Google Monster

I smell a giant and too many Jacks on the beanstalk.

Google has introduced new features and removed a few. That’s normal growth. There are 1000s of tech sites that watch these moves and millions of users that rush to adopt and adapt.

Core services are showing rare improvements. There’s overall success from multi-year tweaking of algorithms to exclude scam and black-hat sites, but critics of the Page-Rank model are piling-on in greater numbers. In many sectors, crummy sites are top on the list after years of bad press and empty services. Wikipedia earns billions of exposures and few know why. Sloppy. Even governments are increasingly concerned about walloping societies with a hits-based revenue bias and gang aggregation. But that’s another story.

What about Gmail, for example? These improvements are from the design shop. The UI is tweaked but not much improved. In fact, Google introduced silliness: Move and Labels buttons that do the same task. Ingeniously designed buttons, yes, but a show of policy that is insensitive to the moans of users in the broad market.

What about Reader? The engine’s very workable API opens the door for adjunct services such as external widgets and scripts. There’s those tweaks again, but no effort to vamp the core experience for users.

Google’s unwritten trademark seems to be unused and arbitrary white space. Blogger’s editor requires street-written scripts to stretch it’s insensitive display blocks. There’s nothing improved in that editor over the years and this is where our fingers do the day to day work. New Blogger is an API on it’s way to a web standards fiasco.

What fly was on the wall at the tier management meeting that introduced Pages or wiped out Notebook? Illogical. No apparent direction, or if so, why change direction without a heraldic announcement and a global dance party?

Too few pundits are shaking their heads in bewilderment about Google’s so-called housekeeping! I’m sensing it’s damn organizational politics driving these decisions; little urgencies collecting in the nodes of hiring charts.

I’m certain I’m watching Google’s leadership lose its grip, too busy at Davos, while teams of special talents crawl into Google’s decision making, hallway by hallway, tweet by tweet. Too bad. But interesting.

Humanity can be trite. Google is rusting its way into a typical corporate monster. Employees and contractors that can grab momentum are learning how to bring this-or-that upstairs. Rank and politics are determining go or no-go. That’s my worry.

Users are to be taken for granted?