Photo: Via Google+
Last night, Google engineer, blogger, and frequent public speaker Steve Yegge wrote an epic rant about Google’s inept handling of the Google+ platform.His primary message: Google+ is not a platform like Facebook. It’s trying to dictate the direction of Google+ instead of opening up to developers and letting them show Google what makes sense and what doesn’t.
He posted the rant on Google+, but forgot to turn off the “Public” sharing option. It was only meant to be shared internally at Google.
The manifesto, for lack of a better word, begins by detailing Yegge’s grievances about working under Jeff Bezos at Amazon.
Yegge goes on to outline everything he thinks is wrong with Google, and with Google+.
While Yegge took down the post from public view, he plans to re-post it internally at Google.
It’s definitely worth a read.
Here are some insightful highlights from Yegge’s post:
- “That one last thing that Google doesn’t do well is Platforms. We don’t understand platforms. We don’t “get” platforms. Some of you do, but you are the minority. This has become painfully clear to me over the past six years. I was kind of hoping that competitive pressure from Microsoft and Amazon and more recently Facebook would make us wake up collectively and start doing universal services. Not in some sort of ad-hoc, half-assed way, but in more or less the same way Amazon did it: all at once, for real, no cheating, and treating it as our top priority from now on.”
- “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 Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought. We had no API at all at launch, and last I checked, we had one measly API call.”
- “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.”
- “The problem is that we are trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them… You can’t do that. Not really. Not reliably. There have been precious few people in the world, over the entire history of computing, who have been able to do it reliably. Steve Jobs was one of them. We don’t have a Steve Jobs here. I’m sorry, but we don’t.”
- “And also don’t get me wrong about Google+. They’re far from the only offenders. This is a cultural thing. What we have going on internally is basically a war, with the underdog minority Platformers fighting a more or less losing battle against the Mighty Funded Confident Producters.”
- “It’s everyone. 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.”
- “I’m not saying it’s too late for us, but the longer we wait, the closer we get to being Too Late.”