A former Google engineer said he left the search titan because of its obsession with Google+ and destroying Facebook.
James Whittaker, now an employee at Microsoft, left Google this year and penned this blog post as the reason why. Basically, he says Google couldn't stomach the idea that Facebook was doing better at selling ads -- not that it was selling more than Google, because it wasn't -- but that it knew far more information about its users and advertisers wanted that . From his post:
Larry Page himself assumed command to right this wrong. Social became state-owned, a corporate mandate called Google+. It was an ominous name invoking the feeling that Google alone wasn’t enough. Search had to be social. Android had to be social. You Tube, once joyous in their independence, had to be … well, you get the point. Even worse was that innovation had to be social. Ideas that failed to put Google+ at the center of the universe were a distraction.
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Gone, he said, was the innovation and wonder of Google Labs, and instead the company was focused on Google+ -- but the exodus from Facebook never materialized. Whittaker said his daughter phrased it best, "'Social isn’t a product,' she told me after I gave her a demo, 'social is people and the people are on Facebook.'"
This could be sour grapes, according to Business Insider, although it had other stories from former employees that Google+ seems to be Google's primary focus.
My problem with this account, is that if he craved innovation, why didn't he just create a startup with some of that fire in his belly? Instead, he went back to the same tired, boring Microsoft job he had before Google. Wow, that's hankering for innovation.
Secondly, his whole "why I left" post was basically an advertisement for how great an employee he was. It literally could be used as a resume, since Whittaker lists all the projects he was a part of, his keynote addresses and then his offhand "but all I had to show for it was higher review scores," is nothing short of vomit-inducing.
Perhaps Google did bet the farm on Google+, but that can be easily remedied by focusing on other projects. Let's hope that Google does so.