Android Market

We see Google working hard to provide better support for Android developers, and that's a great thing.  We want developers for our platform of choice to be well taken care of so it's worth learning to code for Android and releasing great applications.  Google's not perfect in this regard, but they keep improving, and that's the only way to make it better.  But el Goog needs to start focusing a little more on user support.

Recently, I stumbled across an app in our forums that I wanted to try.  It's an Aquarium screen-saver type app for Google TV on my Logitech Revue.  I'm an Android nerd, and an aquarium nerd (we had jackets made), so I thought I would give it a try.  Just so happens that I ran into some Market issues, and was in some magical diabolical limbo where I had paid for the app, but couldn't download it or pay for it again.  It's not the first time we've heard about this happening -- the cofounder of doubleTwist just ran into it as well when trying to buy his own app -- and it's not even the first time we've seen it happen on the Revue.  There's a chance you've read about someone with similar issues on the Internet somewhere.  Unfortunately, it's a fairly common issue.  

So I did what any self-respecting Android user would do -- tried to hack it to make it work.  Wipe Market data, clear cache, even a reset of the device.  All with no luck.  I couldn't make the Market know I had paid so I could download, but it knew I had paid and wouldn't let me pay again.  All that was left to do was click the support link.  

Clicking the support link of course sends you to an online form to fill out.  Tell it some transaction details, describe the issue, and submit.  Then wait.  And wait.  And now it's been two weeks and still no response.  I get that they're busy, and that this is only a buck.  Not exactly high-priority stuff. But to leave a user hanging for two weeks waiting on any type of response is just poor customer service, plain and simple.  I'm fairly well versed in all things Android-ish, so I eventually contacted the developer with my transaction code.  But my mother isn't, and would have not known any way to resolve this little issue.  A little issue that leaves a big impression, and not a good one.  Google has shown that they want to take Android mainstream in a big way, and introduced a really user-friendly version with Ice Cream Sandwich.  Now it's time they focus more on the little stuff.

That Aquarium app?  I got a copy to sideload after talking with the developer, and it kicks ass.  We'll be reviewing it soon but If you are looking for a beautiful app made specifically for Google TV, grab it and check it out.  


Reader comments

Editorial: Google needs better user support in the Android Market


Oh, I don't know, I had a movie rental thru google that got hozed somehow and I applied for the refund, got it withing 2 days, and once they had deleted the rental record from my account I was able to rent it successfully.

Two days doesn't seem that bad for a company with a gazillion clients.

Whenever I have this issue now I use the market on my computer to get the contact info of the developer. I have found that Google is useless in these cases but the developers when actually contacted about the problems have always come through for me. The Android platform has some awesome developers and I do what I can to support them. But as the article states, most people will have no clue how to resolve this, it must get better.

I don't understand why you just didn't give them a call? They would have helped you out within 24-48 hours.

Because it told me to click the link for help.  No where does it suggest you call anyone, nor should a user have to make a phone call when support can be offered via e-mail channels.

I would actually really agree with this, I got a GoogleTV at the end of November, and I keep getting notifications saying there are updates available (anywhere between every day to every few days), I click on it and nothing shows it needs to be updated. Repeat again several days later. Also having several times that there might actually be an app update available, but when I try to update it, it says "not compatible" and grays out.

Also related to annoying experience, I created a brand new account for the GoogleTV, I did add the email to my Android device (so I get notifications), but didn't ever sign into the Market or anything else and randomly it shows my phone if I go to as well as the TV.

To be honest, this where Android is lacking, The Android Market

They need to fix that ASAP. I've contacted the Support about an issue I'd about a year & a half ago & I didn't a get a reply to this very day. I even sold that phone !!!

They need to fix allot of things in the market, apparently their solution is : Just theme it

Plus, there's the paid apps section, they need to make it a global service. I've been dying to buy some Apps for almost 2 years now, but I can't because Saudi Arabia is not supported. Its not like we don't have android phones here, we had the Nexus, the note, SGSII, Sensation (all variants, regular, XE & XL) since day one

Apple made the App Store Global since day one & I've bought $@% load of apps for my 1st Gen. IPod touch. So as my friend for his IPhone 3G S

& Google wonders why Apple App store makes more money for both Apple & the developers & why they choose iOS as the platform to develop for. & why people use pirated apps

This is my second Android phone & google has showed no signs of making the paid section global, if that didnt happen , My next phone wont be an Android phone

Its Not Motorola's fault, they were good to me & their Support helped me allot & didnt complain at all. Its Google's fault

i know this limbo all too well. the market and the payment issues definitely need to be fixed. most of the time when i buy an app, i'm in this exact same situation, but it almost always fixes itself within a little while. unfortunately, by the time i can download and install it, the return window's usually passed.

that being said, my one experience with google's support was kick-ass. i downloaded EA's worms and it didn't work. EA's support (or lack thereof) is horrible. i'll never, ever buy from them again, but that's a story for another day. i went to the app in the web market and contacted google directly asking for a refund, and within minutes--literally--i had a response and a refund. i couldn't have asked for quicker or better support.

