back to article Google can't innovate anymore, exiting programmer laments

Seven years ago, Google software engineer Steve Yegge, having failed to understand the risk that a private social media rant might become public, lambasted Google for its failure to understand software platforms, with Google+ serving as his whipping boy. Despite calling out Google's leaders by name and highlighting the …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Well...

    Despite calling out Google's leaders by name and highlighting the Chocolate Factory's "short-term thinking," he did not get fired, as happened with a more recent memo penned by former Google engineer James Damore.

    Damore also being targeted for a quite public "burning" due to egregious crimethink.

    That's the difference between a disagreement on (tech) policy and a disagreement on (diversity) politics.

    In the current year, the latter is utterly intolerable.

    1. NoneSuch
      Happy

      Re: Well...

      "The Register asked Google if anyone there would care to respond. We've not heard back."

      The gal responsible for that left.

      1. BillG Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Well...

        He explains this by arguing that Google, having become successful, has become focused on protecting its business rather than pushing boundaries. He contends the company is mired in politics and is arrogant.

        The first sentence leads to the second, which leads to burning money. See Xerox, Kodak, Motorola Semiconductor, Compaq, etc.

      2. Grade%

        Re: Well...

        "The gal responsible for that left."

        And the lad hired to replace her is in the loo playing with his mobe

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Felicity Kendall is a wonderful woman, and I want to protect her

          "the lad hired to replace her is in the loo playing with his mobe"

          I've never heard it called *that* before.

  2. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Yegge slams Google for becoming competitor-focused

    Well, it's a strategy that worked pretty well for Microsoft before phones - it just depends on how good you are at beating/buying the competition because "me too" isn't the outcome you're looking for, it's "just me".

    The difference between Google and Amazon it would appear to me (and I have worked for neither) is that Google puts its tech staff in fancy offices, feeds them fancy food and gives them time to work on their pet projects in the hope that they might happen upon a lucrative product. Amazon, on the other hand, knows what it's trying to achieve and just expects the staff to get on with their work.

    Former Amazon people seem to be a lot less vocal - which should tell us something.

    1. Godwhacker

      Re: Yegge slams Google for becoming competitor-focused

      For what it's worth, the two ex-Amazon people I know both hated the place.

      1. Insert sadsack pun here

        Re: Yegge slams Google for becoming competitor-focused

        Amazon is a legendarily awful place to work: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html

    2. Aitor 1

      Re: Yegge slams Google for becoming competitor-focused

      meetoo works.

      What you do is present a free alternative to your competitor, and burn money.

      As you have a position of power, you have lots of money. Your competitor doesnt have that much, therefor both "lose" in the market: but as you are the one with deeper pockets, you end uo winning.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yegge slams Google for becoming competitor-focused

      Warm Braw,

      What it tells you is that Amazon people have learnt that 'Mouthing off' gets you nothing and sets you up to be 'Downsized' at the next reorg or at least to not get on the next 'Big' Project. :)

      Whereas Google people 'forget' in the 'real world' your opinion is not needed unless asked for, by your Employer, and the 'parting shot' is only of value to their own ego.

      Being treated as 'Special' may be a useful trechnique for Google to get 110% from everyone but it makes many of their employees get a little too carried away by their own importance.

      Unless you are lucky enough to be taken on at another company that is prepared to 'stroke your ego' daily to get a return on your pay I am sure many ex-Google people have a very rude awakening when they come back to 'Planet Earth' where the rest of us work.

      Jealous, quite possibly but I know not to burn my bridges because I think I am God !!!

      I know that 'Reality' is waiting just around the corner to remind you, when your head just won't fit through that doorway, how 'important and indispensable' you really are. <Grin>

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Yegge slams Google for becoming competitor-focused

        I think you pretty much summed up the unwritten rules for gainful employment. I suspect that many people either never learned this or feel they are special enough to ignore it. I hope you get a thousand upvotes just for the sage wisdom.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The main reason I left Google is that they can no longer innovate."

    click and discuss.

  4. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    WTF?

    Google?

    Do they still exist?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google?

      Yep, and doing very well, doing advertising well, and making consumer products and platforms that people like.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google?

        Curiously, duckduckgo for search, don't use G+ or Chrome, ChromeCast languishing in a drawer, don't have Nest. Only thing I really find useful is Google Maps.

        1. Tomato42 Silver badge

          Re: Google?

          Google Maps?

          OpenStreetMap has much more detailed maps.

          1. handleoclast Silver badge

            Re: Google Maps?

            OpenStreetMap has much more detailed maps.

            OpenStreetMap may have more detailed information than Google, depending on where you're looking. It can also be rather sparse.

            Also OSM's maps are not really intended for the general public but as an aid to mappers. The general public are meant to use offerings provided by others which are based upon OSM data. OSM itself has nothing comparable to Street View. Yes, you might be lucky to get a few snaps from Mapillary or OpenStreetCam but you probably won't be that lucky.

            I'm not knocking OSM. But the only reason OSM gives a lot of detail around where I live is because I've slowly been adding it myself (and there's still a lot left to do). Some parts of the UK have many more active mappers, others have nobody. OSM is not (yet) a complete replacement for Google maps.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Google Maps?

              > OpenStreetMap may have more detailed information than Google, depending on where you're looking. It can also be rather sparse.

              Cut the hand waving and show us a few different places where Google has more detailed (and ideally, accurate) mapping information than OSM.

              > OSM is not (yet) a complete replacement for Google maps.

