Googlighting Stranger
February 21, 2012 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Your pal Microsoft wants to warn you against the Googlighting Stranger.
posted by Foci for Analysis (61 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I feel safer knowing that Microsoft is looking out for me.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:42 AM on February 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


devil. deep blue sea.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:45 AM on February 21, 2012


Shown on Youtube because Microsoft can't get streaming video right. See: Silverlight embeds, XBox.com. Speaking of sticking to one's day job...
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:49 AM on February 21, 2012 [12 favorites]


[Droopy Dog voice] Lotus Notes also has a perfectly good suite of productivity tools. [/Droopy Dog voice]
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:49 AM on February 21, 2012 [25 favorites]


I've lost count - is this Microsoft's third or fourth attack ad against Google Apps? Funny how the only thing Google put out is press releases every time they make a sale.
posted by GuyZero at 9:51 AM on February 21, 2012


This is a pretty good point about the relative stability of locally-hosted productivity software, said in a really confusing and ineffective way
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:57 AM on February 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


1) Who in Microsoft thought THAT was a good idea?
2) When will a link be posted to a Penguin, a Daemon and as singing Libre-Office who skip down a brick-road made of dead commercial software with an ever-changing background of UIs in the sky to get to a bearded guy who says something about being nothing but a sharecropper? Extra points for being tossed back to Cubeland via a ribbon UI.


And how the hell does this support the Microsoft 365 push?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:12 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Droopy Dog: Lotus Notes also has a perfectly good suite of productivity tools.

If you don't want your productivity suite to work with anything else. Google and MS are nice because of how common they are. Also-runners have to be able to fit within those ecosystems, or are doomed to solitary companies who bought into some sales pitch.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:13 AM on February 21, 2012


I WARNED YOU ABOUT GOOGLE BRO!!!!

I TOLD YOU DOG!

IT KEEPS HAPPENING
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:13 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more
posted by entropicamericana at 10:22 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Advertising 101: never mention your competitor in your ads unless you're really freaking out.

related via df: Microsoft's biggest miss
posted by mullingitover at 10:23 AM on February 21, 2012


I kept expecting soft porn to happen.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:28 AM on February 21, 2012


Advertising 101: never mention your competitor in your ads unless you're really freaking out.

From the very first scene the only thing I can think of is how terrified you have to be as a company to put out this kind of an ad. It looks much more like a political attack ad than a product ad.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:30 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Microsoft: "Google is offering low profile, cloud hosted productivity software! And people are using it! Clearly people are idiots and don't know that bloated, slow, locally hosted software is clearly superior for every use! Anyone who wants something different is just wrong, and we should show them over produced skits to mock them into recognizing the error of their ways. Its clearly impossible that there exists myriad of consumer populations each with different software needs that might not be equally be met by our $300 suite of software."

I love it when companies try improve customer satisfaction issues by telling customers that they are wrong to try other products. It reminds me of that Super Bowl commercial for that phone that had a stylus. Really? You're anticipating widespread consumer backlash against the iPhone based on the fact that it doesn't have enough easily misplaced and redundant peripherals? Yeah, clearly people who enjoy apple products are idiots, you should tell them how dumb they are for having a phone that doesn't have a stylus.

Anyways, I need stability in my spreadsheets and powerpoint, and enjoy some features that I can't get from google, so its not like I'm a partisan in this. But if I owned Microsoft stock this shit would trouble me. All this ad does is convince me the companies management employs a lot of people who are out of touch with increasingly significant portions of the market.
posted by midmarch snowman at 10:31 AM on February 21, 2012


I was sure that this would be a pun on "gaslighting" i.e. Google making you crazy with affected search results. Guess not.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:38 AM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey everybody, remember this show? It was popular in the eighties, like our products. If you were born after that, you might not remember it at all. Bruce Willis is still pretty popular though. He played the Google guy. Whoops! We don't know what we're doing.
posted by condour75 at 10:39 AM on February 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


Am I really the only person who loves this? I hate Microsoft, but that lady is saying all the reasons I think cloud-hosted software sucks. And that Google douche's responses are both hilarious and pretty much how I see Google these days.

