There always seems to be a lack of well-roundedness at Google. It didn't really matter back when they just did search, but now that they're expanding into other fields, they're looking more and more like an expert hammerer than an master of many tools.
I don't think that's actually true. In particular, I think that Google for most of its history was masterful at PR and communications - they managed to maintain a very positive public image all the way through 2011, despite being both far more powerful, more naughty, and more ruthless than the general public saw them as. I think management and UX are also quite strong at Google - they're known for sparse design and UX fails, but there's often a lot of subtlety to how Google products are designed that makes them very effective for their purposes. They did always suck at customer service, though.
Rather, I think Google's hubris is...hubris. They feel the need to have their fingers in everything. It's not enough to be the world's best Search company or even organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful, they also need to be the best social network, and best cloud provider, and best AI company, and best mobile-phone OS, and best web browser, and best daily deals site (remember their aborted Groupon purchase, soon followed by a competitor?), and do government contracts for the military, and get into China, and build self-driving cars and robotics, and be a major payment provider and operate half a dozen different chat services.
Most of the PR, communication, management, and UX fails are forced errors. They happen because there's an inherent contradiction in Google's business model. You can't simultaneously market yourself to engineers with "Don't be evil" while devising ways to help the military kill people more accurately or censoring Chinese search results; hell, at some point the military is likely going to have an issue with China potentially hacking into Google's cloud infrastructure through their partnerships. A surprising number of the UX fails also come about because some executive is protecting their turf and won't let the obvious integration & UI simplification happen even though both engineers and customers want it.
They made their brand synonymous with the word 'search' - my god man, that's worth billions, minimum.
They've done it in an oddly naive 'authentic' way, by I think truly believing their own schtick, and drinking their own coolaid. And I'm not nearly as cynical as the above posters, Google is way more ethnical that most companies. My god man, if Google wanted to they could change electoral outcomes, simply form a massive hedge fund and beat everyone at investing, do evil things the likes of which we've never hard of. I'm constantly impressed by how actually objective they've been about a lot of stuff given 99% of other CEO's would have abused the data position a long, long time ago. Not to say they are perfect, but ... compared to most, they have been pretty good. Though that's changing.
They've done it without any hardcore ad spends, or any real classical marketing attempts to make us believe things one way or another, so kudos on them.
But yes, they are kind of bad at most classical parts of marketing, communications ... heck even some kinds of product management. But the 'Engineers first' mentality got them where they are, I'm going to doubt that part of their DNA will change.
And they kept that promise! Look at the internet today.
Microsoft is no longer "evil", and the internet is fine, so "do no evil" is no longer necessary.
People assumed do not evil had something to do with privacy, or this or that, or lots of other things people read into it.
It didn't. It was just one thing: Open standards and promoting the open internet.
I'm not sure if I believe DNE was exactly about Microsoft, rather a more general mantra. In 98' the founders were running around giving talks about how 'advertising was ruining the internet' which wasn't really an MS things. So I think MS was just one factor, but yes, most don't remember a time when they were so dominant.
Not that it matters too much, but the motto was the much less ambitious (and more achievable) "Don't be evil".
The Wikipedia article  presents the motto (which is actually "Don't be evil") as being much more than that, from its origin and throughout its use. On second look, it doesn't even use the adjective "open" or mention standards.
So, where's the open standard for Hangouts?
(It used to be XMPP when it was Google Talk. But it's not anymore. And even back when, it wasn't federated, contrary to "the open Internet.")
In general, it feels like you're right, but only in a sense that Google did drive open standards - to bludgeon Microsoft. Which it did quite successfully, and we're all better off for it. But now that they have their own empire, they're not so keen on all that open stuff anymore, whenever they have a monopoly position to abuse.
I am looking. What I see is it being devoured by Google. Search 99%, Chrome 80%, private email 90%, Google accounts for work, for school kids, and Google Analytics tracking in every web site.
I said private email accounts.
I don't know why they haven't been punished for that yet after the successful taming of Microsoft some years ago.
All that while their primary business is advertising - not generally a well-liked industry.
