google, i’m mad at you.

sinful savage tigers @ johnny's

I have a Samsung Intercept, a swanky Android phone, that aside from its predilection for freezing when I try to answer phone calls — whatever, I hate talking on the phone, I’d rather text; I just call people back — I almost completely adore. I had reached a point in my photography where I couldn’t rely on shaky wireless connections when I went out of town to check my email or Twitter or Facebook, and my ancient, battered just-texts-only phone wasn’t cutting it. So I turned my entire life over to Google, and shep. and I got these phones. And you know what? I love Google. I love GMail. I love Google Calendar. I love the Android operating system a lot. I would marry Google Reader if it was legal. I really, really do love Google, and I’m perfectly happy to let them run my life — I welcome our robot overlords — but the longer I have this phone, the more fully I commit to all the Google system, the more little things start to bug me. Google does big well. Google does small real, real bad.

So: Dear Google, here is a list of things that you do terribly. Fix ’em. I don’t want to buy an iPhone for my next phone, but I will if I have to.

  • Contacts: I store every contact I have, professional and personal alike, in my primary GMail account. It’s almost 300. Trying to manage it in a browser, it’s laggy, and crashy, and it takes forever to update one contact. On my phone, despite having meticulous organized groups in my contacts, and running Google’s own operating system, I can’t view my contacts in groups. Fail, Google.
  • Calendar, Part 1. Man, the inability to manually refresh my calendar on my phone sucks. And also sucks: it doesn’t update nearly as often as I’d like. I make changes in a browser, I want them to show up on the calendar on my phone in the next half hour, not the next five days. I use my phone to schedule jobs when I’m out and about, and if my calendar isn’t up to date, I double book myself. And then I look like a moron.
  • Calendar, Part 2. Not only is the Tasks functionality nowhere near as good as it should be, but the fact that I can’t, say, have all my daily tasks and deadlines auto-emailed to me every morning at 7am, or whatever, is dumb as hell. I have a GMail account. That shouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.
  • Calendar, Part 3. Not only that, but managing tasks on the Android is nigh impossible. Why isn’t there a better interface for that? It’s a fucking to-do list, after all, I should be able to cross shit off it while I’m not at home. Since my lists of things to do often involve leaving the house with my cell phone.
  • Docs. The new Docs app is a step up, but for on the fly note-taking — I use it for keeping setlists at shows — Evernote is a million miles better. At least I can update my spreadsheets on my phone, now, which is something. But it’s slow and awkward, and the interface is ugly. (I also wish I could sync GDocs and Evernote, but mostly I just haven’t looked into that.)

I know I’m shouting in the void here, with Google, but I want to be able to run my photo business entirely from my phone, save for uploading photos and updating my portfolio, if I have to. It’s already improved things 10 times over, but it could be better, and in this world of mobile technology and on-the-fly everything, Google could and can do better with large chunks of its operating system. If you ever want to beat Apple at something, Google, Android is where to do it. And right now, you’re not doing it.

And, hey, this is for y’all: what apps should I have, free or paid? Any great photo editing apps? Management apps? Things I can play obsessively other than Angry Birds Rio? If you’ve got an Android phone, what should I be paying for or supporting or using?

(If anybody can help me with any of those issues — I know part of my contacts problem is “stop updating them at work on IE7, Jesus Christ” — tell me.)

6 Comments Add yours

  1. maggie says:

    I hear you on the calendar frustration thing. Also on the handing your life and soul over to Google.

    The obsessive game you want is called Doodle Jump. It is so adorable, and ridiculous, and you can play for hours and hours, and it is so easy, and yet…so devious.

    1. I like easy yet devious! Because Angry Birds is just devious.

  2. Ellen says:

    I am also an Android fan. Here are some of the apps I love:

    -Google goggles (everything from a QR code reader to a bar code reader to a “scan this logo” and we’ll give you info reader)
    – Astrid Tasks (task/to do list)
    – Grocery List (basically, you teach it where certain items are in your grocery store (or stores) by aisle and then when you pull up your grocery list it will sort it by aisle for efficient shopping! I love this one.
    – InstaFetch Lite (for Instapaper. Better than the real official Instapaper app for iPhone, as it stores everything, not just the latest 10 or whatever)
    – Andricious (Delicious bookmarks, which is awesome, because Delicious pretty much is recipe bookmarking for me these days…)
    – Dropbox. Can’t live without it.
    – Pixelpipe – you might really like this one. You can (with one click) send your photos and videos from your phone to a bunch of different places you select. So I can send a pic to Facebook and Flickr from my phone instead of having to do two different uploads.

    1. Oh, I didn’t even think of looking for a Delicious app! That’s really smart, thanks, LN. Also looking forward to trying Pixelpipe.

      Also: will Astrid Tasks sync with Tasks in GCal? Because that’s where I store all my to-dos, but I’d love something that’s better mobile.

      1. Ellen says:

        Actually, I didn’t know for sure (as I don’t use Google tasks), but I just peeked in the settings and it says “Google Tasks (Beta!)” so… possibly?

        It does, however, have a cute little octopus who reminds you of things when they are due, though…

  3. John says:

    On my HTC Desire I can manage all contacts in Groups without any problems.
    As far as calendars go I use Jorte. It is by far and away the best calendar app I have found…and it’s free…and it syncs through Google calendar. Might be worth you checking it out.

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