"Yeah, that software you're relying on could change at any moment for any reason and you have no say in the matter at all. What could go wrong?"
posted by straight at 10:44 AM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


straight: "Yeah, that software you're relying on could change at any moment for any reason and you have no say in the matter at all. What could go wrong?"

Eh, if we're gonna play the FUD game...
posted by mullingitover at 10:53 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not a fan of Google Apps and need to be able to work offline. But even Google Apps with no internet connection is still better than that gods-damned ribbon. /rage
posted by xedrik at 10:55 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


It feels heavily Tim-And-Eric inspired. Spagett!
posted by codacorolla at 10:57 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The funny thing is, Google's not even really pushing Docs/Spreadsheets/Sites all that much. They're pushing mail, calendar and contacts - in many deployments, the other services are just there for the ride, basically. Heck, quite a few people at Google still use Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

And, if you want to work on docs locally with Google Apps, you can do that - using Google's free CloudConnect plugin. Your work is stored locally and remotely.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:01 AM on February 21, 2012


Eh, if we're gonna play the FUD game...

Yeah, Microsoft's stuff obviously has problems (are you saying cloud software can't have similar security exploits?), but I would hate if my spreadsheet software changed out from under me the way Gmail does. I don't see why you would call that FUD.

MS Office, Open Office, etc, make similar changes, but you can choose whether or not to upgrade--for now. As rough ashlar pointed out, it's pretty crazy and hilarious that Microsoft would make this right as they're launching their own cloud computing crap.
posted by straight at 11:06 AM on February 21, 2012


I don't get it. Isn't everyone still using Ami Pro for word processing?
posted by 1adam12 at 11:10 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow. I'm sort of amused at Microsoft's latest ad campaigns against Google, I'm glad someone's trying to compete with the big G head on. But wow, this ad is awful. Starting with the "Moonlighting" critique; this from Microsoft, a company that has been desperately trying to enter the search and advertising business for years now and has blown over $5.5B dollars failing to promote what is technically a pretty good product. What's "Bing"? The sound of billions of dollars of Office profits disappearing in a puff of marketing smoke.
posted by Nelson at 11:15 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would hate if my spreadsheet software changed out from under me the way Gmail does

Because Excel has never changed its UI between versions.
posted by GuyZero at 11:15 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


straight: "Yeah, Microsoft's stuff obviously has problems (are you saying cloud software can't have similar security exploits?)"

The difference is that Google most likely has a team with Ph. Ds in network and application security that you get to use as your IT team, and they can instantly publish a fix without any action on the user end. Meanwhile MS Office has that guy with a A+ certificate from ITT Technical Institute, or the VP's brother in law, etc, or it depends on you installing that security patch yourself.

straight: "MS Office, Open Office, etc, make similar changes, but you can choose whether or not to upgrade--for now."

Exactly, it's not that Google's necessarily superior, but ultimately it's a question of do you want to rip the band-aid off all at once, or over the span of a year or two?
posted by mullingitover at 11:15 AM on February 21, 2012


but that lady is saying all the reasons I think cloud-hosted software sucks.

And yet - Microsoft would like to get a check from you every month so that is why they have http://www.microsoft.com/Office365Trial

Does Microsoft even have a unified Public Relations messaging platform?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:28 AM on February 21, 2012


Exactly, it's not that Google's necessarily superior, but ultimately it's a question of do you want to rip the band-aid off all at once, or over the span of a year or two?

Being able to control when you upgrade matters a whole heckuva lot if you've got a project you're working on and don't have time to fool with software changes in the middle of it.
posted by straight at 11:29 AM on February 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Too bad Office 365 sucks too. Neither product can really replace some of the complex stuff some people in my company use Excel for. But for documents that aren't too complex, that simply need to be shared and collaborated on, Docs is a cheap solution that works perfectly fine. That said, it's not replacing Office anytime soon for other things. I WISH 365 would. Microsoft, why don't you fix your own freaking product instead of making hipster ads?
posted by melissam at 11:34 AM on February 21, 2012


Microsoft, why don't you fix your own freaking product instead of making hipster ads?

