Google Fiber

10 Things I Want Google Fiber to Fix.

google-fiber-bunny

UPDATE:

When I wrote this post over a year ago, I was a Google Fiber user. Since then I have moved and spent the last 18 months with Consolidated Communications (Surewest). I have no idea if Google fixed or implemented any of the items listed below. I’m sure they have, Google is a smart company and listens to their customers.

I also want to say that in the last 20 plus years I have used Time Warner, and AT&T for cable and internet service. Yesterday, I signed back up for Google Fiber after it became available in my area. Yes I am going back to Google because it is simply that much better. I say this as someone that works from home, needs the speed and dependability that I had with Google Fiber before. Sorry, Time Warner, AT&T, and Surewest, your products, customer service, bandwidth, and consistent up-time fail compared to Google Fiber.  

Consolidated Communications (Surewest) is every bit as bad as Time Warner in terms of speed and service going out. I have lost my internet service a half dozen times  in the last year during work hours and have had to go to Starbucks or the Library to continue doing my job. So, when you read what is posted below, remember Google Fiber is still better than any of the alternatives out there. 

Back around the first of December I finally got my Google Fiber. Having been a solid user of both the TV and internet service for the last 90 plus days, I have to say it’s pretty damn great. I also have to say if it went away, I’d never go back to Time Warner Cable. Google Fiber isn’t perfect, but it blows TWC out of the water. All in all I like the service. There are however a few things I’d like to see Google fix, add, or improve as they continue to roll out and update the service.

Google, if you are listening, this the top ten list of what I would like.

  1. The Tablet that Google gives is called a “Super Remote” and for the most part it is. What it needs though is a volume control for the TV, and the ability to turn the TV on and off.
  2. When you fast forward or rewind, playback needs to jump a couple of seconds in either direction. You know so when you stop, it attempts to override your slow reflexes and jumps back to the point you want to stop at, not the place your slow finger led you too.
  3. While the TV browser is solid, and much better than anything TWC has, Google should take a page from the Logitech playbook and look at how the Logitech Review implemented their UI/UX for browsing and search for shows. The Review showed the promise of what “Google TV” could be.
  4. I want the ability to install apps on the set-top box. Yes I really do. I want to be able to install things like Amazon Prime and then watch the content on my TV. No I do not want to buy Chrome Cast. I want a native feature that lets me install apps. Once again, Google needs to look at the Logitech Review.
  5. If I can’t install apps, then maybe Google could add Chrome to the current app list that is on the set-top box. Things like Amazon Prime work just fine via Chrome.
  6. I want to hide all the channels I never watch. Maybe you can already do this and I simply don’t know how. If that is the case, Google needs to make that feature easier to find.
  7. Playlists. I really want the option to create playlists of my favorite channels. If this is the future of TV, then this is a must have.
  8. 802.11 AC. I have a super fast fiber connection. I’d like a WiFi connection to match. The 802.11n is great, but I want to take full advantage of AC on all my AC equipped devices.
  9. AMC. I know this is a tough one, but the premier of Mad Men is coming and I miss watching it and recording it to my DVR.
  10. Fix your DVR smart recordings. I’m not sure what is up, but there are a bunch of TV shows I have set to record only first run episodes. For some reason it records re-runs as well. I have a feeling this is because of the way the station tags the broadcast metadata but I’m not sure. Either way it would be nice if this stopped happening.

All in all I really can’t complain about the Google Fiber experience so far. Like I said before it blows away what I had with Time Warner Cable. The fiber connection is fast as hell, especially when you are hard wired to the fiber box. Apps like Netflix are instant on with no buffering, frame drops, or picture degradation due to poor bandwidth. The Google Fiber experience has so far been great, from install to billing, to customer service. They just need to improve a few things, which I’m sure they will as they move forward.

“InAir TV”. SeeSpace Blurs the Lines of Your TV Experience.

A few years ago as CES wrapped up I posted about the beginning of the convergence between TV, your computer, and other content mediums. While the progress has been slow, it is definitely underway. Now days almost every TV, Blueray player, and DVD player is net connected with smart apps that allow for additional content delivery. Other hardware devices like the Roku box, Logitech’s Review, and Google’s Fiber initiative are continuing to blur the lines between a passive TV experience, and a deeper, richer interactive experience.

