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Allan O'Rourke, Guest Writer

Allan O’Rourke, Guest Writer

While casually running through and continually playing with my newly acquired Nexus devices, the more I use them, the more I realise that these devices aren’t targeted at me. But why? How could this be?

I use as many Google services as I can because I like the products, the look and feel and the open platform that Google tends to lean towards. However, I just can’t shake this feeling that Google seems to care less about me than other people. I sat and thought long and hard about what could be the cause of this gut feeling and the more I thought about it, the more I realised what the problem was.

I’m Australian.

The more I thought about all the things that I noticed wrong with the Google/Android experience I was having, the more I compared them to other countries and regions and I realised that, shock horror, I wasn’t alone…

What were the things that I noticed sorely missing from the Google/Android eco-system in Australia? Well, let me tell you in as much of a sarcastically annoyed tone as I can!

Google Play can’t get a full compliment of Nexus accessories available on the Play Store for Australia. Example: Nexus 7 chargers and covers, which are tantalisingly listed, but not available for purchase for us and have been since launch which was months and months ago. I suspect the same thing will happen for the Nexus 4 wireless charger which is again listed, but not available for the country. So I ask the question, why list these items at all?

Nor can they provide a full range of services that other countries get. Like localised Google Now support, Play Music or TV shows.

I love the concept and idea of Google Now. But I can’t take full advantage of its potential because its really cool features are only enabled for users in the U.S. We in Australia can’t get news on local sports teams, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

To be fair, we do have Google Movies. But even that is watered down. Many of the movies I would like to buy are over-priced for a digital only release or are only available to rent, not purchase. Awesome.

And why the hell is Star Trek listed as R18+ for Australia? We didn’t classify the movie like that here! According to the Classification Board, it’s rated M. I’m pretty sure that the movie classification systems between Australia and the U.S are very different. I wonder how many other movies have been incorrectly classified on the Play store for Australia.

I understand that licensing is something that needs to be dealt with and can take time, but that isn’t the excuse for other services (iTunes, Pandora, Spotify) that been able to launch music and/or TV/Movie services in the mean time. Some of these services have even launched on the Android OS for the Australian market. Microsoft’s Xbox music platform is said to be making a move for the Australian market through Android, too. If that doesn’t rub salt in the wounds of loyal Australian Google fans, what will?

It’s also a little embarrassing when I tell friends and family how good the Android eco-system is and they ask an extremely reasonable question I can only answer one way. The question? “I don’t want to use my credit card on-line. Can I buy charge up cards or gift cards at a supermarket and get credit on my account that way? I see them all the time for iTunes and Xbox and other services.” Umm, sorry. No. Google doesn’t love you or want your money that much… unless, again, you live in the U.S.

Also, try looking for English (Australia) as a locale in stock Android on a Nexus device. It doesn’t exist. Having this changed through third party apps in 4.2+ is not an easy task for your average user. Australia spells differently to the U.S and we don’t use the pound sign for currency like the U.K. does. What the hell am I supposed to do? How much more of a slap in the face do us Google and Android fans in Australia want?

The lack of communication regarding where things are at is what is truly annoying. I’m a big Google fan and I have all, if not most of my services with them for that reason. But I’m seeing more and more that they seem to view the Australian market with contempt. No communication, no indications of when things will be available and it’s more annoying and laughable than the Apple Maps fiasco.

Where’s the beef, Google Australia? Where’s the beef?

For the sake of obviousness, I’ll gloss over the pain Australian customers felt while Nexus devices were (and still are if you’re after a Nexus 10) in short or non existent supply over November 2012 to January 2013. Even though during this period other countries got multiple attempts at scoring a Nexus 4 phone at various times while Australia only got one at launch and that’s it. Until, of course, their supply issues got straightened out in February this year. Yeah, we’ll just gloss quietly over that one. *cough Nexus 10 supply cough*

The U.S. isn’t the only country on the planet and Australia is screaming for attention! As I’m sure other countries are, too! Because I know Australia isn’t the only country on the planet either.

