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A Former Googler Writes About How Google Changed
Dave_Hybrid




msg:4526087
 9:10 am on Dec 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Why I Left Google [blogs.msdn.com]

I think this personal blog post by a former googler reveals quite a lot about what is happening at google, including search.

[edited by: tedster at 10:31 pm (utc) on Dec 8, 2012]
[edit reason] moved from another thread [/edit]

 

taberstruths




msg:4526108
 2:55 pm on Dec 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

That blog post was great and it confirms a lot about what we all have thought was behind what is going on. Thanks for sharing it.

[edited by: tedster at 10:52 pm (utc) on Dec 8, 2012]

SevenCubed




msg:4526114
 3:31 pm on Dec 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Dave_Hybrid thanks very much for sharing that blog post. It's one of the most beautiful Dear John letters I've ever read :p

It oozed with honesty, straightforwardness, yet it wasn't vindictive. And as taberstruths said above me it really gives credence to something that many of us have been saying all along.

My weekend is complete. Life is good.

[edited by: tedster at 10:55 pm (utc) on Dec 8, 2012]

backdraft7




msg:4526143
 7:45 pm on Dec 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Liking your G+ account from within your FB account will create a wormhole to a different dimension.
Just searching Google these days does kinda the same thing.

[edited by: tedster at 10:58 pm (utc) on Dec 8, 2012]

Dave_Hybrid




msg:4526126
 5:08 pm on Dec 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Fact is google is scared of facebok and youre never going to get the traffic back. Its now being funnelled through google properties to aid google plus sign ups. The best thing you can do is boycott google products, there are plenty of alternatives.

[edited by: tedster at 11:07 pm (utc) on Dec 8, 2012]

MrSavage




msg:4526201
 11:29 pm on Dec 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Reading between the lines, the story basically suggests that Google changed since Page took over. Okay, new management, new direction, new profits. How many times does new management cause people to quit? A lot. An article like this may indicate cracks but last time I checked their market share didn't dwindle, they own 95%+ of mobile search (which is the future) and this is one of the very very few stories out there. Show me more articles then I might be willing to put some credence into this. It doesn't make me feel any better about things regarding the future. Let's not forget that ads on Facebook have been the furthest thing from a success. How are FB shares doing? I think the writer is guessing about the perceived threat that the executives feel about FB.

Play_Bach




msg:4526244
 7:25 am on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think the writer is guessing about the perceived threat that the executives feel about FB.


The post was pre-Facebook IPO, so yes, pure speculation. I read most of the comments in the post too, some of which I thought were interesting. Lots of "so you left Google to join Microsoft?" and other jabs at the author's credibility, but others I found worth reading.

As for perecived threats to Google, I just don't see them losing market share anytime soon. As long as they're the dominant search engine, Google will continue to stockpile more data and cash. Your average civilian couldn't care less about any of the tech wars going on and will continue to use Google until something better comes along. It ain't here yet.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4526282
 10:59 am on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

From the article:
I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.”


Bang on assessment imo. I'd honestly like Google to ease up on forcing G+ via their other products, they have trust to earn and anti-trust lawsuits to settle first. Heck I'd like my old Google search results back too, I hope they regain focus on THEIR core strength (search) and ease up on Facebook's (social) soon.

What seems most scary to Google right now would be Facebook releasing a search engine since they have the audience to use it in place, but you don't see facebook rushing. It's a bad time for Google to be perceived as faltering in search!

Shepherd




msg:4526288
 12:02 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I hope they regain focus on THEIR core strength (search) and ease up on Facebook's (social) soon.


Simply put, they can't. There's not enough growth left in search to feed the corporate machine. All they can do now is squeeze as much perceived growth (money) out of search while looking for real growth elsewhere.

claaarky




msg:4526303
 1:48 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

What this says to me is that someone who didn't know googles overall strategy put 2 and 2 together and got 5, then quit based on that conclusion.

Only the inner sanctum are likely to know exactly what the plan is and the stakes are far too high to share that with the world or even the staff.

londrum




msg:4526315
 3:10 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

i think he's just annoyed about having his 20% freetime taken away. sounds like he enjoyed his job when he could spend 20% of it doing his own thing. as soon as they took that away he suddenly finds a load of other things to carp about.

how much of that 20% freetime actually resulted in useable money-making products? google seems to shut down most of its betas.

Suddenly, 20% meant half-assed. Google Labs was shut down. App Engine fees were raised. APIs that had been free for years were deprecated or provided for a fee.

im guessing the management just got fed up paying people to do their own thing, with no real benefit to the company. what other company would put up with that?

