Former Google Employee Speaks Out: Is Google+ Killing Google?
Earlier this month, a former Google employee spoke out about his reasons for leaving Google. There wasn't much new information about the inner workings of the company being exposed, but the perspective was helpful. If Google's own employees aren't happy with the direction the search engine company is headed in, that could spell serious trouble for the company.
James Whittaker is a former employee for Google. He wasn't some low-level guy in the company. He delivered four Google Developer Day events, two Google Test Automation Conferences, and was a major contributor to the Google testing blog. He recently spilled the beans about why he left the company on his blog.
In part, he writes:
"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."
That's a problem. A big one. Google did start out as a technology company. However, lately, Google has become very focused on social search and social media. It seems like Google thinks it's in competition with Facebook and Twitter. Whittaker is right in some respects. Google has always been about advertising. Most of its "products" are free, and no company can pay its bills with hopes, dreams, and free software offerings. Advertising was a necessary component of the business.
In a sense, Google needed to make sure that it was the best advertiser the Internet ever saw, and it pretty much accomplished that feat. Most of its revenue comes from its advertising platform Adwords. But, Google is losing its focus. It's dumped a lot of money into Google+, and it seems like the search engine company is banking substantially all of its future on its own brand of social media.
The old Google made a lot of money through its advertisements because it served up good content. That's really the bread and butter of the company. Without those ads, the company is nothing, really.
Why Google Is Not A Social Media Company
Google's entire format and layout is designed like a phone book. The bottom line is that people go to Google to find answers to their problems. They don't go there to socialize. They want quick answers. Sometimes, they're even willing to pay for those answers. This is where their advertising side comes into play. Just like a Yellow Pages ad, those paid ads help Google offer organic listings for free. If Google starts messing with its winning formula, it will kill itself.
Websites like Facebook and Twitter are sites where people just "hang out." Those sites are more like coffee shops. In a coffee shop, you're not looking for a solution to a problem. You're looking for a place to socialize and just be with your friends. You might share interesting stories, or goof off playing games, or try to meet new people.
No one goes to Facebook or Twitter to be hit with advertisements. What is confusing Google is the fact that Facebook knows a lot about its users and sells ads on the site. Google is confused by this because it sees itself as the company that ought to be selling ads. What it doesn't realize is that those ads do not convert the same way that Google's pay-per-click ads convert and the reason goes back to Facebook and Twitter being social media sites where people come to "hang out," not buy stuff.
A lot of users are actually a bit creeped out by Google's new way of serving up advertisements, and about social search in general. If Google doesn't snap out of it, Google + could kill Google.