Google My Business service has been suspended due to COVID-19. I learned this when some of our customers tried to leave online reviews which were not published by Google. I find this to be most distressing. Online businesses, such as GTS Translation, rely on online reviews for their living. Leaving a client testimonial can help other customers make good online buying decisions and is a valuable service to the public. We relied on Google for this service and now it appears that our trust was misplaced. Notwithstanding the COVID-19 crisis. I would expect an online service to have no major disruptions. Especially Google. Especially in times of crisis.
Can you rely on Google? Should you?
Which leads to another observation, rooted in extreme concern. My Business is not the only Google service that we rely on. We use Gmail for our email service. What if Google were to announce a discontinuation of Gmail service due to COVID-19? We’d be up the creek. Google Docs? Android? The list is long. And Google Search? Are the results that Google displays less accurate now due to COVID-19?
Cost Cuts? Or Bailout?
Which leads to another question: are these disruptions really on account of COVID-19? Or is Google experiencing a loss in revenues which is causing them to throttle some services? Or perhaps one day in the future, Google will ask the US government for a cash infusion. Similar to other essential industries like airlines and auto makers. Is Google and the other online companies any less essential? I would think that this would be good leverage for Google in a negotiation with the federal government.
Time to consider other alternatives?
Google is amazing! They rolled out so many free services which have become part of who we are, part of how we operate in our daily lives. Want to go to a movie? Google it and find out where it’s showing. Fancy something to eat? Google it. Vacation plans, fix something in the house? Google. Want to hear music? Youtube (which is owned by Google). Email? on the house. Maps? same thing. Free translation. No problem.
Of course nobody is naive enough to think that Google is doing this just for the good of mankind. Google is a business and they are out to make money. Which is great (at least to this capitalist). Google provides the free services as hooks to make money selling value-added or premium services. Which is again fine, no complaints here. But is it fair for them to discontinue a services that millions of people have come to rely on? The answer is no, but since when is life fair? It is perfectly within their rights to do discontinue any service as they see fit.
Which leads me to thinking. Maybe it is not smart to rely too heavily on a free service which is here today, gone tomorrow. Maybe we should be spreading our eggs into more than one basket.
Other review platforms
There are a number of other online review platforms such as Trustpilot. They have been after us for a while to order their service. As far as I know, they did not discontinue service due to COVID-19. Maybe it’s time to consider them.