Google Giveth and Google Taketh Away

I was going to tag this post with the headline “Really, Google? Really?” But the one above seemed a little more catchy.

As you tune in tomorrow for this week’s episode of A Scribe’s Journey with my guest A.M. Freeman, you’ll hear about the jolly good time I had in the 12 hours before we recorded the show on Monday. Needless to say, I wasn’t the only podcaster in full scramble mode over the weekend.

Many of us, I dare say most of us, used Google’s Hangouts to record our podcasts – especially when we had guests who are not in studio with us. It was nicely integrated with YouTube, making it very easy to upload. post and share our podcats over that platform.

Then Google looked over the cyberscape and decided we had it too good. Over the weekend they shutdown Hangouts. All along they said there would be other Google-related platforms to migrate to. Only thing is, as of this writing, those platforms don’t exist as promised. Yes, they have a Google Meet and a Google chat in their G Suite. And I wouldn’t mind shelling out $12 a month for it – if you could record your meeting like you could in Hangouts.

But you can’t. Unless you upgrade to the much more expensive Executive Suite. Which is aimed at the big corporations – with a price tag to match. My wallet laughed hysterically when I opened it to see what funding I had. So guess who isn’t signed up for either?

And I’m not alone. Nor was I alone in the search for how to continue doing my podcast the way I’ve been doing it for nearly seven months. Fortunately, for now, Skype is a usable service. I’m not thrilled with the recording quality or the split-screen instead of Hangout’s flipping to whoever was talking at the time. But, beggars can’t be choosers so you take what you can get to keep the lights on, right?

But what is Plan B now if Skype is out – of if Skype decides to pull a Google? After a few hours of scrambling on the Internet I stumbled across Google Voice, which allows a guest to call me and I can record the interview, save it as an MP3 file on my computer and at least have a guest. There’s no video, but again, at least the show goes on.

I can’t help but feel this could have been handled better by Google. They could have allowed a similar recording option in Meet as they had in Hangouts – and charged $12 a month for it. I know I, as well as many others, would have ponied up that monthly fee.

They chose instead not to have an option available for their customers, who are now looking to find other platforms that will treat them better. Will Google miss that business? Time will tell.

But it reminds me of my interview with Sen. John Glenn back in 2011. It was shortly after NASA had decided to end the Space Shuttle program with no viable U.S. replacement ready to take U.S. astronauts to space. Instead, we’d pay the Russians to fly us to the Space Station that was constructed – mostly – with American money.

No matter how old he is, a mad Marine is not something you want to hear. Even over the phone with thousands of miles distance as a buffer. And John Glenn was mad about the decision.

I once worked at a place where we described such decision making as “Ready! Fire! Aim!”

It’s a poor way to run a railroad, a space program or a digital platform.

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3 thoughts on “Google Giveth and Google Taketh Away”

  1. Google, like Microsoft, seems to feel that it is too big to be accountable. They know they have their consumers by the short hairs and they can do anything they feel like and screw us, right?

    1. It wouldn’t have been so bad if they would have add a viable replacement in place before they shut it down. Even a subscription service would have worked. But they just dumped a lot of podcasters out into the cold. Bad business IMHO

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