              You have said it yourself: OSM is the map, Google maps is an integrated product. It includes mapping data, presentation, and a number of other features such as business listings and so on. As a global product it is still pretty decent but it has been getting worse in terms of speed, usability and memory consumption. And increasingly, it feels more of a fancy business directory than an actual map.

              In terms of mapping details and accuracy, Google Maps is pretty abysmal as soon as you leave high-income areas:

              * https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=19/41.98457/2.81570

              * https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@41.9847325,2.8154127,19z

              * https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/34.6422/50.8787

              * https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@34.6408157,50.8746301,16z

              * https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=15/12.1179/15.0414

              * https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@12.1202806,15.0430937,15z

              *And* this is taking another consideration into account: I have been privately told and shown evidence that Google takes data from OSM without acknowledgement (taking data is the whole point of OSM, but you do have to give credit). OSM, like any other map, also contains traps (in very subtle ways which do not detract from the quality of the map), which consistently and inexplicably pop up in Google's own maps. Look in particular at places where Google does not credit the map to any third parties (like the examples I gave above). Quite why they would do that I really do not understand though. All they have to do is add "OSM contributors" to their legend, it's not like anybody is asking them for money or anything.

              1. handleoclast Silver badge

                Re: Google Maps?

                @AC

                In places, one of us is having difficulty comprehending the other.

                > OpenStreetMap may have more detailed information than Google, depending on where you're looking. It can also be rather sparse.

                Cut the hand waving and show us a few different places where Google has more detailed (and ideally, accurate) mapping information than OSM.

                You ask for clarification of something I did not say. OSM can have more detailed info than Google but OSM doesn't necessarily have any detail at all. I know this from where I live. Before I started mapping it had far fewer businesses marked than Google and there was less detail (they were marked as nodes, not outlines). Now there are more businesses mapped than Google and they are mapped in greater detail than Google.

                If you want to check this, find a rural area and look for buildings (farmhouses/barns/whatever) At high zoom with Google you'll at least see a (faint) box which is a very crude approximation to the building ouline (taken from whatever out-of-copyright map Google used to bootstrap their maps). Do the same thing on OSM and there may be no sign of a building at all.

                Yes, OSM has the capability to hold more detail about an object but it doesn't mean that such detail has been added or that the object is even in the database at all. OSM has the potential to be better than Google, and often is, but often is not.

                As for intentional copyright theft by Google, that depends. Maybe you have seen enough evidence to be sure, I haven't (but I wasn't looking for it). I don't doubt cross-fertilization (both directions) occurs, but I don't know the extent or the intent.

                OSM newbies sometimes use Google and/or Ordnance Survey maps to get details for armchair mapping, although they shouldn't. Similarly, anyone can submit suggestions and edits to Google, so that could be one way OSM data gets into Google, if somebody sees something on OSM and adds it to Google. Wrong, whichever direction it transfers, but not sanctioned by either organization and probably not wide-scale.

                How about if one of Google's local "guides" (people who submit changes and vet changes submitted by others) occasionally looks at OSM and if he/she notices a change makes an effort to go and check it for himself/herself? Not technically wrong (as I understand the legal issues, which is to say not much) but might give the appearance of copyright violation.

                How about if Google processes OSM changesets and send out "suggestions" to local "guides" that they ought to go out and survey certain things? Still not technically wrong (same proviso) but would be much more likely to look like widespread copyright violation.

                You seem to be suggesting that Google is processing OSM changesets and simply adding them to their maps. Maybe they are. In which case they're being very naughty. Or maybe it's one of the other scenarios I outlined, and they're not being naughty at all. Maybe the evidence you've seen (which, technically, is hearsay) allows you to be sure.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Google Maps?

                  > In places, one of us is having difficulty comprehending the other.

                  Please note that there might be more than one AC posting, which may account for a degree of confusion. Sometimes I end up replying to what in the end turns out to be an earlier post of mine, usually disagreeing.

                  > You ask for clarification of something I did not say

                  What you did say has been quoted. In any event, it can't be too difficult to link to actual examples to illustrate what one may or may not be discussing.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Google?

            OpenStreetMap might work for you perhaps. I've just taken a look in my local area and much of the "detail" from OpenStreetMap is wrong (offset) when compared to both my local knowledge and the Ordnance Survey. This is a huge issue to me as I have no way to determine where their mapping is fantastic and where (like local to me) it is badly wrong, so I can't trust any of it.

            1. handleoclast Silver badge

              Re: OpenStreetMap

              @AC

              This is a huge issue to me as I have no way to determine where their mapping is fantastic and where (like local to me) it is badly wrong, so I can't trust any of it.

              This can have numerous causes. The offset you mention could be due to your own GPS (cheap units can take a minute or two of being stationary to settle) or the mapper's GPS or the parallax of the aerial imagery used, or the supplier of aerial imagery got the offset wrong (mappers can compensate for offset errors in aerial imagery if it's obvious). The essential topology ought to be reasonably good even where the absolute co-ordinates are offset.

              Where OSM can beat Google (if a mapper puts in the effort) is greater detail. In my area there are streets where one side has numbered houses and the other side has named houses (no number ever assigned). One street has this arrangement except when it turns a corner the sides swap between names and numbers. Google is no help if you're given the name of a house that's on a long street, and often the house numbers are wrong (sometimes wildly wrong). Google occasionally gets the extent of streets wrong when two individually-named streets join to form one longer street. Google even gets street names completely wrong, occasionally.