Their PR management is so great that most people would be shocked to realize they're even in advertising at all.
The company also has a great reputation among engineers, and is among the most desirable employers not just in its field, but in the US in general, at a time of a booming job market with plenty of other great choices.
I also don't know about those "UX failures". The company has several web-based services that have effectively beaten all other services, including desktop-based services in their field. Do people forget this feat was considered impossible back when Google got started?
So while Google certainly has its failures, and we can expect more of those as it keeps its unrelenting march to become one of the most powerful corporations that has ever existed, describing them as bumbling fools who always botch "human interaction" is simply false and misleading.
For comparison the banking sector managed to take down the entire economy and came out of it virtually unscathed by Washington. That is successful PR and lobbying.
"Unscathed by Washington"? Sure. With a squeaky clean image...? Not so much.
There was Occupy Wallstreet, demonstrations all over the country, and for the vast majority of people, the image of the banking industry has been tarnished.
Also, even though no banker went to jail for fraud, they did get more regulated, and their business suffered from government-imposed restrictions (which they are working very hard to undo).
With emphasis on "was". People where angry for a while, the government let them vent and then everybody went back to their normal lives and government gave the rich a massive tax cut and slowly started to loosen banking restrictions.
Occupy Wallstreet had a huge, lasting impact on the way much of the population views the banking and finance industry.
> government gave the rich a massive tax cut and slowly started to loosen banking restrictions.
The tax cuts are not specifically for the banking or finance industry.
Google however is failing horribly at the "getting rich" part. Sure they are successful, but the EU is taking a massive chunk of their business with GDPR. California is trying to impose similar measures, and if they keep this up others will follow. The hammer of regulation will dampen their profits.
Getting into too many fields and ending up all over the place is bad management.
Executives protecting their turfs may indeed be a recipe to getting bad UX, but that doesn't excuse the fact that it's bad UX or that bad UX is all over Google. If anything the latter points towards more bad management.
And as you wrote, customer service has always been bad.
I'm glad Google (and Apple and Amazon) got into the phone business, the camera business, the phone service business (Google Voice), the car business (Waymo) and the entertainment business (Youtube, Music, etc.)
The status quo was so awful (remember cable TV contracts with 200 channels you didnt want to watch?) and has finally improved with the tech giants putting pressure in cushy lazy incumbents.
Same for self-driving cars. Where were the efforts before Google and other tech giants go into the game? I seem to recall only incremental innovation for decades.
What I really wish is that they didnt botch some of these things (Google Voice is a great example of an amazing product with massive underinvestment (abandonment?) from Google.)
We also missed out on Google Voice, will miss out on whatever TV play they're making with YouTube.
To be fair, us Canadians are in the same boat. You can be literally a stone's throw from the U.S. and still not get a lot of features available. Voice was never available, Wallet took several years before it was rolled out here, YouTube Red isn't available here either. Hell, most new Home/Assistant features take months to arrive here too.
Except there's always going to be some critics, especially when you're talking about a corporation of Google's size.
There's going to be people concerned about privacy, corporate overreach, the nature of some of its activities (such as defense contracts).
You will also get various biased opinions, such as people who were hurt in some way by Google: rejected candidates or businesses that folded due to some Google service grabbing their market share.
Hell, even if Google religiously avoided all the above, you will still get some astroturfing campaigns by its competitors!
Negative commentary on a niche website like HN doesn't actually mean much in the grand scheme of PR. Check what the average person thinks about Google. Most likely you will find it quite positive. If you're looking for a company with serious image problems, compare to Facebook.
I feel like this is in part because the people that write bad things about other people owned google stock or had many close friends in google.
This is an overstatement. Yes, they want to stick their fingers in all the pies but they don't try very hard and cancel products on whims too.
Search and its revenue is all they cared about. I would actually commend Google on that focus where most others would lose themselves in the mix. Search, Gmail, Docs were their major contributions. Chrome browser is based on Apple's WebKit.
Thankfully, unless they remove IMAP access it isn't something that I have to deal with most of the time.
It takes serious PR expertise for a company doing so much harm to enjoy such a consistently positive image with the media and general public. This is starting to change, but it’s a very recent development.
