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Is it possible that Google writes code to automate the moderation (for lack of better word) of the extensions in the Chrome Store because they are trying to avoid paying hundreds of people to do it manually? I know it's easy to say "Google doesn't care about you," and generally it as a company may not care, but they also are not in the business of putting us out of business.

It feels like to me that they have just become a sprawling mass of interconnected yet disjointed divisions but without any real customer service department that can handle the amount of requests or situations like in OP. I am not on their side in any way, but Occam's razor and all, it just seems the most likely explanation to me is that they are just too cheap to pay people to handle the volume of customer issues they have? Or would it not be economically feasible? What do y'all think?

[Edited to divide into two paragraphs for slightly easier reading]

> Is it possible that Google writes code to automate the moderation (for lack of better word) of the extensions in the Chrome Store because they are trying to avoid paying hundreds of people to do it manually?

Undoubtedly, for the Chrome Store as well as all of their other properties.

Ultimately, Google's business model is about earning fractions of a cent per view/download and making it up in volume. Their profit margin depends on relentless cost optimization, and humans are inevitably the most expensive part of their support/maintenance systems.

Google undoubtedly doesn't want to put extension writers out of business, but if they adjust their procedures to give cases like this real human attention then they will undoubtedly allow a few dozen spammers/scammers to also receive human attention.

(Note: I present the above without judgement. If I were to add my judgement, I'd say that I don't think that this state of affairs is a good thing, and in the long run we may need to reconsider whether algorithmic promotion of content without human oversight is viable.)

I'm still a bit surprised they're not offering a paid support tier. That'd still suck for non-commercial extensions, but at least help with the "extension filtering is killing our business!" cases.

I'm afraid is more complicated than that. If they were to add non-mandatory paid support, any time someone were at risk of losing its extension would feel/believe it's an extortion scheme to force him to pay for support (whether that's true or not).

I can’t see how a healthy browser extension ecosystem would help Google. Without Google getting any real value out of it, it makes total sense they do a poor job managing it.

I somewhat agree, yet wouldn't a healthy extension ecosystem (excellent term, btw) attract more users to Chrome and in turn keep users more entwined in the larger Google ecosystem? I guess there is a cost/benefit analysis done. They put just enough effort into it to get the return or results they want. The little guys like OP (who arguably make the best content because it's open source and not full of trackers or other junk) just get stepped on along the way.

I don’t know at all, but if I had to guess extension usage is pretty low. I’m not sure the average user really sees browser extensions as something they need. They aren’t as obvious as say mobile apps. On the flip side, extensions like Honey seem to suggest at least enough people use them to be of some worth.

Some of the more popular extensions have thirty+ million users, and this is for trivial fluff functionality. When you hit up the extensions dealing with adblocking or say, interacting with Instagram, they can hit 100+ million easily.

If people increasingly head back to FF or other alternates?

It's clear that Google don't want to hire humans and run customer support centers. According to reports, this has bit them in GCP adoption as well.

That's fine but at least have a human review before taking disastrous actions like taking down extensions, lockdown Gmail accounts. If you can't afford even that at least have an appeal process where human would review the case. If you can't make the economics work even for that maybe just don't run the app store.

GCP does have support engineers who work with you on things.

It does? Haven't used it yet and have no near future plans to change that. As long as there's a single account, the support of each part of Google matters, because it could cause your account to be closed.

GCP most certainly does have support engineers available!


There's a variety of different tiers to suit your required level of support, and some products (e.g. G Suite) come with free in-built support.

(I work as part of Google Cloud support organisation).

The problem many people have is that they're (rightfully given the horror stories on HN) afraid that anything they'll run afoul of GCP guidelines (i.e. some AI flagging "fraud" or "spam") may also close down their personal and all other Google accounts with no way of reaching a human.

If GCP wants more adoption then you have to fix this shit. Seriously.

Hi, I currently use Azure which has strict lines between organisation tenancies/domains/accounts and personal ones. This means I know that my liability is limited to my business.

Can you assure me that if I move to GCP, have a VM get infected and you ban my GCP account, my personal account will never get banned too? Or that of my next employer? Because I keep reading about that happening...

Well, in general - would you use your personal email account for work?

So for example - say I have a personal Gmail account (e.g. cute-boy-88@gmail.com)

But if I was working for a company that had spun up GCP infrastructure - my work would likely provide me with a work email address (e.g. trevor.jacobs@bankofengland.co.uk) - which I would use, rather than cute-boy-88@gmail.com.

This also covers the use-case that for example, you leave the company (in which case the company still controls those accounts), or an employee goes rogue and tries to takeover their work account.

In general, you would try to keep your work/personal accounts separate - you're not going to put your personal account as the recovery email for your work account for example. Your system administrator (or IT team at work) is going to be the one who resets your password, or recovers your account - and they're not going to send private work passwords to a personal email account (or they shouldn't).

Hopefully the above helps.

No, of course I wouldn't, but my understanding is that Google (unlike any other company I know) will "pierce the corporate veil" and ban people not accounts. It's not hard to correlate accounts, my chrome is logged into both my personal and work accounts. My computer has a unique ip address. My phone has both accounts logged in as users.

Is that enough for the ban to follow through and hit both?

If you sign into multiple google accounts in the same browser window, then those accounts are linked behind the scenes. You do not have to explicitly link them together. There are plenty of stories on reddit of devs whose company accounts got into trouble because their personal account was in trouble.

> they also are not in the business of putting us out of business

Actually, the way they've expanded their range of products I'd wager they've put quite a few people out of business. It's especially bad if your business happens to not be one of the ones they acquihire, but one of their competitors, as evidenced by a handful of antitrust lawsuits.

You'd need to hire more than "hundreds", especially since people get mad about false positives and false negatives. How long do you think it takes a reverse engineer to completely and thoroughly vet a browser extension or mobile app? A day maybe if you are doing it quickly and longer if you are doing it thoroughly.

Now do that for every app and extension. And repeat it for every single version that is ever uploaded.

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