My problem is that some of the things listed here are completely within the control of Google. Others aren’t, I understand that. However, some communication on how things are travelling, and if some of the things that are within the control of Google can be looked into and resolved would be a huge boost. It would likely allay the concerns of, at least, this one Google fan. Who has waited patiently for both simple and complex things to be rectified.

Why don’t you love me, Google?

LOVE ME!

Allan O’Rourke works in I.T support during the day and play drums for a Sydney metal band (Dawn Heist). Allan also loves Google’s services, and would love them more if they loved him back.

  • Chris Johnson

    I literally had this whinge on G+ yesterday.
    With exactly the same two major examples.
    In exactly the same order. In exactly the same way.
    It seems that Google think we are more backwards than some backwater Amish town. Truth of the matter is, we have a much wider deployed NFC EFTPOS system than they have, and they have the evidence that Google Wallet, when worked on, and people were able to find ways of buying, and recharging Google Play cards, the system _worked beautfifully_.

    Come on, whats the deal. We are just as techologically literate and capable as you are America.
    Maybe its time for someone in Australia to roll out a new OS to suit any manufactured Android device, and make sure it has complete functionality and support everywhere _but_ the United States.
    Home > Dial > “We are sorry, but using this device for making calls is not supported in your locality at this time. This capability may be added in a later update. Please try again later.”

  • Mich

    Couldn’t agree with you more mate. So sick of bloody US centric companies. If you don’t value the Australian consumer and their dollar, then p*ss off, don’t sell your crap here and give us second rate service for top dollar.

  • Frank

    I will give you 291, 293, 440 reasons why Google doesn’t care about Australia. Population of Australia 22,620,600, Population of US 313,914,040. Be happy Pandora (non-google product) works in only the US – Australia and NZ. Google Wallet would be nice. Would like to pay for my coffee with my phone like in Canada.

  • http://motorcentral.com Ben

    They keyboard thing is the mos perplexing, it’s like no one at Google Australia uses an Android device. Google Music is also a major missing piece. OK Voice and Wallet would be brilliant, but Music is so fundamental to the ecosystem and yet it is completely ignored.

    I still have an AppleTV to rent movies. It would be great to use Google’s service, but there is no Nexus GoogleTV I can purchase here through the Play store, and as mentioned in the article, the offerring is watered down. A year or so ago I’d empathise and say licensing is difficult, but as the years drag on, there has been little to no progress.

  • moldor

    Allan works in “IT Suport” ?? HE takes calls on a Helpdesk !! Talk about over-inflated opinions of yourself..

    • Tim

      Um… That IS IT support, dude!

  • Anthony

    Answer: Small market

    It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

  • Jeremy Simon

    Google Voice!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Anderton/504726871 David Anderton

    We’re not loved, not because we are Australian, but because we aren’t American. The Majority of your arguments would be the same for any other non-US country and in many cases are worse.

    • Craig Harvey

      Spot on. It’s just a US-centric world when it comes to tech.

  • Xi

    We also have a huge mobile market here,but something like half the population of has a smart phone maybe more. And some of the best mobile networks in the world covering almost the whole continent.

  • vin7

    I agree that there are some Android services that US has than any other country. One example is Google Voice. But I doubt GV will be coming to Australia, we have a different billing compared to US.

  • nicholas

    personally I call this “geographic fragmentation”. let’s get that phrase to catch on..

  • Adam

    Hi Allan, nice band plug.

    You can use pre-paid credit cards on Play.

    Nexus accessories can be purchased through the manufacturing partners – HTC, Samsung & LG.

    Fair points otherwise & good insights for Google to look into.

  • Blake

    It’s true – we and other countries are getting the fist of it. They need to fix this if they want to compete with Apples ecosystem.

  • Tim

    omg. and how big is the Australian market in comparison to the US market? You should know this. If you are so disappointed, why don’t you go live in America.

