Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Open Letter to Google: You Really Suck

You suck, Google.

I've boosted you, I've supported you, I've promoted you to all my friends. I've dumped so much of my creativity and labor into you, creating a dozen blogs, a few websites. I played along with your experiments and was disappointed to see you abandon them, but I stood by you.

Now that I'm invested in you, with blogs that are difficult to transfer and extricate (I've been running this blog for eight years!), now that I've laboriously cultivated what few followers I have... you decide this is a great time to turn into a conservative watchdog and impose your newfound morality upon your constituency.

You've given adult-content bloggers two choices: hide or be deleted. Writers and bloggers have relied upon you for a decade, and your response to them is, "don't let the door smack you on your way out." Adult content, of course, is the borderland we all must watch, to anticipate the encroachment upon our personal liberties and freedom of speech. You have declared yourself against freedom of speech, and you have brought the battle that much closer to the rest of us.

There is no feasible alternative to Blogger. LiveJournal worked hard to imitate you, and now it's owned by the Russians. Weebly and Wix are meant for small businesses. Blog.com crashes repeatedly, Thoughts is populated by people who struggle with the Internet, Biosgraphy has zero customizing options. Medium won't even let me start an account unless I disable my privacy/adblock software. I can't even get started on an amateur journo site.

That leaves Tumblr and WordPress. Tumblr's flexible and friendly, yes. I'm laboriously importing my photo-a-day blog away from Blogger and into Tumblr. There's a daily limit to how much I can upload, however, and I've had to create a new archive in Flickr to cease relying on you for image storage. I have to reformat thousands of entries, 250 each day, to get closer to freedom, because all of a sudden Google has become a nanny state.

As for WordPress, it's quite popular. Many of my friends like it, either because it's good or because it's not Google. I tried logging in, and it said my ID already existed. That's likely, I toyed with it back in the day. But when I tried to recover that account, WordPress didn't recognize my two main email addresses or any of my backup and old addresses. I couldn't provide enough information to prove that I'm me, so WordPress has effectively and imperiously stonewalled me. Much like the Russians when I tried to reclaim my ICQ account. WordPress is as hospitable as the former Soviet empire.

And that's it. Everything else is a race to the bottom. More than that, I'm confronted with why I even think I need to preserve my stupid blogs in the first place. Nobody reads them. They're there solely for my entertainment, to see my writing online. Why do I think I need to be online, if I know there's no audience? Why don't I just write in a notebook for my own entertainment? Why don't I just add to an ever-expanding Word document? Why don't I just set fire to my own establishment and walk away for good?

You've put me in an existential crisis, Google, with your newfound orthodox fundamentalist attitude.

I don't post nude images or videos. Your puritanical, prudish dictates don't affect me at all. I just choose not to stand with you, when you mandate policy to abolish creative expression. WordPress and Tumblr boast greater dedication to democratizing the Internet and giving free rein to writers. There we have it, I think: Google has turned conservative and opposes democracy. In the course of my shotgun-style exposition, I think I've exposed you. Far from joyous or victorious at my discovery, I feel a little weary and defeated. You were supposed to be better than this, Google. You said you were, you swore you were, but now look at you. Look at what you're doing.

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