Google Engineer Calls Google+ a Pathetic Afterthought

When Google+ launched, it was exciting! A new Facebook! Better! Purrrty! But then everyone forgot about it. Folks at Google forgot too. Last night, Steve Yegge, a Google engineer, accidentally posted a rant about Google to his public Google+ profile. It's revealing and absolutely rips Google+. It's also true.

Yegge covers a bunch of topics, mostly focusing on how Google just simply doesn't understand platforms. He praises Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and even Facebook for "getting it" when it comes to platforms, how long term growth in a product requires that product to be a platform for others to develop more products on. But he thinks Google just doesn't understand how to do that. Yegge wrote:

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 Golden Rule of platforms is that you Eat Your Own Dogfood. 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.

He goes on about how Facebook murders Google+ as a platform:

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.

Our Google+ team took a look at the aftermarket and said: "Gosh, it looks like we need some games. Let's go contract someone to, um, write some games for us." Do you begin to see how incredibly wrong that thinking is now?

And he's totally right. We don't think Google+ will ever beat Facebook. Never, ever, ever. But Google needs to take this advice and learn from it. Learn from mistakes like Google TV. Learn from success like Android. Learn from weirdness like Wave. Learn it all! And then maybe they can compete (or do something else). We love Google and it's obvious Yegge does too, he just wants them to get better. Read his whole post (where he reveals stuff about Amazon and Jeff Bezos) here. [Hacker News via Silicon Filter]


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