Blog: “We are unable to reply directly”

Apropos of my recent post responding to the sentiment “We have to automate”, I got a splendid example of the suppressed choice again today. If you haven’t read that post, you might find it helpful to read it now to set the context for my main point here.

It started when I was sitting at home this morning, using my laptop. The dialog below popped up on my screen.

An unhelpful message from Google Calendar Sync

Clicking on the link in the dialog brought forth the Web page that that you see below it. Actually, Google Sync isn’t syncing my (Outlook) calendar with a mobile device (leastwise, not to my knowledge—which would be another issue). Google Sync is syncing my calendar with my wife’s calendar (on another laptop) and with a colleague’s calendar somewhere far away. Now: arguably a laptop is a mobile device, but that doesn’t seem to be what the Web page refers to. There are links associated with mobile browsers, Android, or iOS devices. I can’t fathom how the apparent purpose of the dialog relates to the page that gets delivered. So it seems to me that no human at Google has evaluated this dialog and this link to see that they match up—or if the human evaluation was done, no one has seen fit to address the mismatch.

So, somewhat later in the day, I got an email from the Google Accounts Help Center. The message may have been related to the fact that, on Friday, my frequent-traveler movements seem to have triggered an alert that temporarily blocked access to my mail account. The email contained an invitation to complete a short survey: “Take one minute to answer a few short questions to help make the Google Accounts Help Center better. If you visited the Google Accounts Help Center in the past 3 days, please click the button below to complete the survey.”

Well, I visited the Help Center on Friday (I guess… did I?), so that’s within the last three days. On the other hand, the survey points to something different. One question is:

How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your most recent Google Accounts Help visit today?

Another is

Why did you visit Google Accounts Help today?

Note “today”. So maybe the survey refers to today’s calendar incident; maybe to Friday’s account block. I can’t tell. And in neither case did I ask a question per se. Oh well. I griped about the 2016 error message. If they can’t sort it out, they’ll be able to figure it out by getting in touch with me.

Yet it’s unlikely that they’ll do that. The survey finished with

While we’re unable to answer your question directly, we’ll use this information to improve our online help resources.

And here’s how this ties to Friday’s post: Google is able to answer my question directly—or they certainly could be. They don’t want to answer my question directly. They choose not to answer. That’s different.

2 Responses to ““We are unable to reply directly””

  1. […] Blog: “We are unable to reply directly” Written by: Michael Bolton […]

  2. Impressive post. very interesting and much informative.
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