  • wordly

    I tend to disagree actually. Since Google bought Motorola they have gone from over 70+ countries down to 13 countries they are selling product to in 2013. Australia is one of these countries. Many countries in Europe wont see Motorola/Google products this year at all. Australia has the same population as California. We are a tiny market in global scope so why would a company spent huge $$ on a market that will return them maybe 2% of their global effort.
    In reality this year Google are spending a lot of money in Australia in their forecast and expecting little profit back on that (ROI rate in Australia compared to USA is tiny). So the real truth is Google are over spending in Australia for the return they are getting.

    • norkle

      I hear the sense in this argument. However being a global player (or not) means having a global world view (or not). If multinationals thik its ok to pick and choose which markets they will support, their brand will leave a foul taste in the mouth down the track. Australia (and New Zealand) is an incredibly heavily competed market – Europe, Asia and North America all play here. But they still seem to make a buck.

      • wordly

        I wish business was this honest and easy. Australia was only on the cusp of receiving ANY Motorola or Nexus branded products this year. The only reason we survived in Australia is because the cost of running the business here is low. Only 13 countries in the world will get Moto products this year…. Australia is one of them…. I think that say a lot of Google supporting Australia.

      • Noumenon

        1. In the era of digital distribution would it not be far less complicated for Google to negotiate with content providers for a global distribution model rather then a region based model?

        2. Thanks to micro transactions in applications a lot of my friends who have kids prefer to prepay for mobile apps / music / movies on their smart devices. The other option is to wind up with huge credit card bills and the best smurf village on their device.

      • HRTrulz

        The issue Google can negotiate a global distribution model as the music, movies and TV companies are run separatly in each country.

        Book publishers are the worst at this when it comes to audio books, allowing some books and not others be sold in each country.

    • davo77

      Sorry to correct you but California has nearly double our population (38 million).

  • lol

    Google Wallet!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.watson.750 Chris Watson

    Great read. Agree with everything you say. I have a Nexus 4, and love it. But why did Google make it so hard for me to get one. They could be selling plenty in this Country now, especially before SG4 and HTC one hit the market

  • David Smith

    Nicely reasoned argument that doesn’t become a directionless rant. I agree that we are treated like second class citizen compared to the US and the imposition of geographical boundaries on the internet has always annoyed me.

  • http://twitter.com/downforce Peter M

    Have to agree as well! I’m a proud fanboi.

    Although I probably wouldn’t use Music/Video even if it was available, the locale thing and accessories are truly irritating!!! Glad I can purchase apps via Telstra (but that only works on my mobile, not my wifi Nexus 7).

    Let’s hope Google give us some love soon.

  • Craig Bowles

    Still waiting for Google Music here too :(

    • Ben Truscott

      VPN my friend. But to buy, yes, we wait!

      • nicholas

        Wrong. You’ll also need a credit card from the UK or US.

      • http://ausdroid.net/ Daniel Tyson

        To set up Google Music is relatively painless, HotSpot Shield to setup the account from there you don’t need a VPN etc to stream or upload music.

        Purchasing music you WILL need a CC based in the US/UK.

      • nicholas

        nope.. I did this not long ago. to SETUP google music, you needed a local credit card. i think. now you’re making me doubt my memory.. damn you sir.

      • http://ausdroid.net/ Daniel Tyson

        I have done this a couple of times including recently. No CC needed to set it up.

      • Beaker

        I also tried recently, after finally getting my Nexus, and it wanted a US credit card. My better half has a UK credit card, I didn’t realise I could use that!

      • Peter

        I set this up a few days ago, didn’t ask me for a credit card at all. Dunno what’s going on.

      • nicholas

        I should add.. I did happen to have a UK credit card that was still active so I could set it up. you’re right about not needing to be VPN etc to access.

  • steelbytes

    re using credit cards, I think google added support for billing play store purchases direct to telstra phone accounts (not sure if that’s postpaid or preaid). don’t think others like optus are yet cooperating with google on this.

    • Ben Truscott

      Its both, I have prepaid and it works like a charm.

  • Ben Truscott

    Very good. Agree with everything. There is so much more they could be doing for us. We gave them Google Earth and the Harlem Shake. What more could we do? I love Google to.