While I admire what Google has done in providing the Picasa photo editor for free and allowing users to post 1GB of images on Picasa web for free I find the degradation in display quality of images to not be worth the hassle. At first I thought it was just my eyes. Or maybe I was tired. So I posted identical images to both sites and confirmed what I was afraid. When Flickr resizes images for display on their photo page there is little, if any, degradation to the image quality. When Picasa performs the same resizing for display I find the colors of my images to be completely destroyed. Even when magnified the image that is shown does not display the same vibrant colors as the original or the one posted to Flickr. This is too bad.
Perhaps Google has taken on too many things. The engineering staff has become so large and projects so diverse that Google itself has turned into the proverbial “bright idea” list whose ingenious inventions never come to fruition either because they are never started or they are started and the mind of the genius is soon distracted to other ideas leaving incomplete projects. Great ideas, poor implementations. I can think of three examples Google has provided us with. Picasa web, Wave, and Buzz.
While Picasa web originally looked to be the only viable competitor to Flickr it failed to provide the same level of social interaction and sharing (not to mention horrible image quality degradation). Then came Wave. What to say about Wave? Will it be in beta for years like Gmail was? How much longer will users be forced to collaborating only with other users Google chooses to give access to Wave? Limited, yet open, release of such a collaboration tool hardly makes it a real world collaboration solution. Google keeps enhancing it, but has yet to release it into the wild.
Most recently there is Buzz. This one leaves me speechless. If another Google manager exclaims users don’t want privacy the entire Google staff should be forced into completely opening every aspect of their online lives. Every intricate detail. Somehow I don’t think they would continue to feel users don’t expect or want privacy. What’s the point of Buzz anyway? I’ve got a couple dozen followers, none of whom I know (or ever heard of prior to Buzz), and weekly Buzz’s from those I follow are down to an average of one. Many of the Buzz’s I received were just replications of Twitter or blog posts. No need to feed me the same information multiple times. I got it the first time (or knowingly chose to ignore it).
And thus is the status of the Google Juggernaut. A series of most likely fabulous ideas poorly implemented leading to lack of user confidence and searches for other, more robust and reliable solutions. As with almost all great technology companies that made the leap from private to public, catering to the almighty dollar and will of the shareholders will continue to overpower solid innovation and worthwhile progress. So this post has turned into a general Google rant. So be it.