Loving and hating the Google ecosystem

hci, Reflections

In my attempts to stay away from the Apple game in the beginning of the touch screen- smart phone revolution, I have inadvertently planted myself in the Google ecosystem. I’m not sure when I got so deep I couldn’t get out but I realized it after Google search went social and I tried to switch to Bing and Hotmail. I found that it was impossible to escape Google easily; mainly because of my phone. One thing that is amazing about Android is the automatic uploads.

I gotta say, it’s a pretty cunning trick Google pulled because I find myself using Google+ more and more because of the automatic photo uploads. But the Photos web app could use some serious UX attention. The main issue, which should be obvious, is navigation. You can’t easily navigate to a particular date or picture all you have to go on is the scroll bar jerking up and down while date labels are  flying by as the only indication of your progress through time.

A month by month stack of images like the Albums page (shown below) seems like a quick and easy to implement feature to maintain a consistent experience while allowing the user to easily navigate their photos.

Albums pages

And then there are the apps I don’t want to update that are stock Android/Google apps. For some reason, Google Earth was installed on my phone and I can’t seem to get rid of it. I know there are complicated ways to get rid of it, but really, shouldn’t I be able to uninstall it just like any other app?

All in all, I don’t have many complaints about my experience with my Nexus, but if they could make Photos better on Google+, I’d be there more. Google’s design oversights, combined with their inability to play nice with Facebook, are only hurting them.