I guess depending on the company's HR that could fall either way of
a) This is great, we're getting nice PR
b) Mr Benson, we need to have a quiet word about what it is you do here and what Google is not in the business of.
edit: I assumed this is part of his job. I just find the publishing of the result along with Google's name interesting.
If/when I evaluate software for a solution as part of my job, I wouldnt dream of publishing my findings and referencing my employer - but I like what Benson has done.
It kind of makes sense: he worked on products that use USB-C (Pixel laptops), but if the market is littered with bad cables USB-C will have a bad image which will be bad for the products he worked on.
So what he's doing is in the interest in his employer, and for the benefit of the products he worked on. He's not doing completely unrelated stuff, like reviewing routers while claiming "I work for Google so I know how shit works!"
Additionally he's preventing Pixel owners (Google customers) from buying bad cables on Amazon then blaming Google because the laptop doesn't charge. So it really looks like he's doing his job.
Since Google isn't the manufacturer they are not making a ridiculous profit margin.
Whole dollars on a $500 phone is more likely to be Google's entire profit margin, though. The profit margins on phones is razor thin unless you're Apple.
And LOL @ the idea that Google sells millions of phones.
Anyway if these cables contain such chips $13 seems reasonable.
When it's only a dollar or so you might expect the customer to want to pay the extra dollar in exchange for the benefit, but in practice the device is going to be priced at a threshold like $499 and the psychological difference between $499 and $500 would measurably drive down sales.
But the bigger problem is that this is hardly the only facet of a device you could improve by making it cost a tiny bit more. Add them up and it would add $100 or more to the price of the device. So you can't have them all, but decide against any one in particular and everyone wants to know why you're cheaping out over a buck.
"if the market is littered with bad cables USB-C will have a bad image which will be bad for the products he worked on."
I don't buy this tail wagging the dog argument. Sorry.
One cable per device is insufficient for a lot of us.
To many, a cable is a cable is a cable, and preventing someone from buying a commodity part that might damage their phone is a good objective, no matter how it's done.
Posting Amazon reviews might not be the optimal way to get me to buy the "right" cables, but it's a pretty effective way at preventing me from buying the wrong ones.
My worry would be the cables that get good reviews being switched out for crappy cables down the line. I've had problems with this for cables and adapters before - I'll re-order from Amazon and get a slightly different product that is not 100% compatible with the old one.
Most recently a "good ol' American made" can opener turned out to be a cheap China counterfeit: https://www.amazon.com/review/R3MJPDPNRM9HXR
(This was a particularly serious issue for Arduino a few years ago, when Amazon started listing genuine Arduino products under the same ASIN as third-party clones: https://blog.arduino.cc/2013/07/10/send-in-the-clones/)
Would not be surprised at all if he expensed every single one of these purchases. He's doing God's work, we shouldn't be complaining here. :)
Depends on how busy the HR dept is I guess.
I think that's the whole point - for Google to chime in on cable quality so that customers know what to buy for their Google devices.
I'm guessing that Google saw that a large percentage of their customer support issues were caused by poor cable quality, and that most of their customers bought their cable from Amazon.
This seems like a way for Google to pre-empt that customer support cost by making sure their customers are buying cables that they know are good.
Most of the time other companies hand-wave their way around this problem by offering 1st-party cables (usually at a fairly high price).
It never occurred to me, or anybody else working in the lab as far as I know, to post the results of our testing on Amazon reviews. We just did the testing.
What about it? I'm sure Google makes minor changes to their search algorithm that drive small companies into bankruptcy all the time.
This is entirely ethical, and the context is stated clearly... I think it's great.
The review is extremely negative, explicitly telling people not to buy Nest products. Those are (and were at the time of that video) a Google product, as Google acquired Nest in 2014.
Brad still works at Google. I'm sure Benson will be fine.
This means because of his reputation (Google engineer) it's easy for him to dismiss one cable manufacturer and support another while getting some form of a kickback either directly or indirectly from said manufacturers.
Sure, he's doing his job, but he's also in the position to pick and choose winners. As such, I would discount his advice based on the possible bias towards products that could possibly line his own pockets.
That's always a risk, but I think it is more of a risk having used his real profile and Google affiliation. On the face of it, I want to think that Google pays Benson well enough that he needn't go tell lies on Amazon as a side job.
>As such, I would discount his advice based on the possible bias towards products that could possibly line his own pockets.
This isn't like for example "audiophile" cable reviews where people just make crap up in ambiguous terms hoping to sell a thousand-plus dollar pair of speaker cables knowing full well that no one can argue sensibly about the warmness/depth/color/scent of the sound.
He pretty clearly explains his major complaint being the lack of a proper 56k pullup so that the cable identifies itself correctly. This is testable by almost anyone. It makes very little sense to publicly tell a lie that can be verified so trivially.