Tuesday, December 18, 2007

RANT: Google Screws Up

Anyone using Google Reader probably already knows about the new "share with friends!" bug feature, that sends your shared items to everyone you've ever chatted with in Gmail (and more, since the folks that were getting my shared items were people I'd never actually chatted in Gmail with before, but Google won't admit to this). Apparently, some spammers have already taken advantage of Google's crappy coding and started inserting their feeds into unsuspecting people's readers.

That's not the bad part. The bad part is that Google neglected to put in an "OFF" button for the bug feature. So some people are getting spam THAT THEY CANNOT TURN OFF.

Google claims that to turn it off you just have to delete your shared items, but that only prevents people from reading what you've shared. In order to get rid of unwanted feeds from other people, you have to delete your contacts. Which is what I did. I deleted my entire Google contacts list AND all my shared items. For some people, who use Gmail for work purposes, that's not an option.

Google has really screwed this one up.

And their response when people complain? "Oh, only your friends can see it, and you just have to delete your shared items if you don't want to share!" Um, excuse me? We're talking about stuff being pushed into our readers without us subscribing to it. You aren't even addressing the problems people are reporting.

Look, I understand that Google wants to compete with Facebook and MySpace and whatnot. But forcing a social networking bug feature onto everyone using a freakin' RSS reader, without consulting the users and without the ability to opt-out (or at least be selective of what to send and receive), is NOT the way to do it.

I call "evil" on this one. Google has done something that truly sucks for the end users, and won't fix it. I think I may just have to go back to Bloglines now. I apologize to anyone who went to Google Reader after I recommended it. I never expected them to pull such a completely moronic act.

UPDATE: Playing with Bloglines Beta, and some of the more annoying problems with Bloglines have been fixed in this newer version. I'm definitely thinking of switching back now.