Yeah, imagine the poor programmers who got pulled off the 365 spreadsheet project to make this video.

If Microsoft would just shell out the bucks to hire a few hundred good programmers, they could have that thing fixed in no time.
posted by straight at 11:41 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


straight: "Being able to control when you upgrade matters a whole heckuva lot if you've got a project you're working on and don't have time to fool with software changes in the middle of it."

Is this a valid concern? Where are these cases of Google Docs changing significantly at random and breaking someone's workflow? I'm coming up dry when I look for actual user complaints of Docs changing something and causing even minor annoyance.
posted by mullingitover at 11:45 AM on February 21, 2012


Who in Microsoft thought THAT was a good idea?

I almost think they'd do better PR wise if they just said nothing on anything ever.
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


The difference is that Google most likely has a team with Ph. Ds in network and application security that you get to use as your IT team

And I'd love to see what would have happened if that team with PhDs had tried to write their dissertation using Google Docs.

I mean, I use Google Docs - essentially for a quick note taking app. It's not much more than a text editor with some basic fonts and formatting.

But it is completely, utterly useless beyond that. Google Scholar is great - why doesn't it talk to Google Docs and let me insert citations and format a bibliography? If I create a diagram using the "Drawing" application in Google, I have to save it out to my local hard drive, then upload it to my Google Document. What sort of happy horseshit is that?

Believe me, I'm as desperate to find an alternative to Word as the next guy. I've tried OpenOffice, LaTeX, Scrivener... Google Docs isn't even in the same league as them.
posted by Jimbob at 12:24 PM on February 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


But even Google Apps with no internet connection is still better than that gods-damned ribbon. wow you're still not over that?
posted by mattoxic at 12:42 PM on February 21, 2012


Jimbob: "But it is completely, utterly useless beyond that. "

I dunno, having a free online spreadsheet (somewhat limited though it may be) with access controls is pretty useful for project planning with a group of people spread out over vast distances. And sure, Word is a mature product that offers a lot of essential professional features, but the Docs developers haven't been laid off yet, and in the years to come the distance between Docs and Office will get pretty slim. Meanwhile, as pointed out in the article I linked upthread, Office doesn't exist on iOS and Android and somehow those millions of users have still managed to get things done.

mattoxic: "wow you're still not over that?"

It is pretty fucking horrible. I actually reverted back to Office 2003 at work just to avoid it.
posted by mullingitover at 12:54 PM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Open/Libre Office is a click away if you really want the Office 97 toolbars back.

Personally I like the ribbon, especially the way you can make it fold up when not in use and leave yourself a window that's nearly all page.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on February 21, 2012


And I'd love to see what would have happened if that team with PhDs had tried to write their dissertation using Google Docs.

There you go. Although why you would use it instead of vim is beyond me.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:59 PM on February 21, 2012


alternative to Word as the next guy. I've tried OpenOffice, LaTeX, Scrivener.

LaTex and Scrivener are not even trying to solve the same problem as Word.

LibreOffice is at version 3.5 and Abiword has a collaboration feature. Neither of them do it for ya? How about if we send over Eric Raymond and a smoke machine who can sing and dance?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:10 PM on February 21, 2012


Microsoft has been doing these really weird 'on the edge of sarcastic' internet ads for a while. It's really strange. A lot of their ads 'read' as both sincere and inept and at the same time as a sort of weird mocking of institutional promo videos. Here they stepped it up a notch, where on the surface it's kind of funny, in a really bland way but underneath that it's just so bizarre. So it's hard to tell whether or not the only intended humor is the 'first level' stuff or if the whole thing is a bizarre satire. But if there wasn't the bizarre aspect, the video would never have been linked here, and would never be 'viral'.

So I'm pretty sure the weirdness is getting turned up a few notches in all of these videos. A perfect example is this Songsmith ad. On the one had it seems both straightforward, but also a weird subtle parody of these types of videos. It's not just pure ineptness.

