Monday, November 16, 2015

Google Project Fi(asco)

If you haven't heard, Google is getting into cell service with Project Fi(asco).

If the technology works, the fee structure has the potential to put the cat amongst the pigeons of the cell service oligopoly. I love it!

Like many Google projects going all the way back to Gmail, there's an “invite” stage before it's rolled out everyone, so I applied for, and got, an invitation. Yay!

But if you're thinking of doing the same, I'd say “don't bother”, for a number of reasons:
  • the sign-up process is misleading: your phone won't, in fact, leave the warehouse in the advertised 1-2 days, but in 5-6 weeks;
  • it took filling out an online form followed by a 3-day farce of 11 emails to and from 4 different support personnel — Melissa, Dave the Would-Be Helper (marks for effort), Christina the Rude (or illiterate), and Tenisha — to arrive at the conclusion: cancelling the order;
  • none of these people have the power to actually do anything unless you count writing chirpy corporate inanities and regurgitating FAQs;
  • if my experience is representative, one in four won't even bother reading your email before “replying”; and
  • at no time did they offer any kind of meaningful gesture of goodwill.
In short, Google is getting into the cell service business by misleading you about lead-times; then, if you call them on it, you get the middle-finger from impotent Comcast-grade support. Boo!

All 3 major cellphone service providers in the US are in the Customer Service Hall of Shame (positions 5, 7, & 8). Looks like Google wants to join them. What a pity.

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