One of the biggest stories on the interwebs today, aside from Jon Stewart’s take on Homeless Hotspots, has been the plight and blog post on Microsoft’s official blog by James Whittaker, a former Googler.
Whittaker recently left Google for his second tour at Google’s rival Microsoft. Microsoft was all too willing to post the remarks Whittaker made in an official blog post. We’ve all read about and heard first hand about Google’s 20% policy where Googlers (Google employees) were invited to spend 20% of their time every week on a side project, not necessarily part of their day to day job.
As Fox 8 reports, things like GMail and Google Chrome were budding 20% projects, incubated within the confines of Google’s Mountain View Google Plex. According to Whittaker, once Larry Page moved to the corner office, all of that entrepreneurial and start up experience was gone.
More after the break
Whittaker, who headed the engineering team for Google+, said in the Microsoft blog post; “My last three months working for Google was a whirlwind of desperation,”. He went on to say; “The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.”
In regards to the 20% program which has been a Google staple since the beginning, Whittaker said “Suddenly, 20% meant half assed”.
There has been a whirlwind of controversy around Google+. This weekend at South By Southwest Interactive, Twitter celebrity and author, Guy Kawasaki was in a fire side chat with Google’s Vic Gundotra. Kawasaki confronted Gundotra saying that Google+ seemed like a Ghost Town, Gundotra replied “the reason it sometimes appears inactive is because the majority of its content is shared privately,”
Google+ and the ability to inject advertising into social networking has been something that Facebook has been very good at and Google has failed at in two previous attempts. Google’s Orkut service was unveiled as a competitor to MySpace. While it’s doing well in parts of Latin America, it was never popular in the U.S., Europe or Asia.
Google’s short lived attempt at a service similar to Twitter, didn’t catch on either, and it also spawned a privacy investigation with the Federal Trade Commission.
Google has a lot riding on Google+. Whittaker feels that the focus on Google+ has taken away from the technology focused global search and internet giant.
“Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation,” Whittaker said. “The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.”
Some are taking Whittakers comments with a grain of salt, as he is no longer with the company. One website had said that they equated Whittaker’s blog rant as that of a recently broken up boyfriend.