              If your local area is wrong, there's something you could do to fix it. That may not benefit you much, but it may benefit others and they, in their turn, may improve the mapping in an area you want to explore one day. That's one of the fundamental properties of Open Source: you can contribute and you gain from the contributions of others.

              BTW, Ordnance Survey occasionally gets it wrong, too. They're smart enough to claim their errors are actually protection of copyright, so if they see those errors on somebody else's mapping they can assert copyright violation. A very smart way of covering up your errors. :)

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                Re: OpenStreetMap

                They're smart enough to claim their errors are actually protection of copyright,

                A trick known as a "Mountweazel".

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: OpenStreetMap

                > This can have numerous causes.

                More to the point, every map has an inherent scale, even digital ones. In this case, it depends on a number of factors which include as you point out acquisition and digitisation errors (in the sense of precision / tolerance, not in the sense of blunders). These may be different for different areas of the map, or even for different elements in the same area; take for example a coastline and the outlines of houses next to it (such as this place), where the coastline may have an inherent scale (roughly, the scale at which the smallest bit of detail can be resolved) of say 1:50,000 whereas the houses show detail to 1:5000 or more.

                This in itself does not mean that a map is wrong, it is all down to the use that one makes of it. As Suárez Miranda observed, exact maps are not popular.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: OpenStreetMap

                Yes I could correct the local bit around me that I can see is wrong. I could do that by memory or by slavishly copying the Ordnance survey map that I have observed to be correct. But in doing so I stll would have zero trust in OpenStreetMap for anywhere else. Fortunately I don't need too. I can use Google Maps for getting from A to B and Ordnance Survey where I need more detail both of which I trust. This leaves no place where OpenStreetMap has value to me and as such it is not a project that I wll support.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: OpenStreetMap

                  > by slavishly copying the Ordnance survey map

                  Anyone thinking of doing that should first check that he is in fact allowed to do so.

                  > that I have observed to be correct.

                  And anyone thinking along those lines should satisfy himself that he is actually qualified to assess the correctness of a map. It is not as obvious as it may seem.

                  > This leaves no place where OpenStreetMap has value to me

                  Anyone making a decision based on selfish considerations is invited to ponder whether benefit may be obtained by others.

                  > and as such it is not a project that I wll support.

                  Anyone deciding not to support a given project is quite welcome to abide by his decision.

                2. handleoclast Silver badge

                  Re: OpenStreetMap

                  This leaves no place where OpenStreetMap has value to me

                  It's a good job you have no desire to visit my neck of the woods. There are streets around here where one side of the street has house numbers (some houses may also have names) and the other side has house names with no numbers (as far as I can tell, numbers have never been assigned). Which is a bit of a problem with Google Maps, which only has numbers (and sometimes gets those completely wrong). Also a problem with OS (but a lesser problem) which has some (but not all) official house names and doesn't map unofficial house names (which the owner may have put up without registering it and then uses the name rather than the number to refer to the house). If a mapper has put the effort in, OSM will display whatever house name is visible from the street, be it an official, registered name or an unofficial, unregistered one.

                  OS doesn't show most types of shop or office (pubs and banks are some of the few exceptions). Google Maps, like OSM, shows shops and offices that people have bothered to map. Around my area, Google Maps is far less complete than OSM with regard to shops and offices (a year ago, before I started mapping, the situation was reversed).

                  OS doesn't show opening hours, telephone numbers or URLs of businesses. Google Maps and OSM can show these things, but only if some mapper has added the info.

                  OS and Google Maps don't show listed buildings or scheduled monuments. OSM can show these if a mapper has added them.

                  OS and Google Maps can't show hygiene certificate ratings, or types of beer sold, OSM can (if somebody has bothered to map them).

                  All three have good points and bad points. I see them as complimentary not competitors. In some situtations one is preferable to the others; in some situations it may be worthwhile consulting all three. There is a place for all three. Writing off OSM seems somewhat short-sighted.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Google?

              > I've just taken a look in my local area and much of the "detail" from OpenStreetMap is wrong (offset) when compared to both my local knowledge and the Ordnance Survey.

              Can you post an actual example?

        2. localzuk

          Re: Google?

          @AC - you're a bit of a minority there. Google is still the most popular search engine, Android is the most popular phone OS, Chrome is the most popular browser etc...

        3. EarthDog

          Re: Google?

          most your name so I can take a life insurance policy out on you.

  5. The Alphabet

    I'd argue the real issue is Google is too US-focussed (how many times have we heard "US only"?) and often times international expansion (or international-focussed products) is just an afterthought, if that.

    1. Robin

      "too US-focussed ... and often times ..."

      Irony alert :-)

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      "the real issue is Google is too US-focussed"

      The rest of the world should count themselves lucky for that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Never a truer word has been said !!!

        "the real issue is Google is too US-focussed"

        The rest of the world should count themselves lucky for that.

        ^^^

        So agree, there are sometimes real advantages to NOT being the US of A.

        Not having Trump is one although we do have May / Corbyn and the BREXIT Saga which should be enough for anyone !!!

    3. Paper
      Meh

      I live in Canada

      It depresses me how Canada is always an after thought. Canada is *literally* attached to the USA, with 90% of the population living within 100 miles of the borders, speaking the exact same language in an almost identical accent (and some frenchies, but we won't talk about those sexy folks). Would it honestly be that hard to role out the same services at the same time? Sorry.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I live in Canada

        almost identical accent

        Abow-oot the same accent...

        1. Paper

          Re: I live in Canada

          Haha!

          Canadian: What aboot giving us the same services?

