9to5Google Log Out: Google needs a better way to announce new features

Google announcement

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In the span of 30 minutes, Google teams working on consumer products last Thursday unveiled an avalanche of news. At 9 a.m. PT, the company announced a Photos-centric expansion of Google One that was headlined by Magic Eraser (losing Pixel exclusivity), Material You redesigns for Drive and Docs/Sheets/Slides, and a Google TV homescreen revamp/simplification. This was preceded earlier that morning by YouTube announcing its podcast initiative at a third-party in-person event.

In all, you had four distinct announcements competing for awareness at basically the same time. It’s easy for all of them to get lost in the fray, especially for just a casual follower of tech news, which is one of Google’s more important audiences at the end of the day.

At the very least, each of those announcements should have had its own day over the course of last week to breathe and be absorbed. These products come from separate divisions, so organization is messy, but there should really be an orchestrator for announcements.

More broadly, together, they would have made for an interesting consumer services event. (I’m specifically thinking about an event and not a consolidated blog post. In this case, each is notable enough to have its own moment and not be grouped together as part of a single announcement.) There’s some recent precedent of Google doing smaller events to announce related AI features.

Those four announcements touch on how people work (Drive/Docs), relax or get information (Google TV and YouTube Podcasts), and manage their memories (Google One/Photos). Separately, each is only of moderate importance to the average Google user. Together, there’s a compelling narrative of how Google apps help people get through the day.

Those announcements reflect another perennial Google problem when announcing new features: rollouts. The changes to Google TV and Google One began rolling out on Thursday but have yet to see wide availability. Meanwhile, the Workspace redesigns are expected in the coming weeks, while YouTube Podcasts is coming “soon.”

Google’s approach has always been to first roll out features to a percentage of users before expanding more widely. This allows bugs to be caught and is perfectly sensible, given the large user base of these products. That being said, it’s always a minor annoyance seeing something new and not being able to use it immediately. Again, the methodology to rollouts is more than sound, but there should be a shorter window from phased launch to full availability.

Then there’s announcements that don’t actually roll out for a couple of weeks. These should be reserved for special cases as “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” I’d argue it’s somewhat common for people to hear that something from Google is coming, and when it actually comes a few months later, they miss the news on availability. The user might think it never launched and just ascribe it to Google being Google.

From 9to5Google

New: You can now access Google Tasks on the web without using Gmail’s sidebar

Upcoming: ChromeOS readies sunrise and sunset wallpapers, new video screensavers

OPSEC: A stolen Android phone’s PIN could be used to change Google account password

Comment: The risk of podcasts turning YouTube Music into YouTube Audio

Insight: Google might add Imagen text-to-image generator to Gboard on Android

What (else) is happening:

Pixel Watch Fall Detection can distinguish between hard falls and exercise, rolling out now

I wonder what first-party hardware is around the corner: Gmail getting 2-pane view on Android foldables

MWC 2023 | Google

| Android

From the rest of 9to5:

9to5Mac: iPhone 15 Plus renders reveal Dynamic Island with slimmer bezels, ‘curve’ design, more

Electrek: Tesla Cybertruck is starting to look more refined with new black tonneau cover

Author: Abner Li
Source: 9TO5Google

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