Google has done it again.
I’ve written before about Google’s propensity to drop products from their lineup. It’s not just entire products, though – sometimes it’s features.
For example, Google has just removed the feature that enables you to see your Google Photos from within Google Drive.
If you have automatic backup configured within Google Photos, photos that you take on your phone will automatically be uploaded to your Google account and stored in Google’s cloud. Prior to the change, you could view them from within the Google Photos app and from your Google Drive.
You can configure your Google Drive to synchronise with your PC, in the same way that you can with Dropbox and OneDrive. This meant that your photos would automatically download to your PC. Apparently that was confusing, so Google removed the feature and now there’s no automatic way to synchronise photos between your phone and your PC using Google’s services.
Unfortunately, that’s a critical feature for me – I want an automatic local copy of my photos for further editing, or just safekeeping. One of my use cases is screenshots for the blog – when I take a screenshot on the phone I want it to end up on my PC so that I can edit it and add it to a blog post. I want that to be automatic – I don’t want the inconvenience of having to download manually.
It’s not a major problem – I just switched over to OneDrive, which offers that same automatic backup of phone pictures and places them in a folder that is part of my OneDrive and therefore syncs to my PC.
I don’t know why Google couldn’t have kept the feature for users who wanted it and simply switched it off by default. I can’t think of a great reason for removing the feature altogether, other than that Google really doesn’t like users taking their own photos outside of its cloud.
Another example is the current confusion around Google Play Music and Youtube Music. Youtube Music has now replaced Google Play Music as the default music player for Android, but Google Play Music still exists. At the moment, Youtube Music doesn’t have all of the features of Google Play Music and it’s not clear what will happen if and when Google switches it off and migrates subscribers to Youtube Music. Will playlists be carried over? Will it have all of the features by then?
I don’t know why Google couldn’t just add any new features into Google Play Music and then simply rebrand it as Youtube Music.
Much as I like Google Play Music, I now use Amazon Music which – as well as being cheaper for Amazon Prime subscribers – doesn’t have that cloud hanging over it.
It’s another case of Google’s product strategy losing them a customer – and not just for music. Because I use Amazon Music, I’m sticking with the Echo for home voice automation. If I had faith in Google’s music strategy I’d be tempted to switch over to Google Home, as it has some features I’d like to use, but I’m wary of relying on something that might change in the near future.
I like Google products and services. I’d like to use them. I’ve just seen too many examples of Google’s apparent change for the sake of change to want to rely too heavily on anything it makes.
It’s frustrating. Google’s tech is great and arguably ahead of its competitors, but it seems to me that it still has a lot to learn about getting that tech out to customers.in Random Musings