In 2009, Google made a big deal of James Whittaker coming on board as the company's new test director. Whittaker came to Google from Microsoft where he was previous Software Architect for the company's Visual Studio team. Now Whittaker has not only returned to Microsoft (this time as a web futurist) but has written a long and very critical blog post about his time at Google.
Whittaker's main point is that the Google he joined in 2009 is not the same company he left in February 2012. He states:
The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.
Whittaker said he enjoyed working at Google at first, saying that there was a lot of focus for innovation and taking on challenges. According to him, the problems began with the rise of Facebook. He claims that Google felt threatened by Facebook, mainly because the site could take away much of Google's advertising revenues.
Whittaker says that Google started to put in more social features in all of its products. He states, "Even worse was that innovation had to be social. Ideas that failed to put Google+ at the center of the universe were a distraction."
Ultimately he says that Google was no longer a good fit for him, saying:
The old Google made a fortune on ads because they had good content. It was like TV used to be: make the best show and you get the most ad revenue from commercials. The new Google seems more focused on the commercials themselves.
Whittaker signed off on his blog post with this simple statement: "The old Google was a great place to work. The new one? -1."