Posted in Undependable Support

Another big Google outage leaves a lot of people irritated

It’s a bad day in Mountain View:

In all, it looks like a huge range of Google services were down for about an hour today. That hour crossed into business operation times in multiple markets, leading to a slight drop in pre-market trading for parent company Alphabet.

It’s also an alarming reminder of just how far Google reaches, and how many of our services — productivity, entertainment and home/utility — are tied up with a single, proprietary provider. Coincidentally, Microsoft’s Outlook is also experiencing some problems, too.

Emphasis is ours.

A good reminder, indeed, and hopefully one that spurs people and companies to leave Google behind or at least diversify who they do business with.

Posted in Undependable Support

Google kills off Poly, its 3D model sharing service

We love that first line, Engadget!

Google is showing again that you rely on its products at your peril. The search giant announced that it’s shutting down Poly, its 3D object library and platform that arrived in 2017 aimed primarily and VR and AR creators. The service will end on June 30, 2021, so you’ll need to go here to download any models before then. All uploads will cease on April 30, 2021.

Emphasis is ours.

Once again, the moral of the story: don’t use Google products. Either your privacy will suffer, because the taking of your data is the business model, or the product will not continue to be supported because it does not feed the needs of the beast.

Posted in Undependable Support

Devin Coldeway eulogizes Google Music and ponders moving further away from Google dependence

Google is killing off Google Music, which has prompted one of TechCrunch’s writers to further reconsider their relationship with the company.

The idea of divorcing myself entirely from Google’s ecosystem isn’t a realistic one for me, though I do it where I can (though having moved to iOS, the cure sometimes seems worse than the disease). One of the tattered bindings holding me to Google was the music thing. And while I do plan to take up a hundred gigabytes on one of their databases somewhere for as long as I possibly can, I’m glad the company admitted that what they were giving me didn’t make sense for them any more. It means one less reason that what Google has to give makes sense for me.

Every service from Google now, especially with those new, bad logos, feels less like it’s offering a solution to a problem and more like it’s just another form of leverage for the company. We were spoiled by the old, weird Google that did things like Books because they could, throwing it in the teeth of the publishers, or Wave, an experiment in interactivity that in many ways is still ahead of its time. They did things because they hadn’t been done, and now they do things because they can’t let you leave.

So, RIP Google Music. You were good while you lasted, but ultimately what you did best was show me that we deserved better, and we weren’t going to get it by waiting around for Google to return to its roots.

The best way to manage a music collection is with a tool like Nextcloud, which allows documents, music and other data to be remotely synchronized between devices with no dependency on Big Tech.

Posted in Undependable Support

YouTube goes down, Google scrambles to get it back online

Oops:

YouTube has recovered from a seemingly worldwide outage that prevented videos from loading for roughly an hour. During the outage, many Verge staffers were unable to watch videos, and YouTube confirmed at 7:23PM ET that something was going on:

If you’re having trouble watching videos on YouTube right now, you’re not alone – our team is aware of the issue and working on a fix. We’ll follow up here with any updates.

The issue appeared to affect other services that use the YouTube infrastructure too, including YouTube TV and the movies and TV shows you’d purchase through Google TV (formerly known as Google Play Movies & TV). We couldn’t load them.

Early in the outage, the YouTube website itself seemed to load just fine, but videos themselves would continuously show the loading wheel.

Nothing works all the time, but it’s not a good look for the Big G to have its premier social media platform borked for any length of time.

Posted in Undependable Support

Google doing away with free “unlimited” storage for high quality photos

A reminder that there’s no such thing as “unlimited”.

What Google giveth, Google can taketh away.

In a blog post, Google has announced that it is halting unlimited storage for High Quality photos starting June 1, 2021. Any High Quality photos uploaded after that will be subject to the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google account, with additional storage coming at a fee.

Uploading full-resolution images have always counted against personal storage on Google, but any images that were uploaded and subjected to Google’s compression were able to be stored without limit. From now until June of next year, that will remain the case. But after June 1, any new photos and videos uploaded will count toward the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google Account or the additional storage purchased as a Google One member. Google Account storage is shared across Drive, Gmail, and Photos.

If you’re looking for inexpensive photo storage (again, there’s no such thing as unlimited free storage, so don’t trust your photos to any outfit promising that), you can check out SmugMug, Flickr Pro, and Wasabi, none of which are Google-owned.