FranticFish




msg:4526319
 3:36 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Perhaps a company that could use GMail and Chrome, because it looks to me like both of those came from the '20% time'.

diberry




msg:4526323
 4:26 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

You can't judge a decision on its results. Philip M. Rosenzweig talks in his book The Halo Effect about how every decision Cisco Systems made was lauded by the press... until it slid downhill, and then suddenly the press reported how bad many of those very same decisions had been.

This employee thinks Google is going in a bad direction not because of results, but because of what he believes will happen in the long run. That's a personal judgment call, not theory he's seeking to prove right. You can doubt his perceptions, or you can believe them. And if you believe them, you may think what Google's doing is smart. It's just a POV.

That said, I think the article is meaningful because the author expresses concerns many people here have expressed, which lends some credence to that view: that Google has switched from innovator to ad company, and may well be prioritizing ads and Google+ to the detriment of other services like organic search.

I definitely feel that the SERPs have gotten near-useless in the past year or so. I say that as a user, not a webbie. I gave up Google a couple of years ago, and had to give up Bing months later because it got just as bad. Now I alternate between Blekko, Duck, Bing and Google. Frequently, in total frustration, I have to pick a site I *think* might have what I need and use their search engine. There is something wrong with search, and it's not just Google. Things are changing, and this author offers one perspective on how that might be playing out behind the scenes at one search company.

Zivush




msg:4526324
 4:37 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I didn't like it.
Bad mouthing your former employer is a wrong thing to do.
Why did he write this and how is MS going to feel about having an employee who speaks that way on his employers?
What about loyalty, professionalism and ethics?

Plus, he didn't reveal a single thing that wasn't known.
Yes, G+ is a mistake. A failure. A business crash.
Yes, Google freaked out because of Facebook and made some stupid mistakes manipulating SE results trying to push G+. So what?
They had a good/expensive lesson to learn from, and now they're going to focus on their core business. Hopefully :-)

As for ads, sooner or later the ad market is going to adapt itself. Cost/benefit will play a big role.

mrguy




msg:4526326
 5:04 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

As long as they're the dominant search engine, Google will continue to stockpile more data and cash.


And if Facebook would ever pull their thumbs our of their you know where, and actually have search within facebook in earnest, then Google would be in trouble because their large user base would no longer have to use an external search component.

Facebook could change the face of search as we know it.

Pre IPO Zucks said they would never do search, post IPO I recall reading they are working on it.

It's going to get interesting.

TypicalSurfer




msg:4526332
 5:31 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

You can't judge a decision on its results. Philip M. Rosenzweig talks in his book The Halo Effect about how every decision Cisco Systems made was lauded by the press... until it slid downhill, and then suddenly the press reported how bad many of those very same decisions had been.


I have to agree with that premise. Some folks at google need to be talked off of their cloud. Most of us are guilty of encouraging the likes of Matt Cutts with the perpetual oohing and ahhing over the most inane of his comments. I watch one site who religiously posts every video he makes with commentary that is always more than glowing, essentially false. I'm pretty sure the mouthpieces at google actually think they are that smart and hey no doubt that they are smart but the big disconnect for them is in thinking everyone else is stupid. A ten year old could shoot holes in most of what they put out but due to fear or greed the majority of web media still clings to their every word like it is manna from heaven.

The road is littered with failures who slipped into hubris, google is no exception.

Dave_Hybrid




msg:4526336
 6:25 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Facebook have said they are working on search, it's only a matter of time and i relish the day. It will hit google hard. I can see now why google are behaving the way they are, it's all a smoke screen to get plus traction. Just look at the recent YouTube changes. They are getting desperate.

[techcrunch.com...]

oliondor




msg:4526357
 7:12 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google wants people to use their real name : DREAM

Google has lost the social media war.

Facebook with launch its own Adsense soon, the search engine.


GOOGLE IS DEAD.

xcoder




msg:4526382
 8:48 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

GOOGLE IS DEAD.


Not that fast. They have Android and this alone is going to keep them in business and at the center of things for years to come.

Check your logs for android based devices. It's scary...

breeks




msg:4526387
 9:06 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think this sums it up nicely.

"Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn't invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation."

TheMadScientist




msg:4526391
 9:28 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Surprising to me the lack of knowledge about things at Google, but it does show why some think he's 'just complaining'. To highlight one:

im guessing the management just got fed up paying people to do their own thing, with no real benefit to the company. what other company would put up with that?

With no real benefit to the company?

Uh, Panda (and a number of other things) started as a 20% time project ... But Panda's just one of the most influential/important pieces of their algo today, so it has no real benefit to the company, right? Er, uh, maybe the guy who's making the statements knows more about the situation and what was lost with the changes than those who are thinking he's just whining? IDK, but I do know I've read about some major innovations coming from 20% time projects, so to say there was no real benefit to the company from it isn't even close to accurate. In fact it sounds rather uninformed...

viral




msg:4526410
 10:51 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

G+ is a "soulless place" for SEO's and Google employee's to hang out.

