Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Google The Fine Print

I love the Google boys. I swear, I do! But the Google boys seem to have an unnatural love of fine print when it comes to their products. I am not a fan of the fine print. I am especially not a fan of the fine print when it says something that you really need to know but wouldn't otherwise assume unless you read through it all. (See, because most of the time, all of the fine print says the same crap. It says that the manufacturer of the product isn't responsible for squat after you've forked over your cash for it; it says that you can't sue them and if you want to, you'll have to settle for arbitration instead; and anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Stuff like that. Always in the fine print.) And when you consider that the Google motto is "Don't Be Evil", I find that having fine print containing necessary information that most likely will not be read by the majority of people using/purchasing a product, well, I find that evil.

Google, in it's quest for world dominance over people and all of the information that they create, use and store, is rolling out a cell phone with an operating system that they concocted. Yipee! We LOVE all things Google! That's because we think Google loves US! Maybe they do, but they might like our money and our blind trust and the willingness to follow them around like fattened veal calves a little bit more. The phone will be called the G-1 (catchy) and will use the Google developed, Linux based Android operating system and software platform. Android is open source, meaning that any nitwit who can figure out how to write apps for it can do so. (And a lot of those nitwits are really smart and come up with some cool stuff, so don't call them nitwits to their face. They know what it means and they don't like it.) And because you're going to have all of these cool apps to go with your phone, it's going to be a really good thing that the exclusive pricing plan (because of course, you can't have a cool new cell phone these days without it being exclusive to one carrier and one data provider. In this case, it's T-Mobile who we shall be cursing shortly.) that comes with it includes unlimited Internet access. Yay! Not so fast. (Not yay? No. Not yet.)

This is where the seemingly evil fine print comes into play. If you go to the G1 website and read the fine print (and you won't, but that's why I'm here) you will see that it says, "If your total data usage in any billing cycle is more than 1GB, your data throughput for the remainder of that cycle may be reduced to 50 kbps or less." Wait. If I use more than ONE GB of data in a month (You want me to do the math too? Geez. OK, fine. Let's see, 1GB per month, average 30 days...carry the 1....about 34 MB per day.) then your going to make my phone only work at a speed of 50 kbps?? (That's kilobits per second. Translation: Dial up modem speed reminiscent of 1998. Second translation: Slow as hell.) ONE?!

Yes, shout-y. One. Shall we compare that to other providers? All of them, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint allow you to at least go up to 5GB per month. Huh. That works out to be about five times more than T-Mobile and the Googlers will let you use. But even if you go over the 5GB with the other providers, they simply charge you for your usage or they ask you to think about finding another provider (translation: they cancel your contract). They do not slow your phone down to an archaic speed straight from the cellular days of yore. I have a Sprint Instinct and my data usage is unlimited and from what I can tell, it seems to mean that it's unlimited. (I just looked at my ARC (Ass Reaming Contract) and all it says about usage is that if I use more than 800 minutes, the majority of my minutes or the majority of my KB per month while roaming that they'll just terminate me. There's nothing there about turning my phone into a doorstop.)

One gigabyte is not a hell of a lot, especially when you first get a phone like the G1. You're downloading everything you can. You're using data left and right for things such as email. Porn. New apps. Porn. Web browsing. Porn. File downloading. Porn. Watching TV. Porn. Porn. Porn. Yep, lots and lots of data. According to the tech-y folks over there at the Silicon Valley Insider, "One gigabyte is about how much it takes to download the equivalent of a few albums, a decent quality movie, and a decent quality TV episode -- not much." That's just in and of itself. Include a few of the things that I just mentioned (the email, the apps and all of the porn) and it's not out of the question for you to hit that one gigabyte mark before your month is up.

OK, I hate, hate, hate crap like this. You're going to hype yourself and your fancy shmancy little phone all up and make yourself sound soooooo awesome and then, just as everyone is starting to drool when thinking about everything they'll be able to do with their G1 (not to mention how cool they'll look. Bite me, Apple.), that's when they slip in the part about the ONE measly GB per month and how they'll slow you down if you go over there. Seems a little petty. Not to mention a bit Big Brother-y. But it's also why I find myself always looking for the fine print on anything because those weasels will try and sneak stuff in when you're not looking for it.

See, if they just came out and said that they were going to be jackasses about the whole thing and didn't put it in the fine print, that would be one thing. Here's my stance on being a jackass: If you're going to be a jerk, that's your choice. I'd prefer it if you weren't a jerk to me or around me, but it's still your choice. But at least, if you're going to be a jerk, be honest about it and say you're a jerk. Don't be a jerk and then act like you're not. And don't profess to not be a jerk if you are going to be acting like one. If you're at least honest about the fact that you're a jerk, I can respect that. It's when you're claiming you're not a jerk but you sure are acting like one, that's when I start having a problem with your integrity. And when this sort of thing crops up with a company (or world dominance in this case) that I like (read: love, love, love), that just pisses me off. It's like they personally betrayed me and that's the beginning of the erosion of the level of trust that has built up between me and the now jerk-y company. Rat bastards.

Geez, Google, what's the deal? You can only spare one GB per phone per month? What? Are you afraid you're going to run out? You're freaking Google, for crying out loud! You've got people all over the globe clicking on your ads every single second of the day and it amounts to basically just printing money for you guys! Give a little! Don't start going all cheap and stingy on us because I'll tell you one thing about people in general. They're the worst. They're not all that forgiving, especially if they feel they've been misled or lied to or led down an evil, evil path.

Hopefully the powers that be over there (if it's not my beloved Google boys themselves) will either make the restrictions on usage more visible (like by not having it in the fine print) or cough up some more gigabytes per phone per month. It would seem to be the least evil thing that they could do.

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