Also, in terms of corporate CEOs and bosses who are going to be making these decisions, of course they're going to remember the 80s.
Advertising 101: never mention your competitor in your ads unless you're really freaking out.
...
I love it when companies try improve customer satisfaction issues by telling customers that they are wrong to try other products. It reminds me of that Super Bowl commercial for that phone that had a stylus. Really? You're anticipating widespread consumer backlash against the iPhone based on the fact that it doesn't have enough easily misplaced and redundant peripherals? Yeah, clearly people who enjoy apple products are idiots, you should tell them how dumb they are for having a phone that doesn't have a stylus.
So, I suppose all those "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads from Apple, preceded by their "switcher" ads were all just an example of desperation and totally didn't work for Apple at all, right?

Come on, it's ridiculous. People do 'comparison' ads all the time. The ads for the Galaxy note are not for people who are in love with the iPhone, but rather people who aren't. If someone thinks the iPhone sucks, and they see an add for something saying the iPhone sucks, they're going to like that product more.
But it is completely, utterly useless beyond that. Google Scholar is great - why doesn't it talk to Google Docs and let me insert citations and format a bibliography? If I create a diagram using the "Drawing" application in Google, I have to save it out to my local hard drive, then upload it to my Google Document. What sort of happy horseshit is that?
It's not word, but how often do you really need Word? Yeah there may be some little helpful feature you need but 99% of the time don't you just need to type something and put in some nice formatting?

On the other hand, if I ever have the need to really make a document look beautiful, I can just type HTML and CSS by hand.

On the other hand, sharing documents with google docs is way better then people emailing docs and .xls files around, or trying to use a file server where only one person can edit a doc or people make tons of multiple copies and you're supposed to look at the 'track changes' nonsense, etc.
It is pretty fucking horrible. I actually reverted back to Office 2003 at work just to avoid it.
I dunno man it seems like some people just don't like change or something. I thought the ribbon was fine. I don't really get why people freaked out about it.
posted by delmoi at 1:15 PM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Does Microsoft even have a unified Public Relations messaging platform?

I think not. (Disclaimer: I work at Microsoft.)
posted by Slothrup at 1:21 PM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jimbob: "But it is completely, utterly useless beyond that. "

I dunno, having a free online spreadsheet (somewhat limited though it may be) with access controls is pretty useful for project planning with a group of people spread out over vast distances.


Ditto. Just being able to quickly create a text document, spreadsheet, or presentation and share it with someone using their Google account is pretty valuable. I use the collaboration features (i.e. chatting to a colleague while working on a shared doc) all the time. Sure, MS has sharing features, but we never used them much at all (only very occasionally with Excel).

My company switched over to Google's corporate apps 1.5 years ago. i can't complain too much. We still have MS Office available, of course, and I occasionally use Word if I am editing someone's work and want to "track changes" and annotate; likewise, I sometimes use Excel if I have a more-than-basic spreadsheet task to accomplish.

99% of the time, Google apps suffice. The biggest problems I've experienced have been server/network-related. Even still, outages/problems have been far, far less than Microsoft Exchange-related outages/failures.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:45 PM on February 21, 2012


The Ribbon has all the same problems as regular menus; you have to flip through categories to get what you want as usual. It tries to bring in some benefits from the toolbar, keeping commonly used functions on the screen a click away... but they only stay a click away as long as you stay on that tab, so it doesn't solve that problem as well as a regular toolbar would. And when you're tabbing through categories like it's a menu, you have to deal with irregularities in the layout of the buttons that wouldn't be there if it were a menu.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:51 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not word, but how often do you really need Word? Yeah there may be some little helpful feature you need but 99% of the time don't you just need to type something and put in some nice formatting?

Undoubtedly true a lot of the time. If people just need a "word processor" with similar features to WordPad, Google Docs is totally the answer. But people scoffing at powerful word processors and saying they have no trouble working in Google Docs clearly don't have my job.

My dispair is purely levelled at Google's word processor, by the way, not the spreadsheet. I can see the spreadsheet is a useful tool. Unfortunately the word processor is a glorified text editor and has shown a glacial rate of improvement.

Should also note that I came across a shared Google doc yesterday that had been taken down because it "violates Googles terms of service". How often does MS Word do that to you?
posted by Jimbob at 1:57 PM on February 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Microsoft has been doing these really weird 'on the edge of sarcastic' internet ads for a while.