Over the last three Weeks I have made about 8 transactions in the market using my Galaxy Epic Touch. Of those 8 transactions for apps and music, 3 of them got hung up in limbo like mentioned above. I couldnt play or open anything, payment confirmation c as me to me but I couldnt download it. 2 got refunded but 1 I was out the money.
The market does need fine tuning in my book!

I've experienced the limbo issue as well. In addition to that, I've found several glitches, shortcomings and serious oversights by Google that make me want to give up on Android altogether, but unfortunately it's the lesser of the three evils, so I'm forced to continue with Android.

Recently when EA finally released Plants vs Zombies on the Market, I was overjoyed that finally people outside of the US can take delight in zombie hunting activities. I was mistaken. (FYI, I'm based in New Zealand.) The market allowed me to purchase and install the app without any issues. The game launched, data was downloaded. Took about 14 minutes. Then the dreaded EA message popped up: Unsupported device. (which in itself was odd, as I've heard reports that it worked quite well on the SGS2.) I had to make a really quick decision to hit the refund button as my 15 minutes were almost up. So what do I do next? Try and contact the developer of course. Only thing is, my carefully constructed email which "praised" how awesome I thought EA was, never actually reached them - the email bounced back. Tried sending it again, double checked the address with that listed in the game, and again, no dice. I then looked up the game again on the web market to see if there were any other contact methods.. and then imagine my shock when it said : "Country not supported". I was like.. WTF? o_O That was the first time I saw a message like that. I can understand device not being supported, but country? What, are they like zombie export laws now? Was the MPAAZ behind this? Anyways, this was indeed a shocking sight. On one hand, the mobile market allowed me to *purchase* and install the app, only to be greeted by the device not supported message (probably EA's fault), then the developer email address didn't work (definitely EA's fault), and finally the web market didn't even allow me to install the same app, saying my *country* wasn't supported! (Google, I'm looking at you). Overall, a very harrowing experience. Atleast, I'm thankful that my net speed was fast enough so that I could refund in time. 15 minutes is too less, especially to try out a game. WTF were Google thinking?


The other annoying thing with the web market is that it seems there's no way to remove your other devices from the list.. I've got three devices on there, two of which I no longer have/own. It's annoying to choose which device to install to, every single time. I looked into the settings and couldn't find anything. After talking to a couple of other Android geeks, I can confirm there is no way to delete a device from the list!

Google, are you listening?

@Google While you are at it: How about finally allowing the user to delete devices he/she doesn't have anymore?

...and apps. The web version still shows I have apps installed on my current phone that I haven't had on there for many many months.

My gripes with Market:

-Limbo as mentioned
-Refund window for apps that takes longer than 15 mins just to download data files, only to find the app not working. /looking at you Gameloft
-Removing old phones or giving my phone a new identity every time its flashed with a new ROM
-Web market switching to foreign language when selecting install Example

I still believe they should have 2 classes, one for tested and one for how the market is now. Tested should be Google "certified" apps that they test before release and charge developers more to submit under this option to cover costs.

I LOVED my Google Revue, prior to the Honeycomb update. I'm not sure why everyone likes the update, the market is an absolute joke on it and the app for finding "what's on" tv currently is far too laggy compared to the old text menu.

Tried watching a movie on yesterday only for the web browser to decide it wants to take a dump and load an ad page instead of the movie because I accidentally double clicked it to get it to play full screen. You would think it would load in a separate window and all would not have been lost but IT DIDN'T! I gave up shortly afterward, lag was unbearable. Why is there a crackle app for my Evo, my SGS2, my wife's NS4G but NOT MY GOOGLE TV?!?!?


Since this is turning into a Market gripe-fest, I might as well express my emotions as well...

It is beyond me why there is literally no way to rate/review an app in the market on Honeycomb. You have to go to the market through the browser to rate an app, but usually when you try to do that, it pops a message saying you need to install the app first to review it when in fact it's already sitting right there on the device...huh??

User support?? They don't even give DEVELOPER support. Considering users far outnumber developers, I'd say, don't hold your breath.