          American: "abooot!"

          Canadian: What are you talking aboot, eh?

          American: ABOOOT?!?! EH?!?! *pew pew pew*

          Canadian: *This is why Canada can't have nice things*

          :p

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: I live in Canada

        "speaking the exact same language in an almost identical accent"

        A remarkable achievement, considering that people in the US don't share the same accent. The regional differences are sometimes so severe that people from different parts of the US can seriously struggle to understand each other's speech.

  6. Adam 52 Silver badge

    Curious article. Starts by doing a hatchet job and ends by using the post previously lambasted as the basis for the text. Truly biting the hand that feeds.

  7. IHateWearingATie

    Thought experiment

    If you were a hiring manager and he applied for a job, would you take the risk of a similar hatchet job when he left?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Thought experiment

      Indeed. The IT world is surprisingly small. How long until Yegge turns up for an interview for his "dream job" ... and finds his ex-Google VP on the interview panel?

    2. Named coward
      Trollface

      Re: Thought experiment

      Definitely - because as a hiring manager I'd be convinced that my company is so good that no one could possibly think that way about us!

      1. GeorgeTuk

        Re: Thought experiment

        Or even...imagine a world where BlockChain isn't a license to print money or pivots into something else entirely and he needs to leave this hallowed job he has found, or maybe they just don't like him and get him out...

        Well then a simple Google search (ouchy!) will turn up him slating people by name and the company, not once but twice!...I don't think I would want him on my team

    3. EarthDog

      Re: Thought experiment

      I might hire him for a startup. Startups sometimes need people like that. And large corps. do not want or need people with the personality to take on a startup.

    4. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Thought experiment

      His statement wouldn't affect my hiring decision very much, but to the extent that it did, it would be in his favor.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thought experiment

      The Hatchet job is not really the issue, it is the fact that obviously he stopped being part of the Google Team at some point to have all these issues.

      Do you think he was giving his all for the company at that point for his Salary & Benefits ?

      Obviously not as he has found another job and jumped ship.

      At what point are you going to be the next Company to Fail to meet his criteria for success and he jumps again ?

      Most employers are after someone long term, he has already planted the seed, in my mind, that he is not neccessarily someone to stick things out and will jump as soon as he does not get what he wants.

      The old saying 'No one is indispensable" is true based on every company I have worked for and the experience of how even the very best employees are able to be 'canned' if the circumstances are right.

      Not that I agree with this but that I have not found any company that has been unable to get rid of someone because they were 'too good to lose'. We the workers at the coal face MAY have thought that but I have never found a manager yet who has balked at getting rid of someone no matter their skills.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thought experiment

      > If you were a hiring manager and he applied for a job, would you take the risk of a similar hatchet job when he left?

      Absolutely. I do need people to speak out with total frankness when they see something is wrong, regardless of rank. Our mistakes cost lives. There is no room for egos or sensitive souls at my company.

  8. RyokuMas Silver badge
    FAIL

    It is inevitable...

    This is just another step in the lifecycle of the IT mega-corporation: they've hit the stage where they are now driven by greed as opposed to any desire to innovate, and projects that are not making money are sidelined or dropped. At the same time, it becomes harder and harder to kick off anything new or innovative because the board/shareholders need proof that the new project is going to be profitable to a desired level within a given timeframe.

    Next up will be that opportunities get missed, simply because they are perceived as "not profitable enough" (Ballmer and the internet, anyone?), and someone else will get the landgrab. And round we'll go again.

    1. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: It is inevitable...

      Oh, I've been watching the corporate lifecycle milestones for a while now. What I find fascinating is that *before* it reaches them everyone says they've reached them. Reality is irrelevant. Belief is truth. People deliberately create that which they fear by denying it in any other form.

      They still aren't where everyone says they are, but the entropy is beginning to exceed the pumps capacity. The temperature will rise, and systems will begin going into local-survival mode to cut down on the exposure and preserve remaining local internal order. After that, hot potato games start as they try and pump disorder onto each other in order to save themselves, and the gestalt starts breaking down. The aboves recognise the problem and try to cool the system by forcing order down from above, which never really works, as you can't cool things from the inside. The rest everyone knows.

      Organising humans is a fascinating science that it appears nobody *actually* studies as a science, and certainly nobody implements - everyone just has opinions. The same opinions, rehashed, for the last hundred years..

      Now, maybe if you had a machine agent personalised for each employee arbitrating the inevitable information overload on their behalf using their own personal values...

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: It is inevitable...

      where they are now driven by greed

      Nope - driven by greed works, it's what starts companies

      They are now driven by fear and self interest - protecting your own dept/budget/bonus at the expense of the company.

      Concentrating on keeping competitors out to protect margins rather than looking for new businesses while lobbying for tweaks to tax codes.

      It's the traditional first steps down the MSFT->IBM->Kodak pipeline

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: It is inevitable...

        "Nope - driven by greed works"

        You know that Gordon Gekko was just a film character, right?

        Also, he went to prison in that film.

        1. Steve the Cynic

          Re: It is inevitable...

          Also, he went to prison in that film.

          Bud Fox went to prison (or, rather, was heading to court to face a probable jail term). Granted, GG probably *also* ended up there, but that point doesn't appear in the film.

          And of course he wasn't wrong in that speech. He just took it too far. The fundamental premise, that successful people have very often been driven by greed (usually avarice, greed for money), isn't universally applicable, but functions very well as a first-order analysis tool.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: It is inevitable...

