I would like to thank Google for saving me thousands of dollars in needless spending. Near the end of today’s gangbuster hardware event, I was ready to order two new Chromebooks and smartphones, one each for me and my wife. But “error 500” pages on the company’s store website and long-lead new product availability dates prompted me to cancel the one order successfully made and to delete the others in process from my shopping cart.
For a company whose product managers droned on this morning about all the reasons why artificial intelligence is so right, Big G got the store selling experience all wrong. I have waited through most of 2017 for a new Google-branded Chrome OS laptop. While hardly a fresh hardware design concept, PixelBook is nevertheless tempting enough to bring me back to the AI and voice-assistant contextual future from the Apple rotting on the overly-obsessed touch-UI tree. I was willing and ready but instead walked away angry.
Had I not cancelled the Pixel 2 XL, my grubby paws could have gripped the smartphone soonish: Google Store estimated delivery around October 17—and this was an order made before the event ended. But to get even that, the color had to be black, as the white model wouldn’t be available for about six weeks.
But my first priority was ordering the PixelBook i7, which—get this—is coming soon, according to Google Store. The search giant reached down from its pedestal on high, where websites give away free content to be crawled and logged by the great Google algorithm, to permit my presence on a waitlist. That’s how I came to order the XL instead.
For my wife, I tried to buy the smaller smartphone, matching case, and PixelBook i5. I counted more than a dozen error pages while trying to get through the shopping cart to the order confirmation page. But mid-November delivery for the three items cooled my mood. I emptied the cart, after suffering through 17 more error pages, and then cancelled the XL order.
I often say that enthusiasts make the best marketers. But they also are the loudest complainers when their enthusiasm is smashed by a brand’s stupidity. Google Store took a hammer to my Pixel lifestyle ambition and willingness to spend beaucoup bucks to achieve it. Today, during the big event, presenters made lots of promises about products that are contextually aware and responsive. The only context I see is failure to deliver.
Editor’s Note: A version of this story appears on BetaNews.