With Google's desperate leap into social media with the mostly deserted Google+ combined with it's obvious decline in service quality and increase in prices, the reasons why James Whittaker resigned from Google to go work for Microsoft will come to no surprise. If anything, you'll just be left feeling disappointed that Google's original magic is gone.
Under Eric Schmidt ads were always in the background. Google was run like an innovation factory, empowering employees to be entrepreneurial through founder's awards, peer bonuses and 20% time. Our advertising revenue gave us the headroom to think, innovate and create. Forums like App Engine, Google Labs and open source served as staging grounds for our inventions. The fact that all this was paid for by a cash machine stuffed full of advertising loot was lost on most of us. Maybe the engineers who actually worked on ads felt it, but the rest of us were convinced that Google was a technology company first and foremost; a company that hired smart people and placed a big bet on their ability to innovate.
From this innovation machine came strategically important products like Gmail and Chrome, products that were the result of entrepreneurship at the lowest levels of the company. Of course, such runaway innovative spirit creates some duds, and Google has had their share of those, but Google has always known how to fail fast and learn from it.
In such an environment you don't have to be part of some executive's inner circle to succeed. You don't have to get lucky and land on a sexy project to have a great career. Anyone with ideas or the skills to contribute could get involved. I had any number of opportunities to leave Google during this period, but it was hard to imagine a better place to work.
But that was then, as the saying goes, and this is now.
|"Microsoft Word is a tyrant of the imagination"|
|You Are Not Your #iPhone|
|@Wikileaks Doesn't Like Canada|
|"Want to save Star Wars VII? Then let's talk about Casablanca."|
|"If aliens come, we're probably toast."|
|“Lifting the electric motors out of Teslas and putting them in the chassis of other, formerly gas guzzling cars.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“What can we do to make responsible use of plastic a reality? First: reject the lie.”|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|Go the Fuck to Sleep: A Children's Bedtime Book|
|On Instagram, Everyone Takes the Exact Same Photos|
|“The cost could be so near to zero it will effectively be free.”|
|“Sending you changes in your media feed that are calculated to adjust you slightly to the liking of some unseen advertiser.”|
|“Rejuvenation is Finally an Industry.”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|Google Map Shows You the Most Photographed Areas of the World|
|“Put words between buns.”|