I think they've decided, "There's absolutely nothing we can do that the internet won't make fun of us for being clueless and out-of-touch, so let's make ads that are a parody of being clueless and out-of-touch." And of course, that strategy is totally clueless and out-of-touch. "We understand how to use irony, but we don't understand why."

It's not word, but how often do you really need Word?

"80% of the people use 20% of the features. So you convince yourself that you only need to implement 20% of the features ... Unfortunately, it's never the same 20%."
posted by straight at 1:57 PM on February 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Advertising 101: never mention your competitor in your ads unless you're really freaking out.
...
People do 'comparison' ads all the time.

Actually, the Advertising 101 rule is the leader never mentions its competitors in ads. Coke never mention Pepsi, but bashing Coke is a cornerstone of Pepsi's ads. McDonald's doesn't recognize Burger King's name but BK spends a lot of time talking about how much better they are than McDonald's.

Apple's Switch and I'm a Mac campaigns didn't actually say "Microsoft" or "Windows" in them, they just talked about PCs (which technically Macs are PCs but in practice "PC" is Windows). It is similar to what Avis did decades ago with its We Try Harder campaign. They didn't mention Hertz specifically but talked about why they're better than the #1 rental car company. You'll notice that iPhone/iPad/iPod ads never mention competitors at all. Yet, Samsung has a hard time not talking about iPhones and iPads in their marketing communication.

So in this case, Microsoft is the leading brand and it is breaking the "rule" by mentioning its competitor. That is what one means by is sounding desperate.

These videos to me seem like an enterprise marketing department with time and budget to try and be all hip and viral. It seems right now Microsoft is spending ad dollars on TV talking about using Office at home (kids giving ppt presentations on getting a dog or whatever) so maybe it is feeling neglected. And this is a quick and dirty way to somehow respond to what the field sales force might be hearing about people going to Google Docs. Enterprises might still deploy Office to the spreadsheet jockeys that need to hook into Oracle/SAP/etc and use that 5% of Excel that most people don't. But the enterprises might deploy Google Docs to the rest of the organization that don't need those 5% tools.

I use Excel/Word/Powerpoint almost exclusively and have since 1993 even though I switched to Mac in 2002 (for home). I do continue to play around with Google Docs to see where it is. Right now, the Google Spreadsheets web app seems feature complete with Excel 2000. They even have pivot tables now! They hit the 80% of most users as do the other apps in their suite. For most of the daily stuff I do Google Docs would work fine. But Office is at a place right now where I'm not "must buy" when the upgrade comes out, but I'm more reserved. I imagine on the enterprise side, it is the same. Office just doesn't have that killer new features it doesn't have.

Microsoft's problem is its cash cow is getting competition for the first time in many years. Their whole model and how people want to access documents is changing. It wasn't too long ago that Microsoft only had to work within its own silo: assuming that the client would run a Microsoft OS and have Office installed. Even things like earlier versions of Outlook Web Access were limited because the assumption was client would be running IE. So now Microsoft has to do things it didn't think was necessary like writing apps for IOS and Android for Office.
posted by birdherder at 2:46 PM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rules are meant to be broken. Advertising and marketing are not rocket science.
posted by humanfont at 2:51 PM on February 21, 2012


Rules are meant to be broken. Advertising and marketing are not rocket science

I left off quotes around rule above. It is more a "best practice" by leading brands around the world. But the "let's put a video on YouTube" and hope it spreads isn't exactly an established practice. That we're talking about it means it is working. I know I fired up Google Docs on my domain to see what's new in the Office replacement web apps.
posted by birdherder at 3:09 PM on February 21, 2012


Apple's Switch and I'm a Mac campaigns didn't actually say "Microsoft" or "Windows" in them

Pfffffffffffffffffffffffffffff....
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on February 21, 2012


Should also note that I came across a shared Google doc yesterday that had been taken down because it "violates Googles terms of service". How often does MS Word do that to you?
Yeah, that's obviously the big problem with cloud based services. You're not in control of your data.
I think they've decided, "There's absolutely nothing we can do that the internet won't make fun of us for being clueless and out-of-touch, so let's make ads that are a parody of being clueless and out-of-touch." And of course, that strategy is totally clueless and out-of-touch. "We understand how to use irony, but we don't understand why."
Okay but what makes you think they don't "understand why". That's what I don't get about the criticism, you are all assuming that MS doesn't understand what they're doing. But why make that assumption? First of all, it's not a monolithic AI we're talking about. Microsoft obviously hires creatives to do these ads. It seems reasonable that these people understand humor and sarcasm, they probably have humanities degrees and everything.