Google can bang on about security all they want. The kids want to hang out with their friends and their friends are on Facebook.

The only way Google will win this one is to buy enough Facebook shares to own Facebook. They should start buying now while the shares are cheap.

taberstruths




msg:4526414
 10:59 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Honestly, I think all those that were dissing this guy have been drinking too much G+rape kool-aid from G+uyana

gehrlekrona




msg:4526420
 11:26 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

As far as I know FB already have Search but they haven't promoted it and they use Bing search result...
I think they are planning to buy Bings "adsense" too and if they do I think I will switch my AdCEDNTS to FB/Bing instead.

seoskunk




msg:4526446
 12:51 am on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Its interesting though, FB built a community and now plans to add a search engine. Google built a search engine but failed to build a community.

MrSavage




msg:4526464
 2:33 am on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think overall the FB aspect of the story was minor in comparison to what the author was really saying. Yes he suggested how bad Google wants/needs social. That aside, he's writing to say that it's not a fun environment to work in. The shift in company came with Page, revenues became key, trust went out the window, profits before innovation, etc. Most things start off pure and then ultimately turn to what their nature is. That's profit. Simply it seems like a story where the author started working under the premise or environment of purity and that changed to a more profit driven mentality under Page. Rock bands get the same way. Start pure then success breeds profit breeds less enjoyment. Usually bands members leave or they break up entirely. Google was that rock band. I get that. I think that's all this guy is saying.

The reality is I'm sure Goog had 1000 applications for his job. That might say something. Regardless of change I'm sure it's a great work environment, although it might be different in direction. So long as the shares rise, I'm sure most people are okay with following company lines.

diberry




msg:4526489
 6:03 am on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Uh, Panda (and a number of other things) started as a 20% time project ... But Panda's just one of the most influential/important pieces of their algo today, so it has no real benefit to the company, right? Er, uh, maybe the guy who's making the statements knows more about the situation and what was lost with the changes than those who are thinking he's just whining? IDK, but I do know I've read about some major innovations coming from 20% time projects, so to say there was no real benefit to the company from it isn't even close to accurate. In fact it sounds rather uninformed...


This. Thank you.

The author also mentions that before, one didn't have to cozy up to the right execs or get lucky and land in some "sexy" project. That suggests corporate politics are playing a bigger role in Google than they used to, which IMO would be unfortunate. I've never seen corporate politics do anything but distract employees from their real work and create resentment and frustration.

dvduval




msg:4526519
 6:59 am on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

I had a next door neighbor that worked for Adwords. I complained about all the organic results were almost below the fold now. He said, "But have you looked at the quality of the adwords results? They are so much better now." It just showed me the bubble that was obviously present now. Further questioning reinforced that organic results were not even something worth thinking about.

londrum




msg:4526570
 10:14 am on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

With no real benefit to the company?

Uh, Panda (and a number of other things) started as a 20% time project ... But Panda's just one of the most influential/important pieces of their algo today, so it has no real benefit to the company, right? Er, uh, maybe the guy who's making the statements knows more about the situation and what was lost with the changes than those who are thinking he's just whining? IDK, but I do know I've read about some major innovations coming from 20% time projects, so to say there was no real benefit to the company from it isn't even close to accurate. In fact it sounds rather uninformed...

yeah but new algos would be developed anyway, as a matter of course, it doesn't need 20% freetime. someone mentioned two more examples earlier -- chrome and email. two more things that google would likely have developed regardless of there being 20% freetime. a browser and email are not exactly earth-shattering ideas.
why should a company pay thousands of its employees 20% freetime, when they could just get them to work on it anyway? its a waste of money.

diberry




msg:4526635
 5:04 pm on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

why should a company pay thousands of its employees 20% freetime, when they could just get them to work on it anyway? its a waste of money.


It's an unfounded assumption that those products would have been made with or without the free time. People work differently during time that is defined as their own, to get creative and do what THEY want and not necessarily what will impress the top brass. Some astounding ideas can come from this type of free time - stuff the top brass never would have thought of. They can't "get them to work on it anyway" if they don't think of it.

There is incredible value in encouraging employee creativity and an escape from groupthink. But Page was brought in to make more money, because apparently shares at $5-600 isn't good enough for some stockholders. In the short run, the company IS making more money, so Page is doing what he was asked to do. In the longterm, I think these changes could kill what made Google great... but if search's lifespam is already limited, there may not be a longterm for Google as we know it, so perhaps it's smart to cash in as best they can while waiting to assess how they need to reshape things for the future.

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