We asked our Google-savvy readers which of the big G's apps and features need fixing, and quite a few had some constructive criticism to offer. Here's some of what they'd like to see fixed or fortified.
Doug Nelson griped about Google's rather commercial take on "Universal Search":
If a page shows in their Shopping listing, it should not also show in their regular search listing. The regular search is so polluted with sales pages, it's just about useless for searching on many topics.
That complaint? Fixed two days after he made it. Never let it be said that complaining in the comments didn't fix anything!
gzilla37 proved that even when Gmail and iGoogle find a way to work together, they subtly undermine one another:
I like that they made the Gmail widget in iGoogle work with "always https," but now my wife and I have to sign into Gmail again after we click on the gmail widget to get from iGoogle to our inboxes. That's kind of absurd.
darklighter sings whine-y music right into our RSS-obsessive ears:
Google Reader's read/unread status gets a little wonky sometimes. I'll have read an item, but when I refresh, it still shows up as unread, despite not being listed in the unread items count. Or the unread items count will be nonzero, even when there are no unread items. Drives me mad.
TheFu has a bigger-picture problem with Google—namely, how it makes money (data-driven advertising) and its responsibility to those using its services:
Data retention and privacy needs to be improved.
They shouldn't keep any data longer than 1 hour. There should be an "opt-in" if I'd agree to be tracked.
Google is a single subpoena away from telling any government or lawsuit everything they know about you. If they weren't so popular, I wouldn't have an issue. Going forward, I'd be surprised if **every** lawsuit didn't include a subpoena to google going forward.
Adam Beutler makes us wonder why what he's asking for isn't something taken care of three years ago:
My vote would be to be able to customise the bar above (gmail/Reader/Docs) etc. I would like to pick what is important and get rid of stuff I don't use (sites/web). This same list of apps should display in the same order on every page including the basic google search page.
delic8genius starts the ball rolling on the Google Contacts dilemma, and naturally draws a few others over to his campfire:
delic8genius: Give me an EASY way to see the difference between my "My Contacts" list and my "All Contacts" list.
Jeremy Couch: +1 for that. Contact/Profile management is Google's Achilles heal. They really could be the biggest social network overnight if they fixed this one area.
deak21: +2. The "doh" factor: distinguish first and last name. My mother language and several others use the order last name then first name, just the opposite of the English order.
Also, making everyone you've ever been in touch with a contact defeats the point of a contact list (as long as you have the capacity to find one-off emails as with Gmail).
We'll go ahead and pretend Team Google's going to get right on those items. In the meantime, if this fix-it list inspired your own gripes, or (even better!) you've got a solution for any of them, sound them off in the comments.