The other thing, though, is that there's an obvious incentive to make the ads 'wacky' and bizarre, in order to get people to link to them and discuss them. I mean here we are talking about it right? Had they done a straightforward, sincere video, we'd probably never even find out about it.
"80% of the people use 20% of the features. So you convince yourself that you only need to implement 20% of the features ... Unfortunately, it's never the same 20%."
Sure, sure, but do they need those features or do they "need" them. It's like, someone was complaining about the ribbon because they couldn't figure out how to insert the file location of a word document in the footer, so that if you printed it out people would be able to go find the copy on the intranet. But like, that's ridiculous. It's a complete UI failure to even need to know the exact file path, and on top of that why even print it out anyway? With a google doc, you just share it with them directly.

So lets say you're in IT and you have a budget. How much does Office cost per user? How much is Google Docs? Can your employees get work done with docs? Are those features critical for your business?

Also, you can script docs using Javascript (way better then VBA) so it may be possible to have some programmer implement that feature for you if you really, truly need it. (I have no idea how good/crappy the docs API is)

The other problem for microsoft, though, is that what happens when people use Docs for 90% of their stuff, but then turn to old versions office when they need office features. I have a copy of Office I got in 2000, and it still works fine for everything I personally need it for (writing in word and some light spreadsheets. I find excel better then Docs Spreadsheet for personal files, but obviously if I want to share something Docs is way better, especially since I don't need to worry whether or not someone has the right software installed)

So even if people are still using tried and true versions of Office alongside Google docs for sharing things, well, Microsoft is still fucked.
posted by delmoi at 6:25 PM on February 21, 2012


Microsoft's problem is its cash cow is getting competition for the first time in many years.

Note how for years Office didn't do a check in to see if it was pirated. Then - for a few years it did. Once Open Office became a 2.X release, Office stopped checking in on its piracy status.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:22 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I watched the video and got halfway through this thread before I made the Moonlighting connection - and I am old enough to remember Bruce as 'the guy from the Seagrams Wine Coolers commercials'. And I make IT spending and deployment decisions.

Half the 'complaints' the woman in the video were voicing strike me as features. I use Google docs and spreadsheets all the time for simple things - and I use Excel and Word too. I wouldn't send sensitive data up to Google. But I won't do so to Office 365 either - I was literally met with confused silence when I asked if we could restrict access to Sharepoint 365 by source, or if we could scan/block sensitive content, or if any intrusion detection was being run on the service (all regulatory requirements for my employer).

The 365 var was insisting it was secure and we were being silly. I asked him if he'd want me to keep his credit card number on there. "Well, I wouldn't say that."

And the Ribbon is Satan. What drives me batty is options appear and disappear based on the size of the window/monitor - screws my muscle memory all up.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:32 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the plus side, I don't think I've ever heard the word "hosed" sung quite so beautifully.
posted by No-sword at 8:49 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's some Irony, just after defending Docs in general, today I log on to add something to a really old document, and I see a bright read header that says:
This document will soon be upgraded to the latest version of Google documents. Upgrade Now
(Okay, it wasn't blinking:) For a long, long time (probably a couple years) it's been telling me that it was an out of date format, and that I should upgrade. But the new docs format has a page width, while the old format was just however wide your screen was.

Obviously a page width thing is better for editing real text documents, but this was just a random notes file, and I didn't really want a page width on it.

The new docs format lets you chose a page size, but you can only chose between a handful of options. You can't set a custom width.

