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Just so the Googlers out there know, the addition of the Play menu item on the Google menu bar with a red "NEW" is about as tasteful as Netscape's blink tag. If you have so much trouble having people come and play your games, that you need to visually spam us all, it shows that you are either desperate or lost. What is more annoying is that they include games for Android. I have an Android device, and there is a nice Google store there... if you want to sell me games, go market them there... stop annoying me all day long with your freaking games. That's not how Google made its money. If Google goes down this path, it is all downhill afterward. Yes, I know, Google decided to bet the farm on Android and it is not working out well with Apple and Amazon making life difficult. People are getting desperate. Well. Tough. But you are not going to get out of this hole with 1995-style advertizing.

At least, try to be tasteful about it, like you used to be.

Signed: a pissed user.

/cc +Philippe Beaudoin
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17 comments
 
I agree but at the same time I couldn't help but think: "First World Problems". :)
 
I think Google definitely made a mistake, because you're pissed at them, but not even for what they actually did. Play is the new name for the Android Market that you just mentioned as an alternative. Except that it is now merged with their market for music and books and movies that aren't for android. So the "New" "Play" button is very much in its right place up there, just that naming it Play confuses people and makes them think only about games.
 
+Leonardo Hagmann it does imply that all content in there is of an entertainment nature, be it games or movies or books or music. I think they made a mistake putting the blazing red "new" next to it (semi-permanently?) rather than just a once-only notification popup and then blending in with all the other links.
 
I agree that the "new" tag could have been implemented more elegantly/temporarily (though I am sure they'll take it down in a week or so), but I thought the bigger issue here is the placement of the Play up there in the first place, which I think is just as relevant as any of the other components up there, and not android specific.
 
+Leonardo Hagmann Whatever this thing is, I don't get it. it looks like a gaming. But they obviously feel the need to promote the h*ll out of it, for whatever reason. They look desperate, if you ask me.
 
+Daniel Lemire It is actually quite useful. If you look in the "books" section, you can buy ebooks of many out of print academic books, presumably coming from the scans they did for Google book search. This is the only legal way of getting your own copy of some of these titles. Unfortunately, the prices are somewhat ridiculous, but that probably has more to do with the copyright holders than with Google.

I have also used the movies section. There are some quite interesting documentaries and it is a decent option for one-off rentals if you don't have a Netflix account. It also works in the UK, which is great because Amazon streaming is not an option over here yet.

You don't need an Android device for these two things, so I think it is appropriate for it to be in the title bar. However, I agree that the "Play" branding is a mistake. Something like "Google Store" or "Google Market" (instead of Android Market) would have been better.
 
+Matthew Leifer I'm fine with all that. I'm happy that Google has new products. I'll gladly send them my money. My beef is with their new approach to marketing. I don't like it.
 
The thing is, google is doing impressive stuff in terms of productivity by integrating all these platforms. If they just allowed people to find the relevant integrations they would be pleasant surprises rather than annoying distractions.

With chrome on android I now have instant sync with my laptop. In addition to sharing bookmarks across platforms I now have instant access on my phone to any tabs I open on my laptop. That is really useful and all the more pleasing when it is discovered serendipitously...
 
They can't really win. Someone is going to hate whatever they do. If they "let people discover them serendipitously" then people who take forever to discover them would be mad they weren't notified. Now with publicity people are pissed about ubiquitous marketing. It's a fine line. I still meet people that have no clue about how cool google docs is. I feel like google should just rent cheap airtime on TV during the usual infomercial hours and put up like hour long intros into all the capabilities of it's online suites/platforms.
 
I don't know in Canada, but here in Japan, that button is as useful as a pack of kittens sitting on my desk. Let me elaborate on that:

Here in Japan, we do not have access to the Google Books store nor the Music store, rendering those 2 parts of the app effectively useless. I do have access to my android apps, which, as +Daniel Lemire well said ,has no place in my desktop.

We also have access to a poor collection of videos that you can rent for 4 USD /72 hours. In a country where renting a video is as cheap as 1 USD/week and buying it costs about 5 USD it's just a bad market strategy. They not only had a terrible idea with this play thing, they are applying it terrible to other markets than US.
 
I agree wholeheartedly that it is disappointing these services are not available in many countries, but that is more the content producers/owners fault than Google's. Just as it took a long time for Spotify to make it's way to the US, I think eventually Google will be able to make the business case for expanding distribution rights more internationally. The movie rental prices really shocked me too, but once again I don't think it's Google doing the price-gouging here, and it's more likely that rental licenses become standardized across online distribution channels so the discrepancy between netflix/itunes/google becomes smaller.
 
+Leonardo Hagmann Right. Google has good prices. But here is another issue. Google ought to know a lot about me. Yet it recommends some best-seller books I'll never buy. Come on! They have my G+ stream, all my email... and the best they can do is Danielle Steel??? It's 2012. If you want to do some e-commerce, you need a recommender system. Google has the smartest machine learning people on the planet. They have the technology. They have the expertise. And all they can come up with is Play? Something does not smell good here. This feels like classic MBA thinking. "Let us push this to our users." This is not Google-like.
 
To be fair google has the best NLP people, the best ML people are in Microsoft and Yahoo (statistical ML at least). But I agree, is terrible that while I am reading a mail about NLP, the best thing Google can do is to recommend online universities, even though it ought to know im currently enrolled in a course.
 
I love the disconnect between people that are scared of google violating their privacy, and people that EXPECT google to use the things it should know about them to give them certain offers. I also fall into the latter category, but not sure if Google is allowed too yet, congress would probably freak out. At the same time, there's a chance that the online university or the daniel steele publisher just bought a batch of user profiles or email content clouds to advertise on, similar to adwords, and it's less about what the user wants to see than about who the advertiser paid to advertise to. But I don't know nearly enough about that process and the legal ramifications to do more than speculate.
 
+Leonardo Hagmann What do you mean "congress would freak out"? Google and Amazon, and others like Facebook, are actively profiling us. There is nothing illegal about it. It is not even unethical. Of course, there are smart and not-so-smart way to present it to the user. This is also not new. Good salesmen have been profiling their customers for centuries. It is simply good business to offer what is most likely to get bought. Of course, you can and probably should do it in a way that does not scare people. It would be stupid to say "our model says you are having an affair, can we interest you in these sexy clothes?" Also, you should give people control over the information you do keep about them, and you should allow them to delete the information. It is totally ok for someone to tell Google "please don't track me, don't keep a record of me". Google should honor these requests. But most people want a personalized service...
 
+Daniel Lemire I mean that if you ahem, google, "google congress privacy" or any other such combination, you get links like this http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2012/01/google-defends-new-privacy-policy-to-congress.html where it talks about what google could and could not do with information it gathers about you. As you can see the new privacy policy just went into effect this month, and prior to that Google did not cross-pollinate its user information. It also shows how finicky congress is about these issues, as does the slew of links I saw on facebook and G+ right around march 1st that gave recommendations to clear all your google data before the new privacy policy etc etc. It's just a hot topic that's all. I agree with you that as long as you give users significant controls people shouldnt act so alarmist.
 
Hehe +Daniel Lemire, a little research before ranting! As has been mentioned it is the single location for ALL content now (Apps, Music, Movies, etc), it has nothing to do with Google trying to get you to play games. I find it very useful - find app in Play -> send to phone. The navbar should be customizable though, most definitely.
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