Google has many products and services, and many people all over the world use one or more of these. Examples include Gmail, or Googlemail, Google Maps, Google Keep and the Google Chrome Browser. Google's will aggressively release new products into the market, typically as a beta for the opening weeks, months or even years. During this time, early adopters of the technology can see considerable change and evolution of the product, or in some cases, changes are subtle – such as Google Inbox. But what do customers really think of Google's products and services?
Feedback – positive and negative – is vital for any business to improve and refine its products and services. Google is no different, but luckily there are several ways we can let Google know. The most obvious route is by using the software, although this is not always a true representation of how much we like a device. In the case of the Gmail application, Google can see how many customers use the Gmail application on their Android application and what sort of accounts they use it with, be it a Gmail account or one from an alternative provider such as Microsoft or Yahoo. However, should a customer not add a Google account to an Android device but still uses Google Maps, this might be because there are no alternatives available and not because he or she likes using the Maps application. Another route, at least for the Android and iOS applications, is to use the app store to rate and review applications. This is an imperfect way of capturing feedback as many people will rate and review a product they have a strong feeling about and ignore something they need to use or simply fits the bill.
Luckily, Google has another idea up its sleeve: the Google User Experience Research Team is starting a coast to coast United States road trip in March and April in order to talk to users and customers for direct feedback. Google's website on the matter (see the source) discusses how Google releases and tests products throughout several stages, such as at the idea stages, through initial development (alpha versions), into testing versions (also known as beta versions) and when completed and shipping. However, feedback is important to the team but they are aware that when working in an office they do not always get to talk to the ultimate end customer all that often. With this in mind, Google have built a research van, which will be used in a research trip from New York to California. The van will be spotted in a number of cities across the country. However, Google is vague as to what, exactly, they are seeking feedback on: instead the text explains that this will be used to shape the future of Google.