Google Software engineer Steve Yegge accidentally broadcast a 4,500 word rant about the company and described their latest social networking exercise as a "pathetic afterthought" and a "knee-jerk reaction" according to ZDNet's Ed Bott.
In the rant he talked about the failings at the company and then accidentally broadcast it to the world.
Google+ is far from the first attempt by Google at cracking the social networking scene and so far, while popular will some millions of Google service users, it seems to be failing to set the world alight.
In his blog post, Yegge said...
Google+ is a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms from the very highest levels of executive leadership (hi Larry, Sergey, Eric, Vic, howdy howdy) down to the very lowest leaf workers (hey yo). We all don’t get it. The Golden Rule of platforms is that you Eat Your Own Dogfood. The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought. We had no API at all at launch, and last I checked, we had one measly API call. One of the team members marched in and told me about it when they launched, and I asked: “So is it the Stalker API?” She got all glum and said “Yeah.” I mean, I was joking, but no… the only API call we offer is to get someone’s stream. So I guess the joke was on me.
Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product. But that’s not why they are successful. Facebook is successful because they built an entire constellation of products by allowing other people to do the work. So Facebook is different for everyone. Some people spend all their time on Mafia Wars. Some spend all their time on Farmville. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of different high-quality time sinks available, so there’s something there for everyone.
Our Google+ team took a look at the aftermarket and said: “Gosh, it looks like we need some games. Let’s go contract someone to, um, write some games for us.” Do you begin to see how incredibly wrong that thinking is now? The problem is that we are trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them.
What is clear to everyone is that Facebook have a stranglehold on the social networking market which they achieved through allowing third parties to build their own apps and plug-ins for the service. As Yegge goes on to say.
Facebook gets it. That’s what really worries me. That’s what got me off my lazy butt to write this thing. I hate blogging. I hate… plussing, or whatever it’s called when you do a massive rant in Google+ even though it’s a terrible venue for it but you do it anyway because in the end you really do want Google to be successful. And I do! I mean, Facebook wants me there, and it’d be pretty easy to just go. But Google is home, so I’m insisting that we have this little family intervention, uncomfortable as it might be.
He's clearly not happy about working for Google though, a company which has gone from golden child to anti-trust target in just a few short years.
[T]he “not getting it” is endemic across the company: the PMs don’t get it, the engineers don’t get it, the product teams don’t get it, nobody gets it. Even if individuals do, even if YOU do, it doesn’t matter one bit unless we’re treating it as an all-hands-on-deck emergency. The problem is that we’re a Product Company through and through. We built a successful product with broad appeal — our search, that is — and that wild success has biased us.
It's clear that no company is perfect and that many people inside any company, although I hope not mine [especially as I'm self-employed] will be deeply unhappy with company policy at any one time.
Google+ may or may not be a good or indeed a great product (I've not tried it myself) but it's clear that a great many people think it is a good service and a good idea. Whether it will gain significant traction in the coming months or be decommissioned like the company's previous attempts at social networking remains to be seen.
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