It’s been interesting to watch GOOG loose 200 points and hardly a mention… it’s almost like Barack Obama and Tony Rezko, it doesn’t fit the narrative so let’s ignore it.
More significantly, we are now seeing analysts downgrade GOOG, something that is certainly a new phenomena for the company. But this post isn’t about schadenfreude, it’s about inflection points.
Google has had an amazing ride so far and one that has been remarkably free of perilous moments. What we are witnessing now is the, I believe, defining moment for this company. We will see if they really are different from all other publicly traded companies because while it’s easy to ignore Wall Street when your stock defies gravity, it’s a lot harder to do so when your employees are bitching about their options.
While GOOG’s market cap at $161 billion isn’t going to create chaos at the Googleplex, it is moving in the wrong direction at the very moment they can least afford it. Will the company pare back on the many perks that the company is well known for? Will Eric Schmidt have to start making the hard choices that CEOs have to make in order to meet expectations and manage investors? We will see but let’s put all this into perspective by recognizing that this is a company that disappointed analyst expectations because the earned $4.43 (excluding option expense) a share instead of $4.44…
On my own… no thanks to Google. I was unable to get to the gmail login screen even after blowing out the cache, deleting the cookie, doing a dance and sacrificing a baby goat. The gmail community forum was useless and absent of any apparent contact mechanism I put out a call for help here and on Twitter.
Thanks to Zoli, Jake, and Steve for stepping up to help with Google contacts.
As I was writing an email to Jeff Huber I had a thought… what if I went into another Google app and tried to backdoor into gmail? So into google docs I went, clicked on the gmail link and whatdayaknow, it loaded. It is still a mystery why the app thought it was undergoing maintenance and would not reset.
To be really objective, this isn’t a big inconvenience, the sun still rose this morning, but what this does suggest is that Google’s apps are starting to show some cracks. Indeed, I received several emails from people saying that they have noticed unexplained behaviors in Google apps and suspect performance in recent months.
Google’s greater ambitions of gaining significant application market share will surely be frustrated if the company doesn’t rethink their approach to customer support. Simply put, it is awful. Being free shouldn’t mean fend for yourself… they are getting paid for these apps, just not by users.
Ever since Google turned on IMAP in Gmail I have noticed some general service weirdness that is not easily explained:
1) Performance has swung from great to unusable in the online version. Today it’s moderately slow.
2) IMAP with Apple Mail is generally reliable but unreliable with enough frequency to make me cross my fingers when I open it. I’ve had to rebuild my mailbox twice in the last month in an attempt to right things.
3) Performance in IMAP is terrible, I am right now downloading messages into my inbox at a data rate of between 25-190k. It is also wanting to download far more messages than are in my inbox and folders, which I presume means it is downloading spam messages as well. Were it not for the fact that POP ain’t great in Gmail either, I’d go back to that.
4) For reasons I cannot explain, Google Groups has been having hiccups delivering messages to me. A couple of weeks ago I received this automatic message from Groups: “Over the past several days, Google Groups has had difficulty delivering messages to your email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’re sending this message to see if your email address is once again accepting mail.”. Which indeed was something I noticed because groups I subscribe to we not generating their usual message traffic but I could see the messages in the Groups web interface.
Am I alone? Anyone else noticing problems with Gmail?