Google seems to become more and more annoying.

Package download

http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ is slow. Not just slow, but slow. Any random apt-get update will take ages; just sitting there waiting for Google's servers to send any data. Downloading actual packages is slow, as well.

Ironically, Google's PageRank will punish sites for loading slowly; it's a pity they don't use their considerable server & bandwidth capacities to fix slowness they are causing, themselves.

Chrome

Copy and paste is a central part of what I use a mouse for. X has had two copy buffers for as long as I can remember, one for mouse selection, pasting with middle mouse button and one for CTRL-c/CTRL-v. Chrome merges the two.

That's bad enough in and as of itself, but every time Chrome gets focus, it will clobber anything you may have in your copy buffers at that time with anything that's selected. No matter if you selected it via mouse, via keyboard, a context switch autoselected something. Selection goes into buffer. Every time. Every. Single. Time.

To add insult to injury, this is dependent on which tab is active. And if you happen to search on the site (CTRL-f), it will always use what's in the search bar to clobber buffers, no matter if anything on the actual website has been selected.

I can't find the bug report about this at the moment, but Google's stance is that this is a feature and introducing an option for traditional copy & paste handling is not desirable.

Google+

I get that they feel a need to combat Facebook, but still, pushing Google+ on you is just annoying. At least the Android application has had a permission change on ICS so it can not auto-update. It's the little things ;)

WWW

Unified branding, the need to support touch-based devices in their UI, etc. Still, GMail's new interface sucks and the old one will be going away for good. And while making some UI elements larger or displaying them unconditionally makes sense for hand-held portrait displays, this is highly annoying on wide-screen landscape displays. 1366x768 may have overtaken 1024x768, but 768 is a constant here and still not a lot.

As an aside, hopefully the Apple Effect and the iPad 3 will break the age-long stalemate with regards to screen resolution. More is better, here.

Android

Bloatware

Using stock Android means you won't get Facebook and other useless apps pre-installed. Yet, uninstalling stock applications, like Google+, is impossible.

Rights management

It's nice that I get to see what kind of access an application would like to have. It's not nice that I can not choose what access I am willing to grant any given application. I can make a binary decision, install or not install, but I can't refuse random access rights to applications. There are custom versions of Android out there which allow you to do this and many applications seem to cope with being unable to do some things. This should be a standard feature.

Access management

The concept of "access to USB storage" meaning "whatver your SD card or, in the Galaxy Nexus' case, just a specific directory" is also broken. There is a middle ground between "this application needs access to a large chunk of storage" and "this application needs complete access to said large chunk". Just assign the application a specific directory to write into and read from and done's done.

Multi-user

I can not hand anyone my phone to play a game or surf the Internet without giving them the ability to look through all my email, contacts, calendar, you name it. While I only give my phone to people I trust completely, this still sucks.

How hard can it be to create a minimal guest mode which allows people to access a few pre-selected applications with a custom setting of if they are allowed to use cellular data and/or WiFi?

Data access

Authorized Access

Ah, the big one.... Keep in mind that I am using Google's latest and greatest, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus GSM. It's as cutting-edge as you can get.

Yes, having one continuous storage device is nice. But MTP support on Linux is abysmal and you are forced to access your data by means of MTP or PTP. gphoto2, gwenview, and gthumb are all unable to import any photos via PTP; no program I tried can transfer anything via MTP. gphoto2 will transfer the background images which APOD (highly recommended, by the way; there's also a donation application for this) stores on my phone. That's it.

So, unless I send email to myself, use WiFi-based hacks, or root my phone, I can not access my data. On the strongest mobile platform in the world. Using the most powerful and versatile OS with up-to-date packages. In 2012. Yay.

Unauthorized Access

Not being able to access my data is a Bad Thing. Even worse is when others can access my data. Contrary to older Android versions, someone decided that it would be a good idea to allow MTP or PTP, only. As in "you can not disable MTP and PTP. One of them has the be activated." This is awesome when you want to charge your phone at an airport or at an acquaintance's possibly malware-ridden Windows machine. Everyone and their bot-herder can potentially access my data while I can not.

Usability

And while MTP/PTP is an either/or decision, they are using check-boxes, not radio buttons. There's a decade or more of UI experience about check-box versus radio button, so why not use it? I know of at least one owner of a Galaxy Nexus who was not even aware that he couldn't turn off MTP (the default) as the UI pretends otherwise.

Opaqueness

And good luck trying to contact anybody about this. Having filed a few bugs against Google stuff in the past, I simply gave up on it. Back when Gmail's mailing list filtering and labelling system was somewhat broken, I spent months hunting down people who knew people who knew someone who was able to actually do something about it.

