Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Not all upgrades are improvements

Technical note:...

I'm not a fan of the new Blogger interface, in which I type stuff, and it looks one way in the interface, and then I hit submit -- only to see it's added a bunch of space between my paragraphs (as a default setting!). I found how to turn that off by looking through the Google Forums, but it's not at all intuitive, and I'm surprised they screw with your formatting as a default.

This is yet another upgrade that is driving me away from Google products. An earlier one was an upgrade of Google Docs that stripped away the ability to track changes by user.

I don't know which is the more cynical interpretation of the "downgrade" trend:

1. Google (and other companies that seem to relish creating mandatory upgrades that destroy beloved features)  has inept managers who, living in a bubble world, truly don't realize the damage they're doing with their customer base.

2. Google is crazy like a fox and doing this deliberately, so, like Coca-Cola (but with better financial results), it can come back later and offer us "classic" versions of beloved products -- this time at a fee. We'll have all fallen in love with the products already, and will have been griping to the company about how we can't live without them. If we really mean it, Google will answer, we should be willing to pay to subscribe to them.

One of my principles is to always go with the most flattering interpretation of motives, so I guess I'm going with interpretation #2. It's unethical, perhaps, but one has to admire the ingenuity.