PR on the other hand, I think to be more of a mixed bag. They've always used marketing to deflect away from poor PR. Historically in the early days their PR was better, but I think that can be attributed to the company just being better. These days, well, this whole G+ debacle can be seen as a failure in PR.
They managed to turn a minor oversight of leaking common information that likely impacted nobody into a major data breach front page announcement on every major news publisher. Pretty big PR failure if you ask me.
That's rather frustrating thing is: they've done some creative things, but it doesn't seem to be so that they've helped anyone. My guess [from their product launches and behavior] It looks like they reward people who make publicity waves and ignore the fact that nothing comes of it. Google wave? Duo/whatever the next chat app.. etc. (Now Google+)
The world of advertising is all about eyeballs. That might explain it.
What engineering brilliance? Their only non-trivial product is search, and it sucks and keeps getting suckier every year.
Their ad business is no better than the competitors.
I think most people's point is some where in the mid-2000's they quite literally were the ahead of the crowd by a huge margin when it came to in house engineering. Google in many ways was the first mega web scale company. The scale of their servers, data centers, in-house research, things like MapReduce, BigTable etc etc the list is endless. Google indeed was a hub for very smart people to work pre-2010's.
Not sure what changed. I also hear their engineering driven culture has faded heavily if not totally dead. 20% time projects are no longer there, and even if they exist by a miracle they are largely hated by the internal cartels and power structures.
Arguably the biggest slip in an engineering driven culture happens when your big products come through acquisitions not in-house work. That's the first indication that bureaucracy has taken over, and no real person worth their salt is running their show. The reason why start ups can disrupt the market and not big companies, is because 1 - 2 people with a good team are what do the disruption. Its a mistake to assume that companies or your average middle manager Joe can do much in that area.
Actually, product-wise, there's some other high points as well. At any given moment, Chrome is usually the best browser, and it's certainly the one that pushed quality forward the most.
The reality is that excellence in all areas is ideal, but very few company leaders or cultures can manage this. Most excel at one or two.
I know three different PMs at Google in a non-work capacity, and these three people in particular are the most 'intellectually self-righteous' people I have ever met in my life. Basically they're total bullies. I really hope this isn't exemplary of the rest of them, but your statement leads me to think that is not the case.
They have very intelligent and capable folks trying to "do no evil", but ultimately they're a business, not a charity. They rarely actually care about their engineers' opinions unless it helps with public image or maintaining a competitive edge (no matter how artificially) or helping them start a new product line (or close one that isn't paying the bills).
Thankfully I will say that it sounds like there is just enough blowback over the past two or three years that it's not all bad. But it's certainly not a place that I would call "run by engineers", and hasn't been for at least 4 years now.
I get the impression that people claiming that companies like Apple are "engineering-driven" are only talking about their new, non-core projects. But then my perceptions are only colored by the folks I know working at those companies, so whatever.
They could be a bit blind about some things -- and blindsided. But once you actually made your point, they'd do something about it. They actually cared. (Or, enough of them did, to make a difference.)
Now, we have a corporately curated behemoth.
Although, it is interesting that internal pressure still occasionally produces an appearance of change, such as publicly stepping back from death robots and Wintermuth off its meds.
Which is it's own kind of rot.
Being able to read email is useful. Seriously though, Gmail added the snooze ability, which was the one feature from Inbox I used regularly.
I for one think the opposite. They're the best at giving me exactly the ad which I may like. (I'm not saying I like the idea of an ad)
Larry Bossidy wrote a book on confronting reality which I found interesting because it tackles some of the issues facing Google today. Basically when you compare your new businesses (Google X, Other bets) to your monster business (Search Advertising) they look puny and weak. But sometimes if you considered them on their own they would look like good things.
One of the PMs I knew at Google told me (as he was leaving) that Google was the only place he knew where you could get fired after creating a $100M/year ARR business. That is only $25M/quarter which was only a .3% increase in revenue, so a loser right? But how many people would love to be in charge of a business generating $100M/yr in revenue? Lots!
