We're Listening

Thursday, July 30, 2009 | 6:01 PM

Here at Google, user feedback helps us improve our products. While we love to hear praise on what's working well, the honest direct feedback on what's not working is just as valuable and motivating. We'd like to share a couple of stories about recent product changes that were shaped greatly based on the feedback you have provided in the Google Mobile Help Forum. Hopefully, you'll continue to raise your voice and help us build better and more useful products.


iGoogle for Android and iPhone

In January, the high-end version of iGoogle for Android was discontinued because we felt it was too slow, and users were, instead, redirected to the standard Mobile iGoogle site. At the time, we thought you'd welcome the improvements to speed and stability. We humbly found out that we were wrong. One thread in the user forum received over 350 replies and almost 18,000 page views! Here's what some folks had to say:

"Its not just that the standard mobile verision of iGoogle is weak, its vastly inferior to the optimized version for iPhone..." - mccarrabba


"The mobile version is not good enough. Why should I have to suffer because other mobile devices offer crappy browsers? This is a horribly short-sighted decision." - tewha

Well, we heard you loud and clear. Our team read each of the forum posts, and listened to why the standard version did not meet your needs. Last month, we brought back iGoogle for Android and iPhone and made it better than ever. The new version is faster and easier to use, and there's support for tabs and more of your favorite gadgets. We also now support the in-line display of articles for feed-based gadgets, so you can read article summaries without leaving the page.

We're glad that so many of you voiced your ideas. iGoogle is back and better, and it seems like folks are pretty stoked:

"Personally, I could have cried. And I mean that in a good way. OMG-about time!! I'm leaving on vacation and was for sure I was going to have to take my laptop. Tabs actually work! My gadgets work! Its back! Hip Hip Hooray!" - ktigger2



Google Maps for mobile
Soon after we launched Google Maps for mobile 3.0 and Google Latitude on four platforms (Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian S60), we received some helpful feedback on where improvements could be made and problems fixed.

Keeping in mind the input of many faithful Help Forum posters, we released two updated versions for Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 users in April (version 3.0.1) and July (version 3.2). These versions added new features, like Layers, and included some fixes and new ways to use Maps for mobile that were among the most requested by you. For example, the My Maps feature request received over 2,000 votes on our Mobile Product Ideas page. We also used specific Help Forum conversations to tweak behavior, such as the backlight timeout on Symbian phones, and to fix issues, like copy and paste for Windows Mobile phones.

In June, we also updated Maps in Android Market to Maps 3.1, introducing popular feature requests like Transit directions and Google Search by voice. We've received lots of positive feedback about pushing out these features:

"Not only is this an awesome update, but what an awesome way to distribute!" - matt

In addition to the iGoogle and Maps for mobile updates, your feedback also led to the development of other exciting new features -- for example, labels for Gmail and direct YouTube uploads on Android. Your ideas and requests help us to drive and prioritize new products and features, so please post your thoughts on the Help Forum. As you continue to show us what you care about, we'll continue to listen as we work on our mobile products.




Chris Nguyen & Gabe Garcia, Google Mobile Consumer Operations

17 comments:

John said...

So the help forums are where we can ask questions and make suggestions, where is the appropriate place to generally grovel and beg for updates to Google applications and services for the Palm Pre (webOS)?

Google Maps for the Pre is missing street view, latitude, transit directions, the ability to set favorites, save an address to the contacts app, etc.

Google Reader has a frustrating display bug that often focuses the view in the wrong place (down below the feed item) when opening a feed item or marking all feeds as read requiring frequent scrolling up just to read the feeds.

Google Docs support? A Gmail app? Gears support for offline viewing? Google tasks to sync to device via Synergy?

The Pre has only been out for less than two months, but it needs some Google love pretty bad...

Aneece said...

Can we get a native Windows Mobile Gmail app? Or better yet, add Gmail to Google Sync? Pretty Please?

blippe said...

I wanna whine too:

"The mobile version is not good enough. Why should I have to suffer because other mobile devices offer crappy browsers? This is a horribly short-sighted decision."

Especially when some mobile devices with crappy browser (ie iphone) gets access but i have to fiddle with uiprefs and/or change the identification of the browser... :P

Maff Mace said...

you're listening?

that's great!
but what about those of us who aren't getting responses? I see your staff replying to people all the time but I've never had a single one from Google staff to any of my posts on your forums and I'm still having problems

why am I always ignored?
see here:
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Mobile/thread?tid=25d37c65c38054cd&hl=en

RoboJ1M said...

That's great! But I have to agree with Maff Mace, I posted a bug report 4 months ago and have not even got a 'Thanks, bug noted' reply.