Now obviously, this isn't going to really affect me at all. But still it's a little ironic that I was just saying "oh docs is fine who needs word?" and then get, well, annoyed at least by a feature being removed the same day :)
Half the 'complaints' the woman in the video were voicing strike me as features. I use Google docs and spreadsheets all the time for simple things - and I use Excel and Word too. I wouldn't send sensitive data up to Google.
Yeah, like I said, that's the problem with 'the cloud'. If I want something easy to access, docs is great. On the other hand, if it's personal, I'd rather have it on my own machine.

What I'd really like is the ability to have personal data spread among all my machines, or possibly uploaded to a server, all encrypted with no ability for anyone to access it but me (or even better: between people who I want to allow access too)
posted by delmoi at 12:55 AM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Google has so much potential with Docs but between the lack of built-in syncing and decent offline use, and the whole features thing... I mean, it is fine for "general use". As long as general use is, like, my grandparents. Not business users. I use it, too, sometimes, for notes I want to save on the cloud, but that's not what they're targeting here. And I can't even vaguely envision trying to implement Docs in any accounting department I've worked in, for example.

I think the bad idea here is that it could practically be a road map for Google of what they need for business users. And honestly, that whole "guarantee that you can continue to access the version with this feature set for as long as you have a computer that will run today's software" thing is one of the big ones. At some point, the cloud doesn't solve everything. If you have to train people who aren't computer-literate in how to do absolutely everything, then you look at the automatic adding of features with absolute horror. Yes, it's lovely that it's free! Features are great! But Jane Smith who is 62 and has been working as an accounting clerk for forty years may need to know exactly what to click on every single time, and if I'm her boss, I don't want to have to re-train her every time something changes. If Jane's my grandma, well, I can probably cope better with just letting her go until she calls me to ask a question.
posted by gracedissolved at 5:15 AM on February 22, 2012


And I can't even vaguely envision trying to implement Docs in any accounting department I've worked in, for example.

Yes. I think people here are vastly underestimating the number of offices in which people who have very little idea how computers work have been set up to use some idiosyncratic system cobbled together with Excel and Word templates by someone who is no longer around. And if a tiny piece of that software were to change out from under them (say, a menu option were to be moved or renamed), the system would no longer work and the people using it would have absolutely no idea how to fix it.

For instance, these completely reasonable-sounding observations:

Sure, sure, but do they need those features or do they "need" them. It's like, someone was complaining about the ribbon because they couldn't figure out how to insert the file location of a word document in the footer, so that if you printed it out people would be able to go find the copy on the intranet. But like, that's ridiculous. It's a complete UI failure to even need to know the exact file path, and on top of that why even print it out anyway? With a google doc, you just share it with them directly.

are completely out of touch with how a lot of offices run. Yes, they need to have that document file location in the footer or their system doesn't work, and telling them that it's a ridiculous system would be completely useless.
posted by straight at 9:03 AM on February 22, 2012


Meanwhile, Dell outdoes everyone else. (fun starts around 2:00)
posted by Burhanistan at 9:10 AM on February 22, 2012


Meanwhile, up the other end of Microsoft: Google: Please Don’t Kill Video on the Web

Interestingly that relates to H264, which back when Google introduced WebM everyone was so sure would never, ever be a problem, making WebM unnecessary. Now it looks like it might be quite a big problem indeed, thanks to Motorola, who have just been bought by, um, Google.
posted by Artw at 11:11 AM on February 22, 2012


Today is your last chance to tell google to forget you (EFF directions)
posted by jeffburdges at 12:44 PM on February 22, 2012


Interestingly that relates to H264, which back when Google introduced WebM everyone was so sure would never, ever be a problem, making WebM unnecessary. Now it looks like it might be quite a big problem indeed, thanks to Motorola, who have just been bought by, um, Google.

Hey, at least they're not being evil, AMIRITE?
posted by entropicamericana at 3:52 PM on February 22, 2012


The Gmail Man ads are actually kind of hilarious
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFCSp23xl40
posted by melissam at 3:58 PM on February 22, 2012


At this point I'm basically thinking there's some intern somewhere at MS that doesn't know that posting things to YouTube makes them public. There's no reason they would WANT the world to see this goofy embarrassing crap.
posted by Artw at 4:12 PM on February 22, 2012


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