Apple, of course, have their own stores, staffed by “Geniuses”, whereas Google don’t. So, in order to provide quality support for buyers of the Pixel 2, Google decided to offer one-to-one support through their “Preferred Care” program.
The program goes further than email or online form support by having an “expert” (you’ll notice we’re putting all these monikers in “” because it’s really unlikely any of them with be either an actual genius or an actual expert) who will call you to discuss any problems you might be having. They even going as far as to screen share to offer ultimate assistance. Or so the sales pitch from Google would have you believe.
In itself, it’s a pretty decent thing to do. At least it seems to until you start to read the details about what kind of expert help is actually available. If you have a technical problem like your phone has become unresponsive or the battery is draining faster than a cold beer on a hot day, then forget it. That’s not what these experts are there for.
The help is limited to the following, and this is taken directly from Google’s own Pixel 2 support page.
So, as you can see, practical help with features are covered, but actual technical help it ain’t. It makes it all a little bit show without substance.
In the main, it’s likely that what you’ll get is the Google sales brochure content for any answers you might need. Take the Google Assistant, for example. Anybody who’s looked at it in any depth will tell you it still has severe limitations on its effectiveness when compared to the likes of Siri and Cortana. But we’re pretty sure the “expert” who calls you will be happy to tell you it will change your life. Well, it will, but not necessarily for the better.
Not only that, but Preferred Care is only available in the USA and Canada. So the rest of the world is left to work this stuff out for themselves. That is despite of having no doubt paid a premium in their purchase price to fund the service. Also, if you are a Canadian French speaker, the service isn’t available 24/7 as it is for English speakers, which is a little odd if we’re honest.
Okay, it might sound a little unfair to criticize Google for offering Preferred Care. Not everybody is able to figure out how to set up a new phone, or might live for years without knowing what the phone can actually do. But we are disappointed that technical assistance has been left out of the program completely. For those who don’t need help with the list above, the program is pretty pointless. They need practical help being available when something goes wrong. And, like those in Europe or elsewhere, they’ll have paid their share towards the upkeep of Preferred Care.
It’s a great idea, and it may develop in the future. Yet, it just doesn’t go far enough for anybody other than absolute beginners on high end smartphones.
Apple store staff may not be geniuses. However they will try and fix whatever problem you have, however broken your iPhone may be. That Google have omitted even basic technical help from Preferred Care is, we fear, a mistake. One that they will need to put right sooner rather than later. The service is also not available for buyers of the original Pixel. That is yet another reason to question just how “expert” these people are if they can’t offer help for more than one device.
You do get two years next day replacement warranty on the Pixel 2. It was 1 year and with a $79 deductible at launch, so at least Google have seen their mistake there. Oh, and it costs $129, which makes it as expensive, if not more so, than many specialist tech insurance policies.
Again, and we’re really not usually big on praising Apple. Yet you can walk in an Apple Store with an original iPhone and they will still try to help. By comparison, Google Preferred Care had well intentions, but ill thought out and poorly executed, unfortunately.