Former Google employee gives company a "-1"

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."

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I deleted my G+ account...it's makes no sense having one..well unless you are Robert Scoble who think G+ is the best thing since sliced bread..lol

yardmanflex said,
I deleted my G+ account...it's makes no sense having one..well unless you are Robert Scoble who think G+ is the best thing since sliced bread..lol

yardmanflex said,
I deleted my G+ account...it's makes no sense having one..well unless you are Robert Scoble who think G+ is the best thing since sliced bread..lol

Yeah and facebook is just amazing, I can type letters into a box, my friend reads it from another screen. (ITS SO AMAZING,OMG!!!!..... even tough I see him every day for 8 hours ,etc...

google is the new MSFT. a slow company to innovate that totally missed the opportunities. google never saw social coming, now it is struggling to compete. never saw twitter coming and buzz was a total failure. g+ is a sea of dead accounts they have given to people who don't use them. by artificially inflating their stats they hope to get some traction, but nobody is using that network. not to mention they are already facing growing anti-trust and monopoly abuse both localy and internationaly. it is only a matter of time before they are force to de-bundle everything, just like MSFT or split into multiple companies.

google simply failed to learn from MSFT and follow it's playbook to the letter. must have been all the people they hired away from it.

neonspark said,
google is the new MSFT. a slow company to innovate that totally missed the opportunities. google never saw social coming, now it is struggling to compete. never saw twitter coming and buzz was a total failure. g+ is a sea of dead accounts they have given to people who don't use them. by artificially inflating their stats they hope to get some traction, but nobody is using that network. not to mention they are already facing growing anti-trust and monopoly abuse both localy and internationaly. it is only a matter of time before they are force to de-bundle everything, just like MSFT or split into multiple companies.

google simply failed to learn from MSFT and follow it's playbook to the letter. must have been all the people they hired away from it.

I agree that Google feel into the same trap as MANY other American corporations. They have a hit product that becomes their cash cow and they begin to believe that their innovations can make consumers leave other market leading products. Thats not to say that it can't be done but as is often the case, the first out with a good product wins the loyalty of the public unless the market leader allows their market leading product to go stale. (Netscape let Navigator go stale and IE took its place. Then Microsoft let IE go stale and although I THINK IE is still the market leader its dominance has diminished significantly)

Google dominates in Search and Smartphones but Android's dominance might be clipped by the scrappy OS WP7 not because its from Microsoft but because its innovative, remarkably stable and currently lacking the attention of the bad guys. Just like Microsoft, Google has the time and money to dump into G+ to stay in it for the long-haul and make G+ succeed. My guess is all they have to do is hold out long enough for Facebook to get lazy.

Disgruntled former employee gives his ex employer negative review.


That's not news. That's likely a loaded opinion now that's he back with a competitor.

AWilliams87 said,
Google has always been an advertising company; not to imply there's anything wrong with that however.

Yeah but the problem is they want to be Facebook

and people thought MS was the big bad wolf in the corporate world, you are just seeing the beginning of what google is all about.

korupt_one said,
and people thought MS was the big bad wolf in the corporate world, you are just seeing the beginning of what google is all about.

Google is the new Microsoft and Microsoft the new Google...

LORD!

GS:win

korupt_one said,
and people thought MS was the big bad wolf in the corporate world, you are just seeing the beginning of what google is all about.

The saying "Power corrupts" have never been more true. We'd see Microsofts "true colors" too if they were in Google's position.

Brian Miller said,
G+ is just a big fail.
I actually hate using it.

People actually use G+ after reserving a G+ account?

I went back to Facebook after creating my G+ account.

Brian Miller said,
G+ is just a big fail.
I actually hate using it.

I don't think it's that bad. I think it's pretty good actually, especially if you like photography, since there are heaps of photogs there. It lacks variety though, and it's not for everyone. I prefer Google+ far more than Facebook though, and the choice would be a no-brainer for me if both networks had equal sets of users. Facebook has become such a complex network with so many feed settings, blocks, lists, etc... It's a sign the network model is flawed to the core when they need to patch it this much. Thankfully, Twitter also exist.

I think Google tries a little too hard...

Methinks, Facebook, if it can be thrown over, will not be thrown over by a competitor having two more awesome game, fivty-nine (people: "I don't care I just wanna message") features or whatnot, but rather by FB effing up big time.
So, Google... stay classy and stay steady.
When (if) FB fails, you got some market to aggressively try to enter.

Just accept that it won't work just because you try harder.
People who want to connect do that were people are, not features, bang and all that whiz 95% of the users don't care about.
It's nice you try, but you contribute little more than framenting a market that actually would profit most from centralizing and consolidating.

