I am writing the following post with a heavy heart and when I am deeply concerned about the the future of my favorite technology company, or at least which was my favorite. A company which its name alone was a synonym to innovation, to entrepreneurship, to inventive and even to technology itself. Google.
But now, it seems that this company has lost its way. I am terrified from the possibility that Google wouldn’t return to what it used to be.
I guess that Google’s problems already began back on 2004, under the surface without anybody knowing and predicting that the world is about the change, when an unknown young student created an online platform that will connect nearly a billion people worldwide just a few years later. The revolution has began. No one expected it, especially not Google.
The internet has changed, technology has changed, consumption has changed, the world has changed, governments have changed. We have changed. The word, which just several years ago was maybe associated with not so funny Hollowing costume, became so familiar that today it is the unofficial international word for social. Facebook.
And that has thrown off balance Google.
While until then Google completely dominated the web and consequently the online advertising industry, the new social player was threatening its hegemony. While Google was the best company to connect between related ads with search/websites, Facebook added another crucial dimension- The user itself (read more about the evolution of online advertising).
So Google went for an obsessive social pursuit- Orkut, Wave, Buzz and the most recent serious attempt, Google+ (latest signs shows it still stuttering). The problem isn’t Google’s ongoing continuous social efforts, I don’t see any problem with failing and trying again, it is the basic of entrepreneurship. The problem is Google’s forcefully social efforts.
After the launch of Google+ I was actually pretty excited, I really thought it could take on Facebook in no time. I guess that the folks at Google thought so too. But then, they started pushing and promoting it in a way it grew unnatural.
The reason why I have decided to express my concerns publicly doesn’t even relates to Google’s new feature or product. It relates to this story by James Whittaker.
James Whittaker worked at Google for many years, his recent job was a development director in Google+. Today he is working for Microsoft, which probably says it all. Even though I never worked for Google and don’t plan to work for in the future (frankly, don’t plan to work for anyone), Whittaker’s story manages to reflect my feeling in so many parts.
Here’s just a small paragraph from his highly recommended story:
“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.”
But even though the future doesn’t look pretty good right now, I still holds a glimpse of optimism and hope that things will turn around. Google is still in amazing shape and it has so many great products- YouTube, Gmail, AdWords, AdSense, Docs, Chrome. And when opting out this Search Plus Your World fiasco, its search engine is by far the best one around.
We need companies like Google in the tech atmosphere and it would be a huge loss for all of us if its old innovative spirit will continue to decline in the future to come. God knows we don’t need another Yahoo. Back to innovation.