Posted in Undependable Support

Ars Technica commenter lampoons Google’s undependable product support

A very astute observation:

The giant hulking dumpsters of cancelled Google products, many of which had dedicated user bases, would seem to indicate that not even Google really understands how Google makes these decisions. At this point, nobody with a functioning brain cell trusts any new Google product as part of a long-term project, product or ecosystem…

There’s even a website that tracks products that Google has killed off. It’s rather extensive.

While the odds that Google will pull the plug on its search engine, Gmail, Chrome browser, Android, YouTube, or Google Docs are slim, most of the company’s other offerings are fair game for elimination at any time. By steering clear of reliance on Google’s offerings, you can protect yourself and your data well into the future.

Posted in Undependable Support

Google outage takes down YouTube, Gmail, other Google offerings

It hasn’t been a very good weekend for Google.

YouTube, Snapchat, Gmail, Nest, Discord, and a number of other web services are suffering from outages in the US today. The root cause appears to be problems with Google’s Cloud service which powers apps other than just Google’s own web services. Google has issued a status update on its Cloud dashboard, noting that issues began at around 3:25PM ET / 12:25PM PT.

The issues appear to be mostly affecting those on the East Coast of the US, but some YouTube and Gmail users across Europe are also reporting that they’re unable to access the services. Google’s own G Suite Status dashboard shows problems with practically every single Google web service, and Down Detector lists YouTube outage reports in a number of countries worldwide.

The New York Times has more. Companies that use Google’s cloud, including Vimeo, Discord, and Snapchat, are also affected.

The cause of the trouble is “network congestion”, and Google is working on a fix.

Twitter has created a Moment pertaining to the outage.

Posted in Undependable Support

“Killed by Google” gets some love from the tech press

BGR is the latest to profile a site that serves as a reference for what Google has killed off over the years.

We’re still a few months away from the halfway mark of 2019, and already Google has sent some pretty high-profile products to an early grave — products that the company had high initial hopes for, like its Inbox email service and its failed Facebook killer Google+. But this, as we all know, is really par for the course when it comes to the search giant, which has tried so many experiments over the years with products, apps and services that didn’t quite work out as planned that it’s ended up building quite a crowded graveyard of failed ambitions.

“Killed by Google is a Free and Open Source list of dead Google products, services, and devices. It serves to be a tribute and memorial of beloved products and services killed by Google,” says its creator Cody Ogden. It is without question an extremely useful reference and we’ve added it to our blogroll, or link list, or whatever you want to call it.

Posted in Undependable Support

Analyst: Google Investors Are Expecting Too Much From Stadia

Slow down there, Monster of Mountain view backers. That’s the message from this SeekingAlpha contributor, who has a skeptical take on Google’s new foray into gaming:

It’s a near certainty that Stadia won’t win 100% of this game streaming business. Even if Stadia miraculously took 50% of this $28 billion opportunity, that means about $14 billion in additional sales for Alphabet.

Using analysts’ revenue estimates for 2020 as a starting point, and assuming a similar growth rate in 2021, suggest Alphabet revenue of about $225 billion by 2021. If Stadia generates $14 billion in sales at this point, that represents another 6% of additional year-over-year growth. There is little doubt there is a big opportunity in streaming gaming, but investors need to ignore the hyperbole in the headlines and temper their expectations.

Those are a lot of assumptions.

If people refuse to hand over money to Google for Stadia, Google will have to pull the plug on it before long because that is how the Monster of Mountain View rolls. That would be a fitting outcome.

Posted in Undependable Support

Google Fiber shutting down in Louisville

An awkward exit:

“We’re not living up to the high standards we set for ourselves, or the standards we’ve demonstrated in other Fiber cities,” the company writes today. “We would need to essentially rebuild our entire network in Louisville to provide the great service that Google Fiber is known for, and that’s just not the right business decision for us.”

It’s a rare admission of defeat for Google Fiber, though it’s no secret that the company isn’t exactly bullish on the prospect of the service anymore. Louisville was supposed to be somewhat of a comeback for Google Fiber, which like so many Google services is now under more pressure to generate a profit. Clearly, that didn’t work out. If this were still a major growth and focus area for Google, it would have done exactly what it isn’t doing in Louisville: rebuild the entire network.

Instead of a comeback, Google Fiber in Louisville was a flop.

Here’s a thought, Google (or as you’re now called, Alphabet): maybe instead of trying to conquer every product space in tech, just focus on a few things and do them well?