            " Granted, GG probably *also* ended up there, but that point doesn't appear in the film."

            It's a given.

            BTW, he came out of prison in the second film. Presumably he went into prison before coming out of it.

      2. EarthDog

        Re: It is inevitable...

        Most of what we call good companies were founded by people who didn't have money as the primary goal in the beginning. Google, FB, HP, Apple, Hughes, and more started due to interest in tech. only when greed kicked in did the decline start. Often triggered by going public.

        A good example of what greed does is the minerals industry.

        Greed is a pathological force for destruction.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: It is inevitable...

          "only when greed kicked in did the decline start."

          Just look at Firefox now.

          Greed makes people blind to the effects of their actions. That is part of the very definition of greed, IMO.

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: It is inevitable...

        "Nope - driven by greed works, it's what starts companies"

        Sometimes. Certainly not all of the time. There are many motivations to start companies that are unrelated to greed.

    3. rdhood

      Re: It is inevitable...

      "This is just another step in the lifecycle of the IT mega-corporation: they've hit the stage where they are now driven by greed as opposed to any desire to innovate, and projects that are not making money are sidelined or dropped. At the same time, it becomes harder and harder to kick off anything new or innovative because the board/shareholders need proof that the new project is going to be profitable to a desired level within a given timeframe..."

      In a nutshell, that was my experience at HP for the last 20 or so years.

  9. ratfox Silver badge
    Headmaster

    having failed to understand the risk that a private social media rant might become public

    Not quite: "having mistakenly posted to his public account a rant that was intended for his corp account"

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge

      he was just proving a point about G+ being a steaming pile of garbage and Big G idea that _switching_ between identities, not having completely separate accounts, is what people want and are actually able to use

  10. Cristi_Neagu

    I think he's pretty much right. For years it has been clear Google lost all direction. I first saw this was true when they started killing off Hangouts. It was sort of established, people were using it, it had all possible means of communication with one person in a single window, and then they decided to kill it off and introduce some weird apps no one wanted to use that didn't even cover Hangouts' feature set. Now they're doing it with Android pay. Banks invested in that, they advertised for it, and now they're ditching it.

    They have absolutely no idea what they're doing. They are more concerned with controlling people and their thoughts than with actual innovation and technological advancement. They forgot they're not supposed to be evil. Unfortunately, no other big company puts innovation above all else. Facebook has the same interests as Google and Apple only cares about making money.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      "and now they're ditching it"

      Yeah, but wait, isn't that basically Google's MO?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Insider tip on Google: to be promoted you must demonstrate that your product had a sufficiently complicated problem, and you came up with a solution to it.

      You need not demonstrate that the problem is unique or original, merely that the solution resulted from individual work and demonstrates technical insight.

      So the company rewards reimplementation, and it's easiest to prove individual work and insight if your guys built the whole product.

      Hence Hangouts died in favour of Allo and Duo, and Allo and Duo will die in favour of the next identikit products, because it could no longer attract sufficient internal talent — the relatively complicated bits were already done. So in terms of your career, it's a dead-end team.

      The search engine will always be there because they can interchange the internal products that go into it without anybody knowing the difference. Some other things, like GMail and Maps, are big enough that they should survive just because killing them is almost unimaginable (but, again, expect their internals to be reimplemented needlessly for personal enrichment). The Android team, thankfully, is still mostly outside of the normal Google mismanagement.

      For anything that never makes it all the way to tier one, don't get too used to it.

  11. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Hire the best person for the job

    Google isn't bothered if their company goes to shit and their developers got their jobs because of their gender or ethnicity, instead of talent - Just as long as they have 50% men, 50% women, somewhere between 2-10% of their workforce gay, 2% mexican, etc.

    The sad truth of the matter is you could be the best programmer in history, but, "oh, you're a white male. Sorry, we have too many of those so we're giving the position to this Nigerian woman, since we don't have one of those yet."

    Sad, but Apple and Google both do this now. They hire based on diversity first. And as a minority i despise this approach because it's fucking stupid and discriminatory.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Hire the best person for the job

      I can only imagine that it must be galling to have got a position on merit but have colleagues assume you got it to fulfill a quota?

      - white English male

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        Re: Hire the best person for the job

        Take a look at the testing criteria for australian Firefighters. You're now much more likely to die in a fire as the standards were dropped so low, to get more women into the job, that the firefighters passing the test can't lift anything heavier than a toddler.

        The female firefighters are now complaining about this since they got their jobs based on merit and are suddenly token women, and assumed to be too weak to do their jobs and save people.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I've also noticed that doodle discriminate against the living.

          Is this positive discrimination for those with no voice?

          Can people opt out of becoming a future doodle, or is that a privilege reserved for the living?

          1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

            RE: AC

            Positive discrimination isn't positive to the people you discriminate against. It's one thing to market in Black Times/Gay Times to boost numbers. It's quite another to say you're no longer hiring X since you have too many.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Allo?

    Had literally never heard of it until reading this. Just shows how irrelevant Google is becoming.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Allo?

      Allo can be useful for getting in touch with people who might not using the same mesaging service as you. It's quite clear that Google has plans for the notification service it uses to do this.

      Both Allo and Duo are also examples of making an app as simple as possible, although this is somewhat marred by including the Assistant in Allo.

    2. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Allo?

      Did they ever get The Fallen Madonna With Ze Big Boobies by van Klomp to Switzerland?

  13. Spooks

    Google doesn't innovate?

    C'mon be fair..