The reality Google is missing is that there isn't another "search advertising" business but there might be 100 other smaller businesses that they could invent/run just as profitably. But it is hard to see that.
 Confronting Reality -- https://www.amazon.com/Confronting-Reality-Master-Model-Succ...
Throughout the article, is the explicitly stated assumption that Google's enemies/critics are evil. Google has plenty of good critics with good criticisms. That's precisely the kind of substrate of viewpoint, in which Google is somehow anointed, which Lauren forwards and which underlies the very Google hubris she decries.
i don't think Google missing it, i think they're running a similar model to VC - better hit another one or a couple of 100B+ Unicorns than a 100 of 100M small businesses.
>Google was the only place he knew where you could get fired after creating a $100M/year ARR business. That is only $25M/quarter which was only a .3% increase in revenue, so a loser right?
the same like VC do - no signs of horn in 2-3 years, just cut the "losses" (i.e. take your 2-4x investment growth) and move on.
It occurs to me that the VC model itself makes a certain set of assumptions about where we are in the economic cycle. It only works if a.) there are industries that can be reinvented by the application of technology in a way that disrupts all the existing firms and b.) those firms are too blind, too set in their ways, or too structurally rigid to adapt that technology.
This has been the case from the 1980s onwards, but was not the case from roughly 1920-1980. At some point we're going to hit the end of the current cycle, and then any firm based upon that assumption is just going to die through bad bets. I don't think we're there yet, but it's interesting to think about the assumptions underlying the model.
In his investment class Martin Shkreli talked about this topic in specific. Its just that after a while you realize you can't squeeze much juice out of a fruit anymore, no matter hard you try. At that point, your only options are acquiring good businesses or starting investing into new ones.
I think the reason why your $100M project was shut down is may be they realized if they wanted wanted make $100M out of something they might as well buy a bond, it makes no sense to run a people team, pay them and manage them all for their scale of profits.
Either way it also looks dripping with hubris if your shutting opportunities that could put $100M on the table with little effort.
I have always found a company to be a mirror of its CEO's personality. Think of Apple under Steve Jobs, Microsoft under Satya Nadella, and Uber under Travis Kalanick. A sense of integrity - or a lack of it - plays a huge role in how we feel about the company.
I wonder how much of that is because the organization hierarchies and inner machinations of the people structures are opaque to people like Larry Page and Sergey Brin at their level.
Sure these people could form a Google X and search for the next $100 billion businesses.
But if you have $100M/yr opportunity products coming up all over the company and you don't even bother to look at them. You are already losing plenty of potential $10Bn/yr opportunities. It should be perfectly possible for these people to chase both moonshot and sky shot opportunities.
What if you have a product that brings a great deal of value to many people, but for various reasons you can't collect much revenue on it. You could be operating at a loss, but still producing great value. In that case, if there were a way to cover that $20MM/year gap (corporation sinks profits from other divisions into it, for instance) it could be worthwhile.
Or perhaps that business that's losing money brings in customers who go to the other divisions and make them profitable. That is, its return is indirect and hard to measure (though not necessarily hard to verify).
edit: fixed language
Sure, Apple has made tons of cash but their products have been lackluster. The Mac Pro bombed, keyboardgate, the stagnated phone development...
Yikes. Maybe tone down the invective a bit? It’s possible to think Google something other than a force for unalloyed good without being “politically motivated”, a “lying hater”, or consumed by blood-lust.
As for Google, considering everything that's come out in the last year, they've gone from a company I always wanted to work at to a company I cannot imagine working at.
I can well imagine what it would be like, and I would be frightened to work there.
It's like selling an uncovered call. It'll probably be okay, but you can see upfront that the possible downside is almost unlimited.
I've never even heard of a professional environment that bad.
I've seen it with Google employees here on HN too: they're so invested in everything Google that they can't understand why anyone would have an issue with their endless data collection and surveillance of the entire planet. Any lingering doubts are probably buried when they think that all thing considered they do have a very cushy life at the company.
That’s to differentiate them from the larger but separate groups of liars, and of google haters, who he wasn’t referring to.
