Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hey Sergey! How do I report a Google bug?

I just ran into a very basic, very rookie bug at the Google Base. In short, it won't let me upload a picture, and returns a nonsensical error message (after actually uploading it to whatever passes for /tmp at Google). The error message tells me the image has an invalid format and must be of type .png, .gif, .some-other-stuff, or .jpg. The image is a JPEG with a nifty .jpg extension, and I'm positive there is no problem with it. (Yes, I double-checked, geek that I am.) The real problem, though, is that there's no obvious place at to report the bug. On the one hand, considering Google's high profile and whatnot, I can understand that they want to keep their support to a minimum. On the other hand, they're swimming in cash, and they call everything a "Beta" - so when something actually behaves like Beta Software (as in, a bit buggy) you'd think they would be eager to get bug reports. I'm well aware that Google is one of the most arrogant companies in the history of companies. As a friend put it, that's an understandable position after you've revolutionized online searches and made yourselves billionaires in the process. But no matter how great you think you are, and no matter how much the stock market agrees with you, I still think you should want to know when your software is broken. (For the record, this happened on OS X Tiger with Firefox 1.07, a reasonably common combination and one Google should definitely be testing for - they love Firefox, and here in Silicon Valley most people understand that Apple's users are much more influential than their pure market share indicates.) So now I have a choice. I can spend some time tracking down a contact option for a beta-software bug report; I can try again with a different browser or operating system; or I can just forget the whole thing for now. Tell me again, why was I supposed to care about the GoogleBase? NOTE: This would normally be a Frostopolis post, but Frostopolis is in involuntary Domain Purgatory right now thanks to a very shady UK domain reseller (more on that later).

1 comment:

--rj said...

Click the Help link and then Contact Us to post a bug as a "question". I've had very limited success using this approach, but sending mail to appears to go the null device.