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Mobile/thread?tid=66ab593bc50f8229&hl=en

If it's a Sony bug, that's great too because I can email them.

Thanks,

J1M.

Symbian Guru said...

Great to see updates, but howsabout we not completely ignore the massive number of Symbian devices out there? Specifically the new touchscreen ones, like the Samsung i8910 OmniaHD, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, the Nokia N97, and the upcoming Nokia 5530? All have touchscreens and use a webkit-based browser, just like the iPhone and Android. We're able to force these phones to use the iPhone version of some sites, like Google Reader, but it's not a perfect experience. Can we get these devices added to the auto-detect, so we can enjoy the touchscreen goodness, too?

A Google Voice app for Symbian would rock my face off, too.

Kenny said...

I'm with John on this one. Where is all the HTML5 wizardry you're using for the iphone and android phones for Palms WebOS?! You guys claim you can work fast for the WebOS platform because its using the same web technologies you guys use, but we haven't seen anything done. If you're working on some things, the least you can do is let us know in the blog.

Steven Fisher said...

I actually sort of regretted that whine ("tewha"). After all, it was easy enough to just quit using iGoogle on the phone. But I'm very glad to see it return. Not only is it bookmarked on my home screen, it might just make it to the bottom row.

Robin said...

Hi folks - If you have suggestions for new features, platforms, or integrations we also have a Mobile Product Ideas page that's great for these: http://productideas.appspot.com/#16/e=cf

We realize that not everybody will get a personal response from a Googler in the forum, but we read the posts carefully. We'll try to do better about acknowledging that we've seen and are working on bug reports.

And as a Pre user myself, I'm also looking forward to an improved experience on many Google products in the future! I'll see if there's anything we can share on this front for a future blog post.

Cheers, Robin
(a Google Mobile Guide)

Andy said...

Hi, I would really love it if someone at Google could look at this item on the help forums.. http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Mobile/thread?fid=25013a7744eb9cf80004703c7560c997&hl=en

cheers!
Andy

Michael said...

Ditto what John said...

So the help forums are where we can ask questions and make suggestions, where is the appropriate place to generally grovel and beg for updates to Google applications and services for the Palm Pre (webOS)?

Google Maps for the Pre is missing street view, latitude, transit directions, the ability to set favorites, save an address to the contacts app, etc.

Google Reader has a frustrating display bug that often focuses the view in the wrong place (down below the feed item) when opening a feed item or marking all feeds as read requiring frequent scrolling up just to read the feeds.

Google Docs support? A Gmail app? Gears support for offline viewing? Google tasks to sync to device via Synergy?

The Pre has only been out for less than two months, but it needs some Google love pretty bad...

Seton said...

Another WebOS user - we need real Google Maps, and other Google Apps...

micheal said...

very nice......

Jeremy said...

PLEASE if you are listening I am shouting!!

this app is not downloadable in the Hong Kong app store and its a pain in the butthole too see such great advances in this app and not be able to use it!!!
please publish it in HK app store...google has links to the apple app store for download but they dont work.
because it is never in the hong kong app store at all...
thanks..
p.s. i m very tired looking for notebook apps that sync with google docs...i use that very much and it would be nice to be able to use it in my iphone too
thanks thanks thanks

piershaw said...

Google Maps is working
on my X-tc cell phone but the zoom will never work because it asked that you use (1) and (3) and I can not select the number keys on the keyboard because the program dose not allow to change case, numbers or symbols

QueBall said...

Would be nice to see some information/confirmation about when or if an update to fix the GPS problems on the Blackberry 4.7 OS devices will be produced.

Users on Sprint, Bell, and Telus using the new Storm 9630 cannot get an accurate GPS location despite most other third party programs having no troubles. I think the Storm 9530 is having the same problems and it is also an OS 4.7 device. I assume something about the location API changed in version 4.7 of the OS or else it would have worked. I have heard that Verizon users may have working GPS location but I wouldn't be surprised if Verizon is doing some kind of hack to their PDE server so that it reports the location data using the old data format since no other carrier seems to have it working and all these same carriers have no problem with other third party GPS apps.

I know that on Telus it works on the 8830, 8330, and 8130 (assuming you have programmed the PDE server address on the 8330 and 8130 which left the factory with those settings blank for some reason)

Craig said...

Hi! I recently purchased a BB Curve 8900 from T-Mobile. I was so excited to find the Google Mobile App. But, after 5-6 uses, I consistently got the "white screen of death" and had to reboot and then do it all over again. I have seen this same issue mentioned (identically) in a number of forums on at least this particular model BB. Are you aware of this bug and should I continue to watch for an updated release?

Thanks!

Craig