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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?


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.

Companies: Google