Friday, January 27, 2012

Google - Best to Worst

At one point of time, Google was the best in everything, and there was no feature that could have been developed in a better way. I don't know, what happened in the recent time (don't know whether the changes in the top management effected this or not), Everything is becoming worse, and one had to continue with google, since there is no other competitor for most of the things.

Gmail - The new interface is very bad. I don't know who is the new program manager for Gmail. It seems, he/she gets one or two mails per day. That's why, he/she might have designed that way. The old program manager designed gmail for heavy load. They might have fired him/her to save the cost.

Google Reader - All comments of gmail are applicable to reader as well. They removed sharing feature to promote plus. So, those who read others' shares have to visit plus to read. Even then, it won't share the entire post. It would share only the first few lines, and the user has to visit the original site to read it.

Blogger - Initially, they made the interface worse for the advanced users. Now, they changed it to make it usable for advanced users also. Still, In the new interface, they have given more preference to icons rather than text. If I see New Post and the corresponding icon, I always would act faster for the text rather than the icon. [Don't know, whether some doctor would call this as a disease or not.]

Buzz - I don't know what made them to kill Buzz. But, it was the most simple interface, and only because of that, visitors to my blog has increased by many times.

I am still using the old interfaces for gmail and blogger. I could not find any way to use the old interface for google reader.

Security - Previously, Google has given the maximum preference to the security of the user's accounts. Now, it seems, they are least bothered about it.

Android OS - (Tested with Samsung Galaxy i5510). When you login to the gmail account from mobile, it stores the password. One cannot sign out, and removal of the password is also not possible. One has to do restore to factory settings to actually remove it. User can login to a dummy account, and from there, they can add another account, by which they can login to gmail and others. When they are done, they can remove that account. But, the problem is, till, you remove that account, it stores the password. If you lose the phone, when the account was added, they would get the access to the entire account. One has to change the password in that case. Or one has to enter the password, everytime, they want to access their account, and remove the account, once they are done. It is too tedious for anyone who worries about security.

There was one old gmail app from google, which works in Nokia, that does not store the password. It stores only the cookie. So, the user can access the gmail account at any time without entering the password. Since, it stores only cookie, we can remotely sign-off, in case we lose the phone. But, I cannot find that app now.

Another worst thing is, once you change the password, you cannot reuse the old password.

Google App Engine:

To upload any application in google app engine, you cannot use a browser. You have to upload it from command prompt/eclipse or other tool. When you use command prompt, while uploading, it asks for the username and password of the gmail account. Once you enter the username/password, anyone from that system/login can update the same application without entering the password again. It stores the cookie in the system and google never says where the cookie is stored. The cookie would expire after the time period that is set in the settings of the google app engine. The time period varies from 1 day to 2 weeks.

In windows, it stores the cookie and email id in Registry in HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software -> JavaSoft -> Prefs -> com -> google -> appengine -> tools -> admin

In Linux, it stores in ~/.java/.userPrefs/com/google/appengine/tools/admin/prefs.xml file.

If we delete those, then while updating the application, it asks for username and password again.

Credit Card details:

If you are having paid version of any service from gmail, then to renew it, you have to store the credit card, or should be ready to bring down your service for some time.

Any service provider would give option to renew their service before the due date. But, google does not give that option. You have to store your credit card details in the account, and on that specific date/time, it would charge your credit card. If your credit card does not work on that date for any reason, your service would be disrupted. If you do not want to store the credit card at all, then one day before, you have to cancel the service, and immediately take the service. But, during that process, the service may be disrupted.

Google says the data they store is secure. But, they made everything else as very insecure. For those who do not know how the google authentication/security works, if they login to google account from android mobile, or login to app engine or give their credit card details in a shared gmail account, then there is no security to their account/credit card.

Since Google is indispensable, and there is nobody in the competition, we have to live with these. There is no other option.

Thanks to Michael and Rajesh Tiruveedula

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