From a practical level I've watched their hiring standards slip and become political vs "hiring the best" that allowed them to become successful. Internally there has been a politically motivated purge that has driven some very talented individuals out. I've also seen some hires that they rightfully would not have touched a few years ago....success breeds failure.
As for the military contracts and China expansion I have reservations but I would hardly call those "left leaning."
People keep calling it a breach, but I thought it was merely an unexploited vulnerability? I may have missed it, but did it come out that there was a breach as well?
The footnote there is, unexploited in the last 2 weeks they had logs for. They have no way of knowing if it was exploited earlier than that.
> We made Google+ with privacy in mind and therefore keep this API’s log data for only two weeks. That means we cannot confirm which users were impacted by this bug. However, we ran a detailed analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug, and from that analysis, the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected. Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API.
> We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.
Getting rid of the +word search syntax in favor of quotation marks was also a bad move - it makes it much more tedious to edit your query when you're trying to tell Google "Hey, I'm really searching for that word."
I wouldn't even mind the mob rule if Google still had a way to clarify your searches by default. Instead, they continue to assume more and more user intent and remove more and more options for clear user input.
Does this help? I have no idea, and at least nowadays it offers to include that word explicitly with one click.
I also loved the +word feature. But didn't they want the '+' for something to do with Google+? That's dead so maybe they can release '+' back to the search people?
It's under Tools > All Results > Verbatim, or `tbs=li:1` in the url.
"...played directly into the politically-motivated hands of the lying Google haters, who have already been screaming for Google’s blood and for its executives to be figuratively drawn and quartered..."
"...giving the evil haters even more ammunition to use for false accusations of political user censorship, they give the EU additional excuses to try fine Google billions extra to enrich EU coffers, and they give massive energy to the forces who want to break up Google into smaller units to be micromanaged for political gain by politicians and those politicians’ minions and toadies..."
I always knew the kool-aid was potent at Google, but not that potent.
I have pretty low expectations of HN in general, but seeing this on the front page is still kind of confusing to me.
Google's revenue today is six times as large as it was a decade ago. And I expect its revenue in a decade to be at least 3 times as large as it is today. The reason is
that many of the causes of past growth will continue for the foreseeable future:
1. The people who are connected to the internet will continue to become richer - in particular booming poor countries like India and Indonesia
2. The amount of time people spend on the internet will continue to grow
3. The amount of advertising Google can show people per hour will continue to grow. For example, Google can show many more ads on YouTube and still be less saturated than the old network TV model. Another example: The Economist app currently shows untargeted ads copied from their print magazine - but in 10 years these ads will probably come from Google.
4. Google can continue to improve its algorithm for placing of ads. Google knows so much about me yet I'm amazed how stupidly untargeted its ads sometimes are. Eg. if my photo stream doesn't include pictures of cats, don't show me ads for cat food!
5. Google can continue to collect more personal data. Right now it doesn't know when I last purchased toothpaste, but it might in 10 years from now.
6. The number of people connected to the internet will continue to grow (although of course at a slower rate than in the past)
[Note: I am a Google shareholder]
While Amazon and Microsoft seem to be executing well on their respective visions, Google, Apple, and Facebook all seem asleep at the wheel. Nothing gamechanging from any of them, lots of scandals and user complaints piling up.
There's nothing unusual about it. Big companies usually go this route. It is frankly amazing when they don't.
They open-sourced Kubernetes and Tensorflow that year, both with a view toward cannibalizing AWS's lead. They released Apache Beam the following year, but it hasn't caught on the same way.
At this point, Kubernetes is winning everywhere, so why not use Google's infrastructure for it? , and tensorflow has enough adoption that you might go to Google Cloud just because they integrate so tightly with it.
More recently, Google purchased Kaggle, and has turned Jupyter notebooks into Colab, as well as hiring Jake VanDerPlas out of UW. They're trying to turn GCP as the easy, first choice solution for running and versioning your darn notebooks. But if you're already there, why not use BigTable to pull the data INTO the notebooks...?
There are definitely tone-deaf steps they're taking, but Google is building serious advantages into their cloud offerings.
