Google Support Not So Supportive

There’s been a lot of posts recently about Google vs Apple and whether or not Android is beating iOS or not.  Is Google the new Microsoft and will it thrash Apple in a few years?  Frankly, I don’t care, as a developer or as an end consumer.  I’m firmly in the iOS camp at this point as a developer (we have two apps in the App Store and one in the Mac App Store with more coming) and as an end user with a house full of iPhones, iPods, and an iPad.  I think Google will fail with Android simply for their piss poor tech support.

If you have an Android phone and you have an issue with <insert problem here>, who are you going to turn to?  The hardware manufacturer, the carrier, or Google?  The end consumer doesn’t care they just want the problem solved and just like how Microsoft is responsible for their hardware partners problems, Google will probably be left holding the bag for their hardware partners too.  Let’s hope their Android support is better than their business services help.

I’ve been experiencing issues with my mail server on my virtual private server and thought that going to GMail might be a good solution for a variety of reasons.  Because of Google ID issues I messed the registration up (hey, I didn’t say I was very good at this stuff now did I?) and locked up the domain registration for GMail.  After searching fruitlessly (ironically using Google search), I came to the conclusion that Google doesn’t really want to help you.  It’s downright impossible to talk to a human being or even send off a plain email to a support department.

I was never able to find an official tech support phone number for Google.  Sure, there are forums and articles and other information but nothing to get hold of a real life person – even at a price (as far as I can find).  There are some ways of getting hold of them through forums and other means but it’s all indirect and after sending off what I hope was a message to someone that can help I’m still waiting on even an automated response email saying they’d get back to me.  I’m not holding my breath.

Now, do the same thing for Apple.  It doesn’t take long to find a whole web page full of ways to get help.  Phone, instant messaging, email are all prominently displayed after two clicks on their website.  Sure, some of them cost money, but as a business, when I need support I’ll pay for it.  If that’s still not good enough I can go to one of the over one hundred brick and mortar stores around the world and talk to an Apple Genius for nothing.  If that fails, I can find Apple Resellers and other Apple certified experts in my area.

Apple’s been doing this for decades as a computer and consumer electronics company.  They’ve consistently been ranked very high on support satisfaction surveys.  As a family, we’ve had various minor issues with our Apple components over the years but nothing that a phone call or trip to the local store (either Apple or local reseller) didn’t fix promptly to our satisfaction.  I’m sure there are example of poor customer support with Apple but it seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

People say that one of the great things about Android is that it’s free.  The old axiom that you get what you pay for holds true in this case.  Google’s support is awful in my opinion.  To say that Google is the new Microsoft is an insult to Microsoft.  At least Microsoft got support right even if you have to talk to someone on the other side of the world.

What’s your experience been with Google support?

10 thoughts on “Google Support Not So Supportive

  1. There is NO Google support. When I had a problem with the Keywords tool from Adsense (if I remember correctly), I got zero support for it. If I want to connect to MobileMe with POP and it doesn’t work then I simply start a chat session with Apple and get it fixed. This even works on Sundays. That’s what I call great support.

  2. I agree, the times I had troubles and problems with Google services and you’re lucky if they write a generic e-mail to you in two weeks (which doesn’t even cover the problem you’re having).

    Google = Zero Support

  3. Google support. Yeah.

    I’m a long-time windows user who switched to mac almost a year ago. While I haven’t had to use tech support yet, I appreciate knowing that if I need it there are phone numbers, email addresses, and real stores I can go to to get support.

    I have a Droid, and while I like it, I am considering switching to the iphone when my 2 years is up. I love how open the device is, but early on I was having problems with it and nobody was willing to take responsibility for it. Verizon, Motorola, Google. Lots of finger pointing. Lately it’s started running slowly, and I have no idea if it’s an app I installed, one of the numerous system updates I’ve gotten, fragmented memory, or what. I’m not even going to bother calling for support because nobody will know who is at fault.

    In my opinion, this is why Linux isn’t taking off either. Unless you buy a supported distribution, there’s no support and nobody can tell what the problem is. You get what you pay for is exactly right.

    I’m pretty sure when I started writing this I had a point, but it turned into a rant. Oops. 😉

  4. I believe that was also the problem with the Google phone: Google had no infrastructure for support, and didn’t consider that people who buy a phone might want to call someone for help. Help that a user-driven support forum can’t provide.

  5. Addendum:
    Received an email from Google asking me to rate their response and if it answered my question. What’s rich is that it was the *first* email from Google even acknowledging that I had submitted a question.

    So, no, they didn’t answer my question. #Fail Although, I guess I’ll give them some credit. It took less than 12 hours for them to send *a* email. 😛

  6. Google search $0.00
    Google maps $0.00
    Google sky $0.00
    Google Android $0.00
    Google Chrome $0.00
    Google mail $0.00
    Google docs $0.00

    Give people something for nothing and they think it’s crap.
    Charge them through the nose and they lap it up

  7. @jjb – Nobody thinks that stuff is crap. All of that stuff is fantastic, and of course I use all of those (except for sky) constantly. Even for my one-man consulting business. But if Google ever wants “real companies” to rely on their services, they’d better get a decent way of handling support. Like Bob said, go ahead and charge for it, but at least make it available.

  8. Bill
    I take your point I was being a bit smart.
    If I lost access to my gmail account I’d be in a lot of trouble and I wouldn’t have any expectation of getting much help from google. I mean I pay nothing for it so what do they owe me?
    But the lack of human contact isn’t confined to Google. These days it seems to becoming the norm to never deal with a human being.
    Apple seem to have a different model.

  9. I’d miss google search and google maps (although MS maps via Bing are comparable and for some things better) The rest I could easily do without and would not miss in the least

  10. Actually, you can get support from Google if you pay for Google Domains (for hosting you company email) rather than using the free version. It’s $50 per user, per year. How good that support is I can’t say.

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