Google is missing that human side

Post ImageTough times for Google right now. They were called out in BusinessWeek recently for creating lots of hype with few results. Scoble noted that they were completely missing from Gnomedex. Even I’ve made mention in the past that Google seems confused about themselves. And despite the fact that they only have one revenue stream, have grown too big too fast, and have dozens of other problems, I think a really important one is that Google seems to entirely lack a human side. An email I got from Google Checkout’s support team today really confirmed it for me.

I have read many a blog post citing Google’s complete inability to respond to emails or support requests, but I figured I’d try my luck and send one anyway. I emailed Google Checkout support, asking when Canadian merchants would be able to use the service (as we’re currently unable to). I wasn’t asking if, but rather when. This is the response I got:

At this time, only merchants with a United States address and bank account can integrate and process transactions through Google Checkout. We look forward to making the service more widely available in the near future.

Compare that with the help page on their website that I had already read:

At this time, only merchants with a U.S. address and bank account can process transactions through Google Checkout. We look forward to offering more options in the future.

Thanks Google, but I can read! Now to be honest, I wasn’t expecting a date or anything, but that’s not the point. This response could very well have come from an automated system (and who knows, maybe it was) as only the last sentence has been changed. And that is what is wrong with Google.

Google needs a human side. They need someone to maintain a regular blog, talking about everything, not just Google (a la Scoble). They need support people who can type a human response, something like “Hey, we love Canada, and oh btw, Happy Canada Day! We’re doing our best to bring you Google Checkout, so stay tuned!” They need real people to help launch and talk about new products. They need to become part of the community, they need to join the conversation, they need to act like humans instead of robots.

Microsoft and Yahoo! are so much better at this than Google. With all those smart people at Google, you’d think they would realize it’s better to participate?

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