And saying that MS is executing well when just three days ago they had to pull a Windows update due a data loss bug that passed their QA seems funny.
I don't like either Amazon or Microsoft, but from a business angle they are both impressive. They are both at risk of going off the rails at any point, but I have much more respect for Bezos and Nadella than anyone at Facebook, Google, or Apple.
I'd prefer Google stay its old self and they make Alphabet the primary growth vehicle. But people need to show impact to get promoted, so you can't very well leave a good product alone. So now they have the mess of an organization they have now.
The management angle from the article is interesting. Google originally didn't want management and there has always been a "necessary evil" attitude towards it there. So management was given an unexpected free pass on being evil. They weren't required to Googley and got hired from other places that were distinctly not so (e.g., IBM).
This seems to be a common talking point, but I'm not convinced it is a real driver outside of a small niche of within the niche of software people. Privacy is not something regular people really are aware of or give a damn about.
The biggest driver towards getting an iPhone that I see is shutting up friends who whine because you're a "green person" in their iMessage.
And while laypeople today care little about privacy, Apple can bring it into the collective consciousness. All it takes is a good meme (in the original Dawkins sense, not in the image-macro sense). A meme that tells people: “only the poor can’t afford privacy”. If they can get this into people’s heads then they’ll demand privacy, because nobody likes feeling poor.
"According to a Pew Research Center study, 26% of Facebook users in the U.S. have deleted the app entirely and 74% have adjusted their privacy settings in the past 12 months. User growth on Facebook is slowing."
So there is hope after all.
This was a big factor as to why blackberry's phone business didn't die sooner than it did.
Whatsapp is being used significantly more in Europe than SMS. I can't remember the last time I got an iMessage/SMS except 2FA prompts.
As for privacy, I think you'd have to show that those customers don't have facebook accounts to take that seriously.
Not compelling relative to what? People have been saying this about Apple with respect to the original iPhone X (which sold a very large amount), the Apple Watch, and even the iPad which they managed to bring sales back up as the rest of the tablet industry floundered.
> As soon as someone else has a compelling, exclusive phone feature, Apple's likely to collapse.
Your biases show through when you talk about a company with the resources of Apple collapsing because of one exclusive phone feature. In reality, Apple's biggest challenge is competing against last years iPhone.
> There's no lock in, and there's no reason to be loyal -- it's a fashion brand.
Again, your biases. For many people iOS is the easiest mobile OS to use. It has it's quirks, but for many people it just works.
To desktops and laptops that offer more RAM/CPU/GPU per buck while costing much less.
> For many people iOS is the easiest mobile OS to use.
If they can afford it. Not so easy when earning 500 euros or less per month.
This is not why people buy Macs, and it hasn't been in a long time. If anything, Macs are closer to giving performance/$ than they usually ever have.
People by Macs for aesthetic and usability. The vast majority of the population does not care "how many gigahertz their RAM has", and Mac sales reflect this.
As for the sales, not when you compare Mac against all other vendors worldwide.
Naturally it is nicer to just compare Apple against single OEMs.
What features justify replacing a 2 yr old phone with a new one? For $800-$1000?
Plus, apple has a huge lead in CPU and GPU performance and this is only accelerating, paving the way for future potential phone features imo.
The reason for that is that PCs and smartphones are plateauing as a computing platform.
I'm super curious to see what Apple's game for VR and AR headsets will be. Currently, Oculus/FB is leading the race there.
But in order to be fashionable, they need to have compelling designs and technology. They do not anymore.
Their main new product seems to be those stupid AirPods, and I don't think you can carry a trillion dollar company on that. Everything else is just a minor tweak on an existing product.
Not everyone across the globe has salaries to pay for privacy features.
That's a belief.
> the new focus on privacy
I see a trend here.
It's no longer about any single product anymore, though the iPhone still is the 800 pound Gorilla of the product lineup and the obvious lynchpin tying everything together. But there is also Apple Music, iCloud, The App Store, Apple Pay and huge investments into AR, ML, Privacy, and a whole host of developer APIs.
