Fun With Google’s Lamest Features

google girlGoogle is the Internet. Without it, we’d be lost, companies would be spending a ton of money on services that aren’t half as good, and an entire generation of SEO associates would be unemployed.

As we know, Google is a lot more than searching, and has made software that is critical to businesses (which is an understatement). But let’s also take a look at features that are, shall we say, disappointing. We’re not necessarily talking about abortions, like Google Wave, but Google software that isn’t even worth using because the alternatives are far better.

blogger20x20 Blogger

Speaking strictly about its user interface, Blogger sucks compared to WordPress. However, each one has advantages and disadvantages, so do research before you pick one. And while a free WordPress.com blog doesn’t offer nearly the same freedom as WordPress.org, its sleek interface is pretty close to being the ideal blogger interface. Companies pay lots of money for content management systems that don’t work half as well. While Blogger works, it leaves a lot to be desired.

Alternative: WordPress.com

finance20x20 Finance

Originally, Yahoo was the winner in this category, but slowly, it cut back on its features. However, Google Finance never took off, mainly due to its lack of innovation in its interface. And what’s with manually entering the stocks we own? Why would we do that if E-Trade or Ameritrade (or whatever) already does that? What we need is an aggregator of real-time data, not something we fidget with each time we get a dividend. So…

Alternative: Mint.com

orkut20x20 orkut

I had no idea what this was until I saw it in Google’s account options. We must have missed it while paying attention to MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. However, it is popular in India and Brazil, so I’m sure Google doesn’t think it sucks.

Alternative: Facebook.com

sierra20x20Checkout

We rely on Google for so much already, so lets turn our credit card over to it so we can buy stuff from partner websites. Wait, didn’t we already do that with Pay Pal? Didn’t we do that with Amazon? I trust Google Checkout and I’ve used it only once as a test, but the alternatives seem just as reasonable, and just about everyone has an alternative.

Alternative: Paypal.com

sites20x20 Sites

I want to like this – I really do. But its useful features are lacking and its useless features are all over the place, such as “Announcements” which is nothing more than another way of blogging. After Yahoo ditched Geocities, I moved to Google Sites, or more like conformed to Google Sites, and now I’m waiting for someone at Google to realize this and enhance its options. It’s still better than other free ones, like Webs.com or 000webhost.com, however, but seriously lacks the freedom we’d like to have while making a website using Google software.

Alternative: Advanced website makers wouldn’t even consider using Google Sites, but for those of you who want to create a simple website, then Google Sites, unfortunately, is the easiest way to create a non-blog website with limited options these days. If any company can afford to loosen up and offer better design options in its free software, it’s Google.

Picture 2Buzz

When this launched, I thought it was a fantastic idea. Updates appear right alongside e-mail. Others complain that it’s lacking in features, but the real problem is that no one uses it!

Alternative: Twitter.com