I have a Nexus S running Android 4.0.4, and I just checked to see if I could uninstall Google+. I found no way to do exactly that, but I was able to do almost the same thing:

  • I went to "Settings", "Apps", "All", and scrolled until I saw Google+, then tapped that entry
  • I tapped the button labeled "Uninstall Updates"
  • Once that was all done, that button had been replaced by one labeled "Disable"; I chose that

Now the app is more or less gone; I assue it's still taking up "disk" space, but its icon isn't visible, it's not running, it's not one of the options you see when you "share" something.

I'm not sure if it'll get updates or not, but I suspect it won't: I long ago did this same "disable" process on the stock browser (because I use Chrome instead), and I haven't noticed it updating; I'm assuming it would have otherwise.

Comment by Eric 2012-04-13--19-46-55-CEST
The Nexus S shows up as a simple USB storage, does that not work on the Galaxy Nexus?
Comment by Abhishek 2012-04-13--20-19-00-CEST
Why use Chrome, rather than the better-packaged and better-integrated Chromium?
Comment by Anon7rEPygAV 2012-04-14--02-04-27-CEST

Hi Richard,

I can't say for sure that this will work, as I only have experience with my MTP MP3 player not mounting properly, but I think it's worth a shot. I did a lot of googling to for this issue and finally found the following:

This is just a work around. I changed /usr/share/gvfs/remote-volume-monitors/ gphoto2.monitor to allow the device to be mounted.

[RemoteVolumeMonitor]
Name=GProxyVolumeMonitorGPhoto2
DBusName=org.gtk.Private.GPhoto2VolumeMonitor
#IsNative=false
IsNative=true

Here's a link to the bug: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/libgphoto2/+bug/330383

Comment by Justin 2012-04-14--04-26-50-CEST

Eric:

Thanks, that worked!

Abhishek:

No; the Nexus S has no SD card or other USB-accessible storage.

Anon7rEPygAV:

When I last tried Chromium, the packaging was weird, the releases lagged behind Chrome by months, etc. I will try Chromium again.

Justin:

I will try that. Someone else asked me to try mount MTP via FUSE, as well. I will report back.

FYI, I took the liberty to reformat your comment so the code part displays properly.

Comment by Richard 2012-04-14--18-04-18-CEST

I have found MTP support to be lacking, but if I put the Galaxy Nexus in PTP-mode, I can mount it in Nautilus (it pops up under "Computer" as "Galaxy" and I just double-click it), and I can transfer files to/from the phone.

Transferring music, video, images, pdfs, ebooks, apks etc. to the phone using Nautilus works fine that way.

Sometimes when I want to copy a non-music/video/image file from the phone to the computer using PTP I get an error (unsupported file type), but that is a minor annoyance to me, as transferring to the phone is my usual usecase.

It seems illogical that Picture Transfer Protocol works better for all kinds of files than Media Transfer Protocol, but there you have it.

Comment by asjo [koldfront.dk] 2012-04-15--00-04-00-CEST

I take it scp still works? Or was this one of the "wifi hacks" you mentioned?

Anyway, thanks for the info. I shalln't be in a hurry to "upgrade" my Android phone!

Comment by Diggory 2012-04-15--15-30-51-CEST
On Linux, adb works with any Android device. You just have to download the SDK and enable the "Applications/Development/USB Debugging" option in the phone. Than you can transfer files with adb and I believe I even saw a FUSE filesystem implemented using it. It's also kind of hack, but at least it gets to all files, not like MTP.
Comment by Jan Hudec 2012-04-18--09-50-47-CEST
Being a mobile application developer, I have some experience with software produced by Samsung and none of it is good. They can manufacture decent hardware, but most their software is really crap (and their support is laughable). Since each vendor customizes the synchronization and file transfer on Android, I believe it's Samsung to blame for the flaws of MTP flaws on Galaxy, not Google. Of course, Google is to blame for not providing some reasonable default protocol.
Comment by Jan Hudec 2012-04-18--09-57-34-CEST
Jan Hudec: I don't really want to have to install adb just to use MTP. Still, I will keep it in mind, thanks. All Nexus devices have vanilla Google software; AOSP with Google-branded software on top. I can't comment on Samsung's software quality either way and in this specific instance, the blame lies with Google.
Comment by Richard 2012-04-18--10-31-15-CEST

For what it's worth, Google+ isn't included in stock Android 4.0, I've been running various forms of ICS on my Xperia Ray for the better part of two months now and the only time G+ has ever touched it has been when I installed it myself to try it out. I guess it must ship with the Galaxy Nexus by default, but if you're rooted (or willing to root), you can remove it - it'll likely be in /system/app/, likely named "googleplus.apk" or similar, and you can safely rm it either through 'adb shell' or through a root file browser/terminal emulator on the phone. If you uninstall updates beforehand, it'll just be completely gone from the phone, otherwise it'll still be installed, but will be uninstallable through the Play store or through the app manager in Settings. Hope this helps!

Comment by Matthew 2012-04-30--09-16-58-CEST