feedback on the spot, i.e. in comments, not in standardized request forms on the official Google site. It is so unbloggy. Fear of many AdWords complaints flooding in? Then have at least moderated comments (pre-checked).
Collect: many outsider bloggers write very good quality stuff about Google products, plans, etc. Pick the ones you like, link to them, and make it easily accessible to all those interested in Google. Philip Lenssen on Blogoscoped is doing a great job in this respect, but it would be an honor for any blogger to get selected by Google for a 15 second fame.
(I do not even dare to ask: when will the first Official (or just Googler’s) Google Blog in Hungarian start to function?) What does it depend on?
PS: I hope Stephanie will understand that it is not personally for her, but for the general basket of Google Inc. Blog Tutorials (sorry if it was too harsh of me). I really look forward to more colorful posts, and I do not think of myself as a superb model blogger.
UPDATE (Jan 01, 2006 2007): The wave of dissatisfaction has finally reached Techcrunch’s Michael Arrington, and their very-year-end post ends with a promising turn, i.e. Google may invite comments soon. Great news.