There's a side of Google you don't see just doing searches -- the impervious, insular side. But when the students and faculty at a large school district in Texas go searching, they're getting a glimpse of just how hard it can be to get any human being at Google to actually listen to a human being who is not at Google.
"I'm the network infrastructure manager for a school district in Texas with 9,000 employees and 64,000 students," a reader recently wrote. "Two weeks ago, we switched our outside IP space to a new block. Shortly afterwards, complaints started pouring in to our help desk that when our users went to Google to browse, they were sent to Google Canada."
Google Canada is no doubt a fine site itself, but the search results there are a little northerly skewed, especially if you're actually as far south as Texas. While it was really just a minor annoyance for individual users once they learned how to click back to Google.com from Google.ca, it was a major headache for the reader and his colleagues to deal with all the confusion it caused. But the reader quickly figured out what the problem was. "I checked with ARIN (The American Registry of Internet Numbers) and learned that our new IP block was used by an organization from Alberta, Canada until mid-2005. Apparently Google's redirection tables are very stale."
The simple solution would be to contact Google and ask them to correct their redirection table, but that hasn't proven to be simple at all. "Ed, have you ever tried to reach a real human at Google -- either through e-mail or by phone?" the reader wrote. "As far as I can tell, it is impossible. After hours of nasty interaction with the pool of receptionists, I was finally told to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line 'cloud' for some reason, and explain the situation. I did so. That was last week. Still no reply, and the problem still plagues us."
Thursday afternoon I checked with the reader again and his school district is still in Canada as far as Google is concerned. "Our attorneys are drafting a certified letter, because that might be the only way to get the message through to Google -- we are not in Canada, eh? I have a real love/hate thing for Google. Great services, excellent search, but try to actually contact them. Makes pulling teeth seem easy."
Be you in Texas, Canada, or other parts, have you had a corporate giant refuse to give you the time of day? Tell me about it on the Gripe Line voice mail at 1 888 875-7916 or write me at Foster@gripe2ed.com.
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