As CES winds down, one of the more exciting things to come from it this year is SeeSpace’s InAir TV, which brings an augmented reality experience to your TV set. InAir TV places Web content inline with the consumers’ TV viewing experience, without having to switch to a second screen. This creates a completely new dynamic medium similar to the UI?UX in the movie “Minority Report”.

The InAir TV which is still in KickStarter phase, involves using augmented reality technology to overlay additional content analyzed from what you are watching. The secondary content floats on a 3D layer between the TV picture and the viewer if you have a 3D TV. This second layer of content creates a more interactive, intuitive, and dynamic viewing experience. For example, if you are watching a Formula 1 race, you would be able to pull up the drivers, their stats, track conditions, leader info, points and standings, plus more. Instead of shrinking the picture on your TV screen to fit the additional information in, it would float above, or beside enhancing the viewing experience.

Interface-1

The hardware is controlled in two ways. The first allows you to control InAir TV using your smartphone using its screen as a track pad. The second takes it to the next level by allowing you to use gesture control via a Kinect, or Leap controller.

KeynoteScreenSnapz003

SeeSpace will be launching a Kickstarter campaign later this month and will be available to pre-order for $99 later this year.

Did You Get Your Daily Fiber? I Get Mine Through Google.

20131201-162038.jpgBy this time tomorrow I’ll basking in the high speed glow of Google Fiber. My loft will be wired with the service and Time Warner Cable will be a fast fading memory. After 9 months of waiting the Fiber will be wired in and running tomorrow morning and frankly I can’t wait. If you read my blog you probably know that Time Warner has been a nightmare with horrible hardware, software, and performance issues. At times I was lucky to have an internet connection faster than dial up, especially at the house on Lloyd in KCK. So anything, and I mean anything is better than Time Warner Cable running on Scientific Atlanta hardware, featuring the worst UI and menuing system on the face of the planet.

Yesterday when I called Time Warner to cancel service, their customer service reps through everything at me to get me to stay. First it was a gift card to Best Buy. I haven’t shopped at a Best Buy in years, and based on everything I read about them these days, neither has anyone else. Next it was the free bundle upgrade for a year. I could have gotten, a Time Warner phone upgrade (people under the age of 70 still have land lines?), or I could have received the premium channel upgrade with free HBO for a year. Apparently Time Warner doesn’t realize that a large group of people watch HBO and like programming through online services, or through HBO’s dedicated apps for iOS and Android. I was on the phone with two very nice women that literally didn’t want to take no for an answer and would do anything to keep me, including dissing Google Fiber customer service, pricing structure, Internet performance, and channel line up. Is Time Warner worried about Google Fiber eating their lunch? It sure felt like it to me.

Here’s the deal, Time Warner for years has had a monopoly on the local cable service. They have also had a bit of a strangle hold on internet service. Case in point, Time Warner was my only option at my old house on Lloyd, and for the first 5 years in Union HIll. During the last 4 years, Time Warner has continued to take my money and provided a sub-standard product. The hardware feels like something from the Stone Age with a user interface and overall user experience that is absolutely abismal. Even the simplest things like searching for a program are painful, feeling like sending a text message on a cell phone a decade ago. I know I am not the only person that feels this way.

If you search online, you will find thousands of rants about Time Warner Cable. Most of the people complaining are griping about the same issues I was. Slow connection speeds during peak hours, antiquated hardware, having to schedule half a day off from work while you wait for a service tech to show up at your house, service being out on a regular basis and not being compensated for the down time, mediocre customer service reps, etc. These are the kinds of ongoing issues that have people looking for any excuse to Drop Time Warner in favor of anything else. Now I’m not saying Google Fiber is going to be perfect. No technology is, but it is going to be a million times better than what I have been dealing with for the last 4 years guaranteed.

GoogleFiber competitor: ‘Bring it on’ – Kansas City Business Journal

GoogleFiber competitor: ‘Bring it on’ – Kansas City Business Journal.
Wow, this just goes to show the arrogance of Time Warner Cable. It’s precisely this kind of arrogance, combined with what really is a bad product that will have so many jumping off the Time Warner band wagon. They really think they can compete? Anyone that reads my blog, follows me on Twitter, is in a Google+ Circle, or is my friend on Facebook, knows the kind of connectivity hell Time Warner Cable has put me through in the last year. I can’t believe I am the only one that gets just god awful service from these guys.