I think social networks should just be a front-end, a GUI and maybe a TOS-thing, rather than an actual backend.
Because the real back-end are always your friends.

This of cause is absolutely against the rules of profit and the market.
Still, though, many of us enjoy (yes you read that part right) markets where we have monopolies and centralized structures.
It actually CAN be good, the problem is, people are greedy and when the money is way up there, people will try to F with you, hence you shouldn't put ALL your coins on one company.

Sigh...

Still waiting for social networks to become more like email.
Everyone use the service they want, (for me) ideally with a client on all my devices and my computers to use it offline, too and to download my messages and content.
The network being actually for sync, not for single place of storage.

So it's easy to move your data around or close your account and don't lose everything.
(People, do you know what a joke the download your data service of FB is? Also: You cannot see a user's tweets further than 3200 tweets into the past. Yes, a 3201 tweets user's first tweet cannot be searched for via the APIs - awesome, right? Bet there are more examples.)

GS:mac

From your predominantly unintelligible rant (with all due respect), you actually hit the nail on the head!

When I first heard of G+ I though, "nice, 1 SN to manage them all." Heck, there was even Google Wave with its blending of correspondences into a single stream.

Alas, the details began to emerge and G+ morphed into the exact thing NOBODY wants. People actually want fewer walled gardens than ads! G clearly tried to apply an Apple hardware monopoly to the software world... and are just biding time until the Motorola acquisition closes and then they'll re-invent themselves as the "other" (albeit "non-evil") hardware+software company.

Unfortunately, G will have less success than FB did with the FB Phone (the one with that Like button offered by T-Mobile). Why? I suggest that their envy and jealousy of their limited innovation engine is keeping them up at night. G cannot be everything to everyone; they have to allow others to specialize in cool markets just to remain relevant in their own! MS knows this (they allow/welcome failures like OpenOffice to challenge their market leadership) and they're doing perfectly fine today.

Hey, Google! Start positing the future and stop dwelling on what Apple and Facebook are doing. Just try to make my search experience better... you're still lagging there, in many regards.

Nas said,
From your predominantly unintelligible rant (with all due respect), you actually hit the nail on the head!

Lately people on Neowin are getting funnier and funnier! This cracked me up! :-)

Well they have been pushing Google+ a bit too much in your face when you use other Google services. Kind of annoys the user.

Jebadiah said,
Just thought this would be funny because you like to complicate English for no reason. LOL

I take it you haven't seen Star Wars?

Dot Matrix said,
I love what his daughter said to him: "Social isn't a product. Social is people."

Wrong. Soylent Green is people!

Jaybonaut said,
....and no one is surprised, considering all the garbage about Google lately.

All i can say is google search quality is seriously declining it does not even even match what i typed in

Didn't see that coming. I do software testing for a major IT company and a bunch of us QAers listened/watched a webinar presentation by him in early december about how google does testing and he seemed pretty into it.

spenser.d said,
Didn't see that coming. I do software testing for a major IT company and a bunch of us QAers listened/watched a webinar presentation by him in early december about how google does testing and he seemed pretty into it.

Yeah I saw that same webinar. I'm suspecting this is a case of him having a bad experience / failing and getting reprimanded and so now he's angry about it. The two people I know that work for Google and talk to on a regular basis are quite happy with their work.

spenser.d said,
Didn't see that coming. I do software testing for a major IT company and a bunch of us QAers listened/watched a webinar presentation by him in early december about how google does testing and he seemed pretty into it.

He was being professional, I think. Or perhaps his decision to leave was not taken yet then. It's not because you are leaving a company or planning to that you have to act like a jerk or unprofessional. It's just work ethic, I believe.

he's spot on. Google is pushing google+ and advertising to the detriment of all its other products. For example the failed integration of picasa into google+, and mandating google wallet, Google search and its horrible black PLUS bar etc, etc, etc

GoogFAIL, GoogFAIL, GoogFAIL!

dvb2000 said,
he's spot on. Google is pushing google+ and advertising to the detriment of all its other products. For example the failed integration of picasa into google+, and mandating google wallet, Google search and its horrible black PLUS bar etc, etc, etc

GoogFAIL, GoogFAIL, GoogFAIL!

Google is, first and foremost, an advertising company so I'd expect everything else to play second fiddle.

jakem1 said,

Google is, first and foremost, an advertising company so I'd expect everything else to play second fiddle.

first and foremost Google is a Search Engine

Redz0ne said,

first and foremost Google is a Search Engine

No, jakem1 is right on the money--Google is an advertising company. You monetize a "search engine" by selling ads. If you won't admit that, I'm curious to hear your take on it.