    1)Chromecast is cross-platorm, great value for money and gives life to any TV with a HDMI port. Don't need special apps, just use the ones you are used to. So simple my 80 year old father has and uses two.

    2) Chromecast Audio,cross platform too, essentially Sonos at 10% of the cost. Use any speaker or existing HiFi kit. Actually better cos you can natively use any supported app (aside from Apple Music who refuse to do the whole cross platform thing)

    3) Android has some great innovative features like Smart Unlock, Instant Tethering, etc.

    4) Google Photos. Quite possibly the *best smartphone app on any platform*. Cross Platform. Damn easy to use and great example of AI and Machine Learning made simple.

    5) Google Assistant, best in class voice recognition, especially in noisy environments. Independently reviewed to be the smartest of the digital assistants

    6) Google Pixel 2 - reviewed to have the best camera on any smartphone (battery lasts over a day too easily). 'Bokah' effect using software whereas competitors require two cameras.

    7) Tensor flow on-device processing...

    I'd say Google are innovating just fine...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Google doesn't innovate?

      Your examples may be nice pieces of tech, but they're a tiny drop compared to the oceans of Facebook and AWS, the examples the article gave of what Google has been trying to catch up with.

      You've listed tweaks, not market game changers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google doesn't innovate?

        Wait till Apple does the same...you'll be needing a new box of Kleenex

        Facebook are innovating how exactly? Chat heads? Facebook launcher? Russian Ads?

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Google doesn't innovate?

      You also havent actually listed anything which was particularly innovative. They may be great products but innovation? Nope. Taking something, making it popular, or easier to use does not make it innovative. Thats Apple Reality Distortion Field level of thinking...

      Chromecast is just an internet streamer over hdmi. They existed before Chromecast, and whilst chromecast made it popular, that doesnt make it innovative.

      Chromecast Audio - a copy of the Sonos system (just as you mentioned)

      Android - a copy of ios created to break the apple walled garden.

      Google photos - ok i havent used so i dont know what you find innovative, but there are dozens of photo apps out there. Does it really have features no other had before Google Photos came out?

      Goggle Assistant - hello Siri...

      Google Pixel 2 - improving the camera is not an innovation - adding a camera was an innovation (thanks Nokia!). The Bokah effect you talk about, was it really the first?

      Tensor Flow - cant comment, dont know enough...

      Innovation is creating something new and ground breaking, not just making something popular...

      1. samster

        Re: Google doesn't innovate?

        "Chromecast is just an internet streamer over hdmi" Oh but it's not... the ones before used mirroring. Chromecast didn't enslave your device.

        "Chromecast Audio - a copy of the Sonos system" Innovation can be cost focused as well as functionality.

        "Android - a copy of ios created to break the apple walled garden." We're talking features now.

        "Google photos - ok i havent used so i dont know what you find innovative, but there are dozens of photo apps out there. Does it really have features no other had before Google Photos came out?" Er... Yes! Machine Learning and AI for one. Auto-sorting auto arranging, auto-albums. Bear in mind it did this years ago whereas quite a few might have this now. Every other app has crappy search in comparison, requiring people to scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll...

        "Goggle Assistant - hello Siri..." Yes and if you look at tons of independent reviews, Siri is shoite in comparison. Just doesn't have the knowledge or context-relevant prowess.

        "Google Pixel 2 - improving the camera is not an innovation" - Oh but when Apple do it, that's ok is it? The Bokah effect you talk about, was it really the first? To achieve the same result with 1 camera when others require two? Yeah.

        Tensor Flow - cant comment, dont know enough...

        "Innovation is creating something new and ground breaking" I agree, (see example of machine learning combined with AI in Google Photos - no other photos apps were/are anywhere close). Innovation is also when the economics are very different e.g. Cost per KWh of electric batteries.

        Based on that, what the most innovative product or service in the last 6 months then?

  14. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is Tiggers are wonderful things!

    As far as I can see Google's problem is not that they can't innovate but its Chocolate Factory has become a Rubber Room, has them bouncing from one big idea to the next, introducing and killing projects on a whim, forever tinkering with things.

    I don't know if it's because they are chasing profit, obsessed with competition, have too many fingers in too many pies, want to be all things to all men, haven't really got a clue, or are simply insecure, but they seem to have a major case of attention deficit disorder.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is Tiggers are wonderful things!

      I think one problem is that people are still confusing Google with Alphabet. The restructuring was designed to move some of the high risk innovative stuff outside of Google and off is balance sheet; Google could then focus on tuning its highly profitable money making activities and this includes culling projects that don't go anywhere.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is Tiggers are wonderful things!

        Meh. Whether they want to be called "Google" or "Alphabet" doesn't change anything except the name.

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is Tiggers are wonderful things!

      Indded, Hangouts now a pale shell of what it was, awaiting final termintion by Googlea.Google Wave, extremely useful collaborativ platform, dead and buried.

      Maybe it's just me, but if I find a Google tool useful it usually ends up for the chop.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is Tiggers are wonderful things!

        They didn't generate sufficient ad revenue. You can never rely on a system you can't either host yourself or pay for.

  15. johnB

    My problem with Google

    Is that I just can't rely on them to support their offerings.

    For example, I used to find both My Tracks & Picasa simple, easy to use & useful. Google's dropped both. Finding suitable replacements has been a bit of a pain (and so far unsuccessful as far as Picasa's concerned).