Telling Google to “Bring It” is pretty damn funny. Maybe they will be laughing out of the other side of their mouth come this time next year.

Google Fiber… Finally.

Anyone that is into technology, or keeping up with Google Fiber, today was the day the roll out was announced. At some point in the near future, hopefully I’ll be rocking the gigabit fiber network and can send both Time Warner Cable and Direct TV packing. What Google announced today really is a pretty stellar deal. For 120 bucks a month I get ultra high speed internet, 500 HD TV channels, a terabyte of cloud based storage, and a Nexus 7 tablet.

After 3 years of just god awful service from Time Warner, rate hikes and hollow threats from Direct TV, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Frankly I can’t wait to pull the plug on both of these services and move on to a better, brighter future. To my friends in the surrounding communities that are not part of the initial roll out, be patient it is rolling your way next. In the mean time, you can come by my house any time and share my fiber.

Thanks Time Warner Cable.

I won’t be posting today, since Time Warner Cable’s Internet service is down. It’s not that I can’t post, I just find it hard doing so from my phone.

After a total of an hour on the phone with tech support/customer service this is what I can tell you:

• Time Warner Cable is the worst ISP in America.
• Time Warner Cable Customer Service is one of the worst I have ever dealt with.
• Time Warner Cable is a ripoff. I’m paying for a service that functions at speeds slightly better than dial up more than 50 percent of the time.
• Time Warner Cable’s customer service rep lied to me about when a tech could make it to my house to fix the problem.
• That lie cost me a $1500.00 job. Time Warner’s “Give a Rip” factor is non existent about this.
• My Internet has been out for 24 hours now. Time Warner Cable won’t offer any compensation for the outage, money lost, inconvenience, and don’t seem to care that they are going to lose me and all my neighbors to Google Fiber when it rolls out in the spring.

AT&T Teases, Then Denies Me Tasty High Speed Service.

On Monday I was out on the AT&T web site looking to see if U-Verse was available in my neighborhood yet. Right now it stops two blocks away, and I keep hoping AT&T will bring that tasty fiber goodness to my street. Anyway, after filling out the form on their site to see what products were available to me, I got a message saying they couldn’t validate my address. (That’s kind of funny since they validate it every month with a paper cell phone bill) The site asked me if I wanted to fill out a verify my address form, so I said sure and sent them my info.

On Tuesday I got this reply from AT&T:

Welcome to AT&T

Dear Wade Johnston,

Thank you for your interest in AT&T U-verse. At this time, the following U-verse services are available at the address below:

  • AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet, with speeds up to 18M.
Your service address is: XXXX XXXXX
APT# OR SUITE
KANSAS CITY
KS
66103

You may place your order at att.com for AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet service. If you need help with your order you may call 1-888-697-7202. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!
Looks promising right? Not so fast. I was so excited that I clicked the link from the email, opened the AT&T site, looked at all that U-Verse juiciness and tried to decide Elite, or the next tier down. I didn’t pull the trigger, and when I went back today I was told that U-Verse is Not available at my address after all. At first I was stumped and then I chalked it up to bad site design, or a data base error on AT&T’s end. Being the resourceful guy that I am, I called the 1-888 number listed in the email.

After a brief hold I was connected to a chipper young lady named Sophia, who apologized for the problem online and offered to help. She took my address, put me on hold and went to look up where I lived in the massive AT&T  system. After a few minutes she came back and told me that No Services are available at my address. She asked me to read the email to her, and after she apologized  again for AT&T’s big tease, and then said let me check one more place. (like they have this stuff in a closet somewhere) After a few more minutes she came back and said nope you are out of luck.  So I asked her if I fill out another verify my address form, get a link to the site and it does go through, should I buy the service? she said no, that you aren’t really buying online, you are just requesting, and that an AT&T employee would complete the order. She told me I would probably get another email telling me that no service was available a couple of days later.

What a cluster. AT&T is in every neighborhood surrounding us, but won’t come two blocks down the road to hook us up. The website lies, the email system lies, and I am still left dealing with Time Warner Cable suck ass internet service. I know Google is bringing high-speed fiber to KCK. I know I’ll have it in about a year, but man I was excited. I really thought I was gonna get 8+ megabit download speeds for less money than I pay Time Warner now.

AT&T if you are listening, would you please bring U-Verse to my street. I know 10 Time Warner customers that would jump to your service in a heart beat if you did.