So it’s pretty much agreed: Google doesn’t particularly care about you, the end user:
“Real names, they say, turn out to be the names on your driver’s license and your passport and your credit cards so that they can track you. Are you happy to be a product?”
Ultimately, his charge was one that Google has seen many times before: that it is a machine which needs humans but doesn’t like them very much. Whether it’s in its social networks, its interfaces, or other elements of its design, Google is merely applying a thin veneer that often apes Apple’s approach without understanding it.
Well, of course, that’s because the end user isn’t the customer, the advertisers are:
The VP of Global Advertising and Product Operations has quietly built an impressive telephone customer support organization for Google AdWords advertisers.
The company has more than 1,000 Google-employed customer service people divided between email and phone support. The phone reps are now handling “more than 10,000 calls a week,” according to Brougher. The reps are located in several regional call centers around the world.
The search giant clearly has more in mind than just providing a nice place for people to share photos of their pets. For one thing, Google needs to tap into the “social signals” that people provide through networks like Facebook so it can improve its search results. But there’s a larger motive as well: as chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt admitted in an interview in Edinburgh over the weekend, Google is taking a hard line on the real-name issue because it sees Google+ as an “identity service” or platform on which it can build other products.
No free lunch, as they say.