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Tad P
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Last night's walk with Mason.
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An Open Letter to Google - from one random consumer.

Dear +Google,

I am a random consumer in every sense of the word "consumer". I have been consumed by Google's services and devices since the days of 2GB +Gmail that needed invitations to use. I remember waiting in line outside of a Verizon Store for a Galaxy +Nexus when it came out. I had a physical +Google Wallet cardI used Google+, a lot. Not so much anymore.

I always thought Google products helped me in my life. I followed every +Android enthusiast website and blog I could find in order to learn more about your services.

Lately however you seem to have lost focus on what brought users into the Google ecosystem. You seem to think that its quality services as software, and while that is a huge facet of the appeal of Google - it is by far not the only one.

We, the users, whose data you mine and sell to your customers, use Google Services and ecosystems because they presented the best value proposition to us. Most of the Google offerings were free - and those that were not free, were at least reasonably priced. The now dead nexus line was a fantastic example. The phones were reasonably priced and offered great value for what they were. They were not flagship level phones by any means, but they were a great value. They also gave us unfettered Google services - free of the interruption by carriers with timely, if not fully tested system updates.

Some of the latest products by Google have missed the value proposition mark in my honest opinion. These would be Allo and the Pixel phones. In my opinion, both of these products are meant to showcase what you really want to sell your customers (not users): Google Assistant.

I know what you're saying "Allo is free! How is it not a great value?" The issue with Allo isn't with with currency, but rather with the cost of getting your friends and family to actually install and use the damn thing. The core issue with Allo is that there is no adoption ramp. There's absolutely no incentive for a person, on iOS running iMessage to stop using that all-inclusive app and start using Allo. I know you're saying "but but Assistant!!!" - I'll get to that later. The fact that Allo does not have native SMS support, or a whole bevy of other core messaging features simply indicates to me that Google's app requirements specification for Allo had "Get users in front of Assistant" first and foremost and not "make it easy for users to connect to others no matter what chat platform they were using."

Then I come to the #Pixel phones. I'm sure that you are quite proud of these phones. They look like iPhones so I'm sure that makes people automatically assume that they're quality devices -- and by all early indications they seem to be a fine quality devices. And then there's the "but"...
But they lack many features that +Nexus and +Android fans have become accustomed to over the years. Things like front facing stereo speakers, large screens, waterproofing, SD Card support, WIRELESS CHARGING (I could write a post that literally doesn't end about the sheer stupidity of ditching wireless charging as a standard feature). The phone could run the best, greatest, most intuitive software in the world, but as long as its missing core hardware features, it is not going to be seen as a great value proposition. At the Apple-like prices that you're asking for these phones, it becomes a simple decision for anyone evaluating the devices on spec sheets and build quality alone. Apple and Samsung are able to offer world class support of their devices. I know that anytime I want to call Google Support, I'm better off just, well, googling my issue instead. Google doesn't know how to do end user support, period. I know you're saying right now "but but but ASSISTANT!!!"

Yes yes, Assistant.

From Sundar's speech, its quite clear that Google has a great amount of faith in Google Assistant. It looks like it has great promise. Being able to book an OpenTable reservation or summon an Uber are great things. However, they are party tricks. Novelties. The apps themselves, (OpenTable and Uber) are already easy and quick to use. On the whole, while Assistant is "helping" me by doing it by voice, the minimal effort required to perform those tasks manually doesn't really give me a compelling reason to invest in your expensive hardware. Other than these extensible actions that you've demonstrated, I don't see any Assistant features that aren't already present in the Google Now application that I currently use on my Nexus 6P. I really wonder if you guys in Mountain View actually get out and observe how people use their phones in real life - instead of just sitting around wishing how they could be used. Assistant might turn into the greatest AI based tool in modern computing, but right now it looks just like a scripting engine for pre-defined inputs - and when it doesn't know what to do its just going to do what Siri does "This is what I found on the web.." Finally there is Google's terrible track record of product support. The list of google products that have died a premature death is too voluminous to add to my already lengthy post - but asking us to invest in something that could die on the vine before next year (COUGH*OnHub*COUGH*Nexus Q*COUGH) is quite brazen of Google.

In short, Google needs to show us that Assistant is worth using before trying to get us to pay $650 for a small screened phone with a very short list of compelling hardware features. It has to show us that Assistant is worth having google intrude in our personal conversations and is worth using a separate app, away from all of the other messaging apps floating around the various ecosystems. You have to show us users the value of your service before asking us to give you that hard earned dollar.

Please right the ship. There are tons of talented people at Google I'm sure - but you have to make their hard work worth using, or else my personal data is going to belong to anothers' ecosystem sooner rather than later.

Sincerely,
-A random user


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Fishing at two lights yesterday. Fog rolled in quick.
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Last night my neighbors lighthouse was perfectly framed by the moon.
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http://www.pressherald.com/2015/10/12/leavitt-football-player-recovering-from-spleen-injury/

My wife saved a kid's life on Saturday.  She's so awesome.

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I rejoined Google+ just to express just how obnoxious that Patriots circle jerk trophy parade was for the NFL season opener.
Excuse me while I vomit. 
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