Please stop annoying your own nerdbase. Otherwise it will be fatal to you on the long run. Sure, you’ll survive on your legacy products, but you’ll lose your edge that made you special and will go the way of Microsoft and IBM. Always chasing the latest and coolest, and unable to innovate from within.
Some, purely anectodal examples:
You introduced the new ‘hangouts’, breaking compatibility with XMPP. The new emoticons/emoji in them … suck. Terribly. And there is no way to remove them. The chat window now holds only two/three messages. It’s awful to look at. And you think I am not smart enough to give me an option to fix it.
You removed reader (and before that, the ‘sharing’ feature in reader, my most relevant source of interesting news through my contacts). Many complained.
I got lost trying to find the ‘settings’ for my gmail account. Or the security preferences to make a new application-specific password. Nothing is any longer intuitive – there’s an icon and you have to interpret its meaning to understand what it could mean. And no, after a few weeks, you’ll likely to forget it.
I only open google+ when I am utterly bored, because there’s some cool imagery posted from large corporations that have somebody paid to do it. But certainly not to stay up to date with my contacts, as hardly anybody uses it. Those who do, stop in a while, because, well, too few of their friends use it.
Many small straws, one camel. These are just small things, but to me they are important signs. Dear Google, you lost your edge. That’s it. Period. The public-facing products are moving towards “experiences”, none of which are really useful nor entirely pleasant to use.
Also – all that effort to push social networking was wrong: it must be a bottom-up process, emerging from simple services, not forced down users’ throats. Soon you won’t be a “cool” place to hang out any more, management will start running things, and then stagnation and perpetration of the status quo will dominate.
Another, purely anectodal example: none of my close friends have been able to pass their interviews. I am certain that many of them have stunning abilities, and talents that go beyond the regular developer/sysadmin. Yet, most of them have talents in several pools – devops with a math background, roboticists, excellent programmers with a keen eye for research. And none passed. Why? Because none of them fits Google’s strict HR categories. It’s time you start breaking your own rules and bring in the unexpected, the person that doesn’t fit into a category, otherwise you’ll just fueling a self-reinforcing pattern.
How things are right now, it’s inevitable you will go the way of Microsoft and IBM, but it’s a pain to watch it happen. There is so much talent inside, such great potential, and exceptional products (glass, self-driving cars) that could truly revolutionize the world.
There are two Googles: the nerd-driven research-oriented that churns out great stuff, and the management-driven profit machine that dictates the rules.
Google, please, start listening to your nerds, and stop listening to your management. Do something. Split into a nerd company and a ‘brand’. Whatever. We loved you, seriously. You can still save your soul. Hire me! ;)