Another Ex-Google Employee Blasts Google plus

Google might want to start instituting a gag order on all outgoing employees- and some that are still there as well. Another ex-employee has published a high-profile online criticism of the search giant, citing Google+ as a particular sore spot.

Spencer Tipping was a programmer at Google for six months, by his own description. His parting shot is unlike a lot of the other criticism out there because by the author’s own admission, it’s more an expression of his own personal reasons for leaving the company. Tipping admits that he has had “much trouble staying in one place,” holding several professional positions for brief amounts of time over the past few years- and at many points in the blog post, he acknowledges that a complaint is more a reflection of his personal biases than a critique of Google.

The post itself has taken on a life of its own: several updates and clarifications appear before and after the main section, not to mention the footnotes in the original post.

Tipping cites “technological culture” as his most pressing concerns, giving several reasons that probably don’t mean much to non-programmers. He criticizes various aspects of the coding being done, and some of the languages in which it is done at Google.

Of course, the most public attention is focused on the #1 complaint in his “Corporate Culture” section: Google+. Tipping writes:

I think Google+ is an effort that does not deserve the engineering minds at Google. This is mostly a personal bias. I see Google as solving legitimately difficult technological problems, not doing stupid things like cloning Facebook. Google, in my opinion, lost sight of what was important when they went down this rabbit hole.

Former Google engineer James Whittaker echoed some of these sentiments, especially the “rabbit hole” aspect, when he explained his decision to join rival Microsoft:

Social became state-owned, a corporate mandate called Google+. It was an ominous name invoking the feeling that Google alone wasn’t enough. Search had to be social. Android had to be social. You Tube, once joyous in their independence, had to be … well, you get the point. Even worse was that innovation had to be social. Ideas that failed to put Google+ at the center of the universe were a distraction.

And in October 2011, Google engineer Steve Yegge accidentally published a 5,000 rant about his employers, calling Google+ “a pathetic afterthought… a kneejerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking.”

What do you think? Do they all have some valid points?


Andrew Ross said...

Not really. In my opinion, G+ is one of the better moves that has been made, mainly because it is so much better than the run-of-the-mill social sites.
The privacy settings are upfront and clear, unlike Facebook. Also, the "circle" function is far better than "friends" on Facebook. Let's be honest for a moment- No one truly has thousands of friends. Thus, I am truly enjoying the fact that when you add someone to your circles, you can add them as friends, acquaintances, etc., or create a new designation.
As for Myspace, (yes, there are still a few who use it), G+ has not made the same mistake. What killed Myspace, imho, was the inordinate amount of advertisements... To say nothing of becoming more geared towards something other than the individual user.

Aside from simply how it compares, G+ pulls way out into the lead by its integration of YouTube, the ease of posting pictures, the simplicity of updating, etc.

Finally, the thing that truly sets G+ apart is the rapid response I personally received when sending in a complaint. The chat windows used to minimize behind the feedback icons. Within a day of sending the complaint, it was changed.
Now, I don't delude myself into thinking that they changed things around on my say-so alone; nor am I so simple as to believe they weren't already working on something to fix that issue. What was awesome, however, was the fact that I got an actual response from the department to my email inbox.
No other Social site has ever done that. Myspace seems to have gone on an extended lunch whenever you send anything to them, and Facebook pretty much views any sort of contact as a personal insult or threat.

Frankly, Spencer sounds like a crybaby. Whittaker came across as a well educated and informed individual, but also as a crybaby. Yegge at least made some very excellent points in his release. However, what every single one of these guys are complaining about the loudest is "social media." They don't want Google in "Social Media."
Call me crazy, but what could a bunch of engineers, and now a programmer, possibly have against sites that allow people to enhance their social circles; conduct business one on one; etc.? Is it possible that the stereotypes are true?

AsigotTech said...

Well, "not doing stupid things like cloning Facebook. Google, in my opinion, lost sight of what was important when they went down this rabbit hole." Im real grateful for this particular rabbit hole :) +1

On a professional note as both a used to be dev and a current sys/dev consultant if you have a problem with the company you are leaving tell them when you quit not in a public post slamming them, that's just un-professional - criticizing an ex-employer who paid your bills for stuff is shitty, it is not like he was exposing racism or corruption etc just winging. -1 to that and after that I would not buy a line of code from the guy

P V Ariel said...

Thanks Adarsh for the note on this new break away news. But, I don;t think so, I fully agree with Andrew Ross's views.
Keep inform
Best Regards

PS: Adarsh, pl take out the word verification it will be easy for your readers to comment

Post a Comment