Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bloggers using Google's Chrome browser find themselves locked out of their own websites (find the solution here)

One of the fastest growing browsers is Google's Chrome, both for PCs and Macs. Chrome's market share is almost 12 percent of all Internet traffic.

The browser uses the same Webkit layout engine used by Safari, which is why I exclusively use just these two browsers. In general, I still prefer Safari for some things, but two things make Chrome a great choice: the browser does not get hung up on my Mac (the spinning volley ball effect) and its built-in translation engine is hugely useful when looking at non-English media websites and tablet and mobile apps.
But if you are someone who uses Google's own Blogger service AND a Chrome user you may have been locked out of your website the past few days. Users trying to log into their accounts have been kicked out endlessly, complaining on Google forums that nothing they do seems to help, except using any other browser other than Chrome.

It turns out that there is a solution, but like many things related to computers, it is sometimes frustrating to discover, even if ultimately easy.

If you are one of those suffering with Chrome right now the solution is this: go under Preferences, then "Under the Hood", and then "Clear Browsing Data". When you reached this point you need to clear out all history, empty the cache and delete cookies (or at least the Blogger cookie). Restarting the browser then returns it to a functional state.

The worrying thing is that Google continues a complete lack of customer service savvy. In the case of a problem like this one, it is often the case that users find and distribute the technical solution quicker than the company. This is often the case with Apple, as well, as any look inside their discussion boards will point out. But Apple customer service has always considered to be top notch, and their developer customer service I find really responsive.

Unfortunately, if Android is to be as reliable a platform as iOS, then Google needs to radically change their attitude towards their customers. I have at least three outstanding, unresolved problems with Google's platforms that date back well over a year – none of which have been resolved, and two of which are resulting in no business being conducted at a loss for both TNM and Google. I do not expect any of these issues to be resolved simply because when it comes to Google there is simply no one there, no one to contact, no obvious solution.

I think this lack of individual customer care is a symptom of the way Google wants to do business: lots of volume, little time or energy wasted on individual accounts. It makes sense when you consider the business the company is in: lots and lots of small transactions adding up to an enormous business.

Apple, however, needs to maximize profits from a smaller user base, something it has lived with concerning its Macintosh business of years. As a result, developers have generally found iOS to be the easy platform to develop for (leaving aside all technical issues). But where Apple encounters higher volume it starts to bog down, its app approval process being a good example. That is why I have argued that Apple needs a better, more responsive media-app team to smooth out issues between media firms and Apple.

What the solution for Google is I don't know. It would difficult for customers to convince the company to invest in more customer care when it looks like something that would only add costs. But ultimately, if Google doesn't want to end up being perceived simply as the new Microsoft it will have to improve in this area.