It’s good to see that angry ex-employees aren’t just coming from Goldman Sachs. A former Google employee who left the company to go work for Microsoft has blasted his former employer in a new blog post.
James Whittaker slammed Google yesterday for stifling employee creativity and focusing too much on the bottom line.
“My last three months working for Google was a whirlwind of desperation,” wrote Whittaker, who headed an engineering team for fledgling social network Google+. “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, who initially left Microsoft to join Google in 2009 and left last month, says the current corporate culture is clearly divided into a “Before Google+” era and an “After Google+” era.
“After” is pretty much a disaster.
Google used to give engineers time to be creative. That experimental approach resulted in many successful projects like Google’s Chrome web browser and Gmail, but Google fell behind when it came to competing with Facebook.
When Larry Page took over the helm at Google, that became a corporate priority. ”Social” became all-important, and anything that didn’t support Google+ was seen as a distraction.
“Suddenly, 20% meant half-assed,” wrote Whittaker, referring to Google’s policy of letting employees spend 1/5 of their time on projects other than their main job description. “The trappings of entrepreneurship were dismantled.”
Several other ex-Google employees have also recently complained that the company is now overly focused on the bottom line.
Despite his misgivings about Google devoting so much energy to Google+, Whittaker thought the new social network was worth a roll of the dice. Had it been successful, it would have been an epic win, but it hasn’t been that big of a hit.
The social network is now being referred to as a “ghost town.”
Google says 90 million people have signed up, but many analysts say that there aren’t many who have actually turned into regular users.
“Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation,” Whittaker wrote. “The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.”
Yes, it seems clear that Google needs to do what Google does best – search. Leave the social stuff to Facebook and Twitter.
What do you think? Do you use Google+ on a regular basis?
- James Whittaker: Focus on Ads and ‘Social’ Destroying Google (tech.slashdot.org)
- Speaking of Impressive Resignation Letters… (slog.thestranger.com)
- “Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own…” (shortformblog.com)
- Goodbye, cruel Google–an ex-employee’s lament (news.cnet.com)
- Ex-Google+ Engineer: “Sharing Was Not Broken … Google Just Wasn’t Part Of It” (marketingland.com)