Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dear Google: Why me?



It is hard not to feel a little paranoid that Google have not, quite simply, got it in for me.


The saga begins in January. After testing and experimenting over a number of years with different email clients and configurations I finally felt I had arrived at a moment of almost transcendental synchronosity. I had my Thunderbird email client rigged up to receive all my email accounts as IMAP, and my work email was synchronised with my Google calendar via a nifty wee sync program called 'Google Sync' produced by Google for the purpose.  All my calendars were therefore synchronised together into a perfect harmony. For a blissful few months of trouble-free 'being organised'

Then on 30th January Google announced it would be withdrawing Google Sync and the whole house of cards collapsed in on itself.  I have managed to re-build some usability through Davmail - a little program which sits in-between your email client and Exchange - but I have spent many hours again trying (fruitlessly) to find alternative ways of reconciling my different calendars.

One way around the problem was to start using my Google calendar as a mechanism for organising my work time instead of dull old, isolated, Microsoft Exchange. After all, Google Mail calendars had a lovely option of posting events as 'Appointment Slots', which means other people can access and book slots - like for tutorials or meetings - on my Google calendar without actually having access to my personal data.

Marvellous.  If the cancellation of Google Sync meant that I could not synchronise my Exchange Calendar, then this meant that I could pretty much simply ignore my Exchange Calendar altogether!

And then, again at the end of January, Google withdrew the Appointment Slots option.

Bugger.  Back to the proverbial drawing board.

Still, at this point I was finding it difficult to be too angry at Google.  After all, I had just discovered a wonderful Google tool which made me feel a fool for not finding earlier. Google Reader was a fantastic way to subscribe to all my rss feeds (news websites, events updates, blogs, etc.) in one handy place. It was so easy to use and so flexible it was hard to imagine how I had managed without it all these years.

I happily signed up to all my various sources of information, and then used Google Reader's brilliant flexibility to feed those sources into my mobile phone, my blog, my VLE profile, etc..

Marvellous.

Then in March of this year, Google announced it would be 'retiring' Google Reader.

Dammit all.

What have I done to upset them?  Are they watching me, and merrily just cancelling anything I start to enjoy?  I am now half expecting Google to next announce that all they are pressurising governments to make coffee an illegal substance, to have all P. G. Wodehouse novels banned and (of course) to cancel Christmas.

Just a heads up then folks.  I have been using the Google search engine quite a lot lately...

...you have been warned.