Examples for badly written software by Google.

24 March 2010

Recently I saw some people complaining about the Gmail user interface: Jeff @ Coding Horror, there was also a reference to this in one of the Mix 10 talks but I can't remember which one, because I watched too many of them.

So all the super smart guys now work for Google, but even they don't always get it right.

There are many factors that make up good software and one of them is to follow the standards of the Operating system it runs on.

Here are two examples of why I don't like some Google Software.

There is a process named "GoogleToolbarNotifier.exe" on the computer I am sitting at. I guess this has something to do with the Google Toolbar in web browsers. I do not run a browser though. So lets open Task Manager to kill the process: "Access Denied". What, why can't I kill it. It runs under my own user account and I should have all the rights to stop it.

The only way to kill it is to use a really low level StopProcess API that is usually not available to the end-user.

The other example is the Chrome browser. So far I had only used the portable version of it, which is not installed on the computer. Yesterday I installed the normal version and in the setup wizard chose to not create entries in the Start menu entries or on the desktop. After the wizard was finished I tried to start the browser and had a hard time finding it. Nothing in "Program Files", it turned out it was installed under my user profile directory which is according to Microsoft for application data and settings but not for executables.

Also because as I usually installed Software as an administrator, my normal user account who is not an admin, did not have access to the Software. I had to run setup again under my normal user account, download the whole package again from Google and then ended up with a second copy of the application on my hard drive.

There is actually a standalone installation package for Chrome, but it is not mentioned on the Chrome pages and you have to google with Bing for it.

The fact that the setup wizard doesn't allow me to choose a destination for the software I install, pisses me off. What if I have my user profile on a remote network drive? This is now filled up with Google junk.

Don't get me wrong, Chrome seems to be a nice browser but until Google gets its act together I will not install it on my computers. At least I can use the portable version.

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