Google might want to start instituting a gag order on all outgoing employees- and some that are still there as well. Another ex-employee has published a high-profile online criticism of the search giant, citing Google+ as a particular sore spot.
Spencer Tipping was a programmer at Google for six months, by his own description. His parting shot is unlike a lot of the other criticism out there because by the author’s own admission, it’s more an expression of his own personal reasons for leaving the company. Tipping admits that he has had “much trouble staying in one place,” holding several professional positions for brief amounts of time over the past few years- and at many points in the blog post, he acknowledges that a complaint is more a reflection of his personal biases than a critique of Google.
The post itself has taken on a life of its own: several updates and clarifications appear before and after the main section, not to mention the footnotes in the original post.
Tipping cites “technological culture” as his most pressing concerns, giving several reasons that probably don’t mean much to non-programmers. He criticizes various aspects of the coding being done, and some of the languages in which it is done at Google.
Of course, the most public attention is focused on the #1 complaint in his “Corporate Culture” section: Google+. Tipping writes:
I think Google+ is an effort that does not deserve the engineering minds at Google. This is mostly a personal bias. I see Google as solving legitimately difficult technological problems, not doing stupid things like cloning Facebook. Google, in my opinion, lost sight of what was important when they went down this rabbit hole.
Former Google engineer James Whittaker echoed some of these sentiments, especially the “rabbit hole” aspect, when he explained his decision to join rival Microsoft:
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.
And in October 2011, Google engineer Steve Yegge accidentally published a 5,000 rant about his employers, calling Google+ “a pathetic afterthought… a kneejerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking.”
What do you think? Do they all have some valid points?