You're missing the forest for the trees of why Apple is able to make such _deep_ inroads into peoples lives and get them to pay top dollar for it at scale (50mm iPhones are made and shipped every quarter).
And don't forget all the strides they've made in retail with their Apple Stores. Don't forget the insane chips their chip design team has been pumping out every year. Don't forget their acquisition of Beats and going head to head with Spotify. It's easy to take all this progress for granted. As a beloved consumer business, they're firing on all cylinders as far as I'm concerned. They'll make mistakes from time to fine and that's ok (iOS 11, AirPower, Mac Pro) - but you've got to ignore quite a lot of progress to make such a strong claim that they're asleep at the wheel - they are decidedly not asleep at the wheel by any measure.
I never really tried using Chrome unless I absolutely had to because I believe in the separation of services and because I started losing my trust in Google. I didn't want to be tracked. I don't have nothing to hide, but I still appreciate my right to privacy. I thought I was already sharing enough with my Google searches and YouTube usage.
I do continue to use gmail, but I've been keeping an eye open for reputable alternatives with security that matches that of Google, since it has that going for itself. I still haven't really found an alternative... yet, at least not one that is convincing enough to make the switch.
Just recently I changed the default search engine on all my devices to be DuckDuckGo as they seem to be a much better alternative when it comes to privacy.
It's pretty sad that greed has consumed Google and all they care is about maximizing profits instead of balancing profit and user experience/privacy. I really wish they can be that company they used to be, until then I'll keep my eyes open.
Until you actually use it for a few weeks. And go like “wait a minute why am I not seeing this so and so result.. I remember Googling this exact search term a few weeks back and.. oh wait..” or you click on the News tab in the search results and it, well, sucks.
I really want to move off Google but they are just so. damn. good. right now it’s actually scary. It feels almost like search is a “winner takes all” game. Even if the runner up is really good, it’s still not good enough.
Google is a de-facto monopoly on search (ok, that's debatable, but there's no debate they 'own it' for now) with massive moats like Chrome and Android, vast datacentres, literal ownership of the brand i.e. 'to Google' is a colloquial verb in many languages.
They are going nowhere - not for a very long time.
They are 'dying' about as much as MS is dying ... meaning they are not really, they're just losing their lustre to 'us' types.
The only way Google will hurt, is the same way MS has hurt - meaning a fundamental shift in users behaviour or market architecture. MS started to hurt when the world went to the internet, and went mobile. That hurt their OS and Office solutions somewhat, but they've adapted and in $$$ terms, they're just fine. So Google will hurt when people stop searching (!) meaning, not anytime soon. Now - the change to mobile which is partly dominated by Apps presents a pretty big threat, but they seem to be managing it. That's the 'kind of change' that will hurt them.
Facebook on the other hands, has some existential trouble, but even they will likely be ok.
Twitter has a hardcore userbase in the press etc. and might wane, but likely aren't going anywhere for a while.
Snapchat ... could be in trouble.
Google is maturing into 'regular company' phase. They still have amazing momentum, massive cash, 'everyone' wants to work there, it's still a solid resume placeholder, they have talented Engineers - and the culture as far as doing stuff still works.
FYI - they were never good at UI, and their products have always been a little bit of a gaggle.
But search, their ads, maps, chrome, android, youtube ... those are formidable assets.
So yes, the 'Do No Evil' Google is gone, and we're now into the next phase.
They could possibly be overvalued as are many tech stocks, but they're going to be around for a very long while.
> It is indeed possible, even likely, that Google can continue onward without the kinds of changes that I and other Google supporters have advocated over the years, and still make bushels of money.
> But it won’t be the same Google. It will have become the “conventional company” kind of Google, not the firm of which so many Googlers are so rightly proud, and that so many users around the globe depend upon throughout their days.
> The Google that we’ve known will be dead
"Google is changing" would be more accurate. And of course it is - as every living entity does in 20 years. Have you changed at all in the past 20 years? Would you describe yourself as "dead" because of it?
The European Union provides more foreign aid than any other economic union. Covering 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2017 generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of 19.670 trillion US dollars, constituting approximately 24.6% of global nominal GDP and 16.5% when measured in terms of purchasing power parity. Additionally, all 28 EU countries have a very high Human Development Index, according to the United Nations Development Programme.
