I guess last week was the week of weeks to throw a venomous rant at a former employer. First, there was an ex-Goldman Sachs employee who posted his corporate venom in the Op-Ed of The New York Times. By the end of the week, James Whittaker, a Microsoft-turned-Google engineer who then switched back to Microsoft, unloaded on a Microsoft blog about his “thoughts” on Google (click here for full post – click here for CNNmoney.com commentary.). Here’s a sample:
“My last three months working for Google was a whirlwind of desperation,” wrote Whittaker, who headed an engineering team for social network Google+. “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.” Whittaker, who joined Google in 2009 and left last month, described a corporate culture clearly divided into two eras: “Before Google+,” and “After.”
In my eyes, Google+ is an oddity as no social network has scaled as fast as Google+ has but at the same time, the interface and usability of the social network is suspect at best. In addition, metrics on the use of Google+ is very low in industry comparisons (read: Facebook) and Google+ is the butt of a multitude of Twitter/Instagram jokes.
Perhaps most damming is that Google+ is trapped between the twin 800-poung gorillas of the social networking world: Facebook on one side with users connecting with all their friends and family members and LinkedIn on the other side with users connecting with all their colleagues and business associates. Google+ does not have a stronghold in either of these two areas and to put it politely, is adrift in the social networking space due to its lack of a clear position in the market place.
People like to complain about Twitter and its challenges. I feel the issues at Google+ run much deeper and will be significantly harder to fix in the near future.
Associate Professor of Marketing
Stillman School of Business
Seton Hall University