    They have the appearance of being a company long past it's innovative / growth stage & one now simply concentrating on protecting their market & profits. The story about their massive lobbying endeavours supports this. As is the way with most big US corporations, profits (i.e. bonuses) first, the long-term to be looked after by the next wonderkid brought in to save the sinking ship - Kodak anyone?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My problem with Google

      I used to find both My Tracks & Picasa simple, easy to use & useful. Google's dropped both.

      You can still run the Picasa program, but it now uploads to that overcomplicated, underfeatured, crap called "Google Photos".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My problem with Google

        Google photos is simply brilliant. Have you actually tried it?

        No more scrolling - the search is excellent (Show me pictures of going camping in Spain in 2005...boom!)

        No more having to create albums/collages - automagically creates for years now

        No more running out of space - unlike the crap Photos app I had on my iPhone previously

        No more wondering what that thing is in the photos - click Lens and it tells you.

        On iOS and Android, it is a fabulous app.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: My problem with Google

          Google photos is simply brilliant. Have you actually tried it?

          Sadly yes, since that's the only place Picasa uploads to. I'm stuck with it for now, until I find an alternative.

          No more scrolling - the search is excellent (Show me pictures of going camping in Spain in 2005...boom!)

          I know where my photos from Spain are. In the Spain album.

          No more having to create albums/collages - automagically creates for years now

          WooHoo, and what if you don't want it to? I can create my own albums.

          No more running out of space

          What, it magically adds memory to your device from nowhere? Maybe it might be useful...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: My problem with Google

            Clearly you're commenting on something you know very little about... The answer to that last question is free cloud storage combined with auto-removal .... You also asked what if you don't want to..... really? Have you been using technology long? ....you can turn off features you don't want.

            Still manually creating albums and adding photos? How very 20th century of you! If you wanted to pull up every photo you've ever taken whilst let's say, at a stadium, what do YOU do? manually look at each photos and then add them one by one to an album? Really? Must have lots of free time!!

            Each to their own but it's a great app.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: My problem with Google

              you can turn off features you don't want.

              Personally I prefer programs where I can tun on the features I do want. Less hassle and fewer surprises that way.

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: My problem with Google

          "Google photos is simply brilliant. Have you actually tried it?"

          It's a photo management system, first and foremost.

          For editing photos it's so dumbed down that it's useless to most discerning users.

          I used Picasa when it still existed, and it was better, despite being much older.

          Neither one was very good though, as they didn't really do colour management. I'm relying on the heavyweight Lightroom instead, which has it's own stack of inherent problems.

  16. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Those who don't learn from history

    It would seem Yegge has never heard of Joseph Schumpeter, or he'd have known this is pretty standard behaviour for businesses.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Those who don't learn from history

      Sounds as much as a hissy fit as anything else. He was probably bored with what he was being paid to work, got an offer at a start up and felt he had to justify his decision to leave.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Innovate? In the USA?

    In the USA, if you want innovation, you will need foreigners. This is currently being banned in the USA.

    Steve Jobs ancestry is quietly forgotten and a sub-literate idiot has promised to wall it in to keep them away.

    Once you have banned all those nasty foreign people, business will be free to crumble. The Stock Market can make its fortune (yes they make money when share go down too.) China can take over the world economy and India can offer the US financial aid if they adopt less insane social policies and fix their democratic deficit.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. FIA

    Pointing to a decade of product launches that follow in competitors' footsteps – Google+ (Facebook), Google Cloud (AWS), Google Home (Amazon Echo), Allo (WhatsApp), Android Instant Apps (Facebook, WeChat), and Google Assistant (Apple/Siri) – he concludes Google has lost the ability to develop its own new ideas.

    I remember 10-15 years ago this criticism was leveled against Microsoft. Isn't it just the case that large companies are perceived as innovators, simply due to having made enough money.

    MS weren't particularly innovative; licensing DOS, rather than selling it was probably their significant act. (Given that it lead to their dominance). Apple you could argue had the sense to understand the importance of the experience, but even the iPhone was an evolution. Facebook has just become the social platform that was good enough and in the right place at the right time.

    Same with Google, they came up with a decent search engine, but after that isn't it just acquisitions and mergers like every other company? Also, they don't need to innovate, they need to feed the marketing machine that pays the bills.

  20. ecofeco Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Well he's right.

    I'm probably not the only one who remembers all the cool stuff they used to make even before the "Labs" thing they did. So numerous I can't even remember it all.

    They have definitely lost their way. Search has become a bloated mess and is now trying to force me over to Google Assistant. Gmail has not improved its interface in years.

    In fact, user interface is still a huge problem with Google.

    And all this is just the basics!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well he's right.

      Material Design was brilliant. Great UI.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Well he's right.

        Material Design was brilliant. Great UI.

        Not hardly. Whomever came up with Material Design deserves to have their thumbs stapled to their forehead, and banned from ever working in the design or software industry ever again.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why I left Google

    My team, in Location X, was responsible for a very successful product in a particular niche use case. Good mainstream publicity, a success. That's how Mountain View got involved. First of all we were given a Product Manager over there. As per the job title, a complete waste of oxygen as far as his contributions inward were concerned, but important for sending to various other meetings to secure funding and whatever.

    Google decided it was going to make a play in the wider technological area and our team was subsumed into a greater whole, 95% of it in Mountain View. We visited a few times. We received speeches about being on a new frontier, being the people who were going to dictate norms for the next thirty years, etc. And everybody we spoke to said they were excited to be on the team because they'd always wanted to be responsible for dictating norms for the next thirty years. None of them really knew what the norms, or even the products, should be, but were grateful to be recipients of the funding surge. Many presentations were given, all of which I can sum up like this: the iPhone had a new user interface metaphor and was wildly profitable. Therefore if we produce a new user interface metaphor, we will be wildly profitable.

