Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tips for Google: Southwest in Flight Search

Google's flight search could be useful. But, sadly, they don't have my prices for Southwest Airlines. Something must be done!

I can speculate a few reasons SWA excludes itself from other agencies or sites, and chooses to sell exclusively on their own website:
  • It may cost money to be in those systems, either explicitly through fees or implicitly through added overhead due to commissions.
  • Southwest might lose its reputation as a low-cost carrier if its fares were shown side-by-side with other carriers.
Regarding the first point, Google doesn't need the fee revenue, and including SWA in the search results will drive more traffic to SWA's own website. There is precedent. SWA lists fares both on Travelport and Expedia's Egencia. Comparison-shopping is ok for corporate travel, but not regular consumers?

Regarding the second point, in my personal experience, Southwest's fares are definitely more expensive than competitors', to the tune of about 25%. But SWA is more customer-friendly. It is much better not being hit with fees for every little thing. Flying American? Want to check a bag? Fee. Want to switch flights? Fee. Want to cancel your reservation? Fee. Want to redeem a rewards ticket without enough notice? Fee.

You pay more for Southwest's flexibility. Is it worth it? Probably.

Maybe it doesn't make sense to allow "ordinary" people to comparison shop if they lose their reputation for being cheap. If big G really wanted to list SWA prices I can imagine, say, only listing their prices on pages where you also show the competitors' fares with one checked bag included while also listing the base fare. That seems fair, pun intended.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tips for Google: Blogger Configurable Ad Formats

Blogger rolled out dynamic views some time ago. They provide a really nice, modern interface.

But, as far as I can tell, dynamic views ignore ad format settings, being able to choose the type and size of the ads. I absolutely hate flash ads, and if I can't prevent them, I'll just remove ads altogether.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tips for Google: Blogger Scheduled Sharing

Blogger supports sharing to Google+ from the list of posts. Blogger also supports this wonderful feature of scheduling posts. But you can't share a post until it is public.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could share scheduled posts, meaning that when they become public, they will also be automatically shared to Google+?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tips for Google: Drive Archive Support

To start posting more regularly, I'll start a series on small pet peeves with Google products.

Let's start with Google Drive. Google Drive can support archive file formats but only zip and rar according to the support page.

It should therefore be easy to add support for more archive formats, but notably missing are tar-based formats. Why not include uncompressed tar, and tar compressed with gzip, bzip2, and xz?

Finally, I end with two questions whose answers are not obvious: does Drive's search functionality extend to documents included in an archive? And, can archives within archives be viewed as easily?