The EU is one of the most prosperous, more wealthy regions of the world with some of the most robust legislation to protect citizens' rights, including consumer rights. Arguing that it's going after Google's (and Facebook's, etc) violations of its users' privacy is meant to "fill its coffers" is just clueless.
People complain about the monopolistic market power of Google. But in reality this is the only way big tech works at this time. You either grab the market or you'll loose out.
Anyway. Alphabet has to get cloud and Waymo right because long term they can't keep relying on advertising. In the end it's all about who gets to "real" AI first. Out of all the serious contenders I'd rather it be Alphabet than Amazon or worse, Baidu or Tencent. Because whoever gets that will probably dominate on whole new level. And that believe is really based around the ideals of the founders. Bezos for example seems much more like a typical business person with profit motivation. Page and Brin seem like they're just using the financial success of Alphabet as a means to an end. Because when you're that rich your world view and ideas for the future seem much more relevant than simply getting more money.
1) the naked arrogance and almost-disinterest of their people when in the room with the client's business people i.e. the people signing off on the vendor selection.
2) non-trivial examples of products that were terminated at short notice, in some cases with no clear migration path.
While 2 can be mitigated, it was 1 that stuck with me. I've been in the room with quite a few big vendors and Google were BY FAR the most arrogant. Quite appallingly so actually. SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM - however crap some of their products and services may be (as are some of Google's), they at least have the common sales sense to make the prospective client feel listened to. In my experience, SAP were masters at this.
The fact of the matter is: Google is by far the best search engine. Google is the only company I'd actually trust to drive me around in a self driving car. Its cloud services are 2X more cost-effective compared to AWS. Google's Android is by far the most popular mobile OS in the US.
Google is growing like crazy both in terms of employees and in terms of stock. Who even cares about Google+ ?
Second ... Google is still the champion of good on the internet. There is no other way to put it. Google's ads, on Google itself and on youtube ... are still absolute champions of reasonableness compared to all of their competitors, even the ones that are sponsored, like Bing.
Google's moral stance ... still far exceeds the moral stances from their competitors on nearly all fronts. Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Baidu, ... there is just no comparison. Go to their pages and compare their attitudes towards, say, drug ads. Ad blockers. There is just no comparison.
And as for Amazon. I used to joke: 'Google's motto is "Do no evil". Amazon's motto is the other thing'.
And yes Google works with the military (well, not really, it was planning to at some point, but that's it), so does Microsoft with Bing. So does Yahoo's parent, Verizon. So does Amazon (hell Amazon's EC2 has a CIA-only cluster ). There is just no comparison.
Google's products have no comparison anywhere. From Google Docs, Gmail, Search, Youtube, Android, Blogger, Flights, Translate, Scholar, Cache, Chrome, Hangouts, Play, Tensorflow, Drive ... all are really great products compared to their competition. Really, really great products, most of which are entirely free as well. Ad-supported, but not obnoxiously so.
Does nobody other than me remember how other companies treated the web in the late 90s, early 2000s ? How about the cell phone maddness of the early 90s and how obnoxious the telcos were with their "sms services", "ringtones", ... and so forth. That's what you should compare to Google.
Is there anyone here that seriously doubts the web would be incredibly poorer if Google either relented on the above stances or disappears ? Because I don't. Google would be an incredible loss.
Google is growing like crazy ... and to some extent that probably means turning into a more normal company. But ... it's still VERY far removed from being one.
This post ... well the guy initially said this in 2006 ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGoSpmv9ZVc ). I mean at some point he'll be right of course, but 10 years seems a long time to wait.
Google is still a very early stage business. Look at it's valuation, and it's STILL not paying dividends ? I mean how much more proof do you need ? And Google is absurdly amazing: it makes almost 12% of it's market cap in profit.
What do you suppose would happen to Google's stock if it paid a 5% dividend ? We all know it could easily cover a 15% dividend for a century or two.
Google is here to stay.
(Then the volcano erupts and kills the dinos.)