    Our particular product became mature. Our PM realised that this would not do in terms of maintaining his stature as the PM of an internal darling. He decided the next version would be heavily tied to one of the well-funded team's products — essentially that ours would become a very different product with superficial similarities and the same branding. He had fun expending the PR capital accrued through the earlier success on self-serving announcements of this. He also acquired some Mountain View workers from the well-funded team, for integration-type duties. For the next many, many months of this they worked, tirelessly performing very slight resource substitutions in their team's existing tech demo.

    Then came the night of the long knives. While the local management were all safely on an aeroplane back from Mountain View, the PM struck. They're out. Mountain View is in. Ongoing development of the successful product effectively cancelled.

    With no other interesting teams in Location X looking to hire, that was it for me.

    The only thing that makes me smile about the whole experience is that in less than six months after I left, the well-funded team was itself defunded and their product cancelled. They'd spent years using every PR resource, pulling every journalist string to get their product known and generally described favourably. Yet nobody had ever wanted it. Kudos go to Ruth Porat, the imported CFO and the only C-level executive in Google with any business ability, for that. She's one of the few with a history outside the Silicon Valley hype bubble.

    The other highlight of my tenure? After that year's annual corporate feedback endeavour, overall satisfaction amongst Google employees had declined. Larry's response when asked about this at one of the streamed town halls? It must be due to a slowdown in hiring elsewhere: usually Google doesn't have to deal with these malcontents because they can just go and make problems elsewhere. Poor old Google would have to endure having these people stick around a while longer for now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why I left Google

      To summarize: Just another day in any Silicon Valley company.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why I left Google (from original AC to replying AC)

        From my experience, Silicon Valley companies are terrific places to work while they're small. People are motivated by the product. Even the product managers spend their time on useful tasks like triaging the thousand things you could do next with the product into a rational list of things to do this week, actively mediating between competing demands and members of staff.

        The self-serving layers of management (product or otherwise) don't turn up until much later.

  22. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    So Google is taking the Microsoft route of copying or buying the competition.

    The already copied Apple's iPhone and iPad, so despite being a good engineering company, they have never been stellar at innovation.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Google's innovation is often not where you can see it. For example, keeping the search index up to date or handling all that YouTube video. We've become conditioned to expect innovation in consumer products only but some of Google's smartest work is about keeping the good stuff in house.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Then why has the quality of search results from Google been declining for years now?

  23. SVV Silver badge

    Great boast there.....

    ""We're, like, 99% Arrogance-Free,""

    By the sound of your lengthy list of complaints, and to purloin a currently fashionable slogan "You ARE the 1%"

  24. ST Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Newsflash

    Nobody cares why Steve Yegge left Google, except Steve Yegge.

  25. JohnFen Silver badge

    It's the natural way

    Large corporations have a seriously difficult time innovating. It's just not what large corporations are designed to do. That's why they buy small, innovative companies. As the old saying goes: small companies make it possible, large companies make it cheap.

  26. FatGerman

    41 shades of blue

    As anyone who has ever used Google Analytics will tell you, the bar charts and graphs that show different data on the same axes use almost indistinguishable shades of blue to "differentiate" the data sets. Why they couldn't use different *colours* has always struck me as a design decision carried out by management obsessed with branding at the expense of all else.

    I'm still working on a proxy to change the css on the fly.

  27. Mick Russom

    I moved to Silicon Valley to make curing cancer, make the workload of everyone less explore space, to make star trek real.

    About 2005 all of the scum in finance from China, New York, etc, moved in and changed it. Tech in reality now is consumerism, selling Chinese plastic crap, addiction, manipulation, propaganda, mind control, thievery, scams/schemes, wage slavery, draining and ruined by wall st types.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      I was asked once while job hunting in Silicon Valley whether I wanted to help to disrupt the healthcare system. Naturally I alerted Homeland Security immediately.

  28. IGnatius T Foobar
    Big Brother

    Evil Empire

    I guess the sun has set on the Microsoft Evil Empire, and it is now time for the Google Evil Empire ... but I have to say, the Facebook Evil Empire is MUCH more evil.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Evil Empire

      Yes, but it's also religious. So you can't bring it down, really.

  29. Long John Brass Silver badge

    There is a quote from the Bene Gesserit about that...

    “Technology tends toward avoidance of risks by investors. Uncertainty is ruled out if possible. People generally prefer the predictable. Few recognize how destructive this can be, how it imposes severe limits on variability and thus makes whole populations fatally vulnerable to the shocking ways our universe can throw the dice.”

  30. cantankerous swineherd

    such is life

    thats the way of the world

    and suchlike platitudes

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As Gandhi once said...

    Be the change you want to see in the world. In other words, stop complaining and do something. The idea that a software engineer can right all the wrongs at a monster like Google is, of course, absurd. If you don’t like your highly paying employer, I think a quiet, “fuck you very much for the money,” approach works best

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: As Gandhi once said...

      As the Bible once said, "Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference." Plus, knowing when to fold 'em implies knowing when jumping ship isn't an option.

  32. Voidstorm
    Joke

    "The inertia and infighting within an organisation scales [?exponentially?] with its workforce size".

    I've worked in enough large organisations to "accept that as an axiom, Captain"

    Which doesn't make it any less hard to do a decent job in spite of corporate bullshit, either :)

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