Google+ VP Calls Recent Diss From Fellow Googler, “Disheartening”

    October 20, 2011
    Chris Crum

You may recall recently when a Google employee wrote a lengthy Google+ post about where he feels Google is screwing up (and to be fair, also where it is doing well). A good portion of this, and the part that drew the most attention was his criticism of Google+ and the Google+ platform.

Bradley Horowitz, VP Product of Google+, was asked about the infamous memo on stage by AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka at the AsiaD event. The publication recaps his response:

“I think the tone of the post mostly was disheartening.”

There were elements of validity, he said. But there were also areas where that Google employee, who doesn’t work on Google+, was in the dark, he said.

“We’re moving at light speed. We’ve been in market for 120 days.”

That said, Google is in no rush to build its user base, Horowitz said.

In his only public post since explaining what happened with the memo, Yegge wrote (on October 15), “As you can imagine this has been a pretty stressful week for me. But it hasn’t been all bad. On Thursday I was given an honorary Darwin Award, and on Friday they crowned me Miss South Carolina.”

In a comment on that post, he explained to another user, “I was not criticizing the G+ product. I was criticizing Google’s cultural inattention to developer platforms, and I used G+’s external APIs as just one example. I could have chosen a completely different Google product as my example. In fact I probably should have, given the confusion my criticism of the G+ APIs has caused.”

While he may also be critical of other Google products, I’m not sure that I’m buying that bit about not criticizing the G+ product, given that the post said:

Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product. But that’s not why they are successful. Facebook is successful because they built an entire constellation of products by allowing other people to do the work. So Facebook is different for everyone. Some people spend all their time on Mafia Wars. Some spend all their time on Farmville. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of different high-quality time sinks available, so there’s something there for everyone.”

“Our Google+ team took a look at the aftermarket and said: “Gosh, it looks like we need some games. Let’s go contract someone to, um, write some games for us.” Do you begin to see how incredibly wrong that thinking is now? The problem is that we are trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them.”

Yegge was widely commended by outsiders for having the balls to write the post, which was directed inward towards Google employees, though accidentally posted publicly for an amount of time long enough for others to capture it before it was deleted. A lot of people seem to agree with much of what Yegge said in the post, but Horowitz also makes good point about just how young Google+ actually is. Besides, Google+ is bigger than just being a Google social network. It’s being integrated into pretty much everything Google does (including new Google Apps support).


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.