Google is 'arrogant', 'conservative', 'can no longer innovate', says Googler of 13 years as he quits

Google is 'arrogant', 'conservative', 'can no longer innovate', says Googler of 13 years as he quits
Steve Yegge, an ex-Google employee of more than 13 years has left the company, and while such a news would hardly ever make a lot of headlines, his last words as he left the technological giant are certainly worth reading.

According to Yegge, who was a Senior Staff Software Engineer at Mountain View, among the chief reasons for his departure from the company is its transformation to a "100% competitor-focused" and not "customer-focused" entity that's no longer an inspiring place to work at. 

This strategy on catching up and one-upping its rivals on the tech scene is quite possibly the biggest yet not sole reason why Yegge chose to part ways with the giant. Here are a couple other tipping points that also contributed: 



However, Yegge still feels "Google is still one of the very best places to work on Earth, just about any way you care to measure it". He continues by carefully explaining how most of Google's major product announcement in the past few years have been an answer to a competitor's advances and not a response to customer demand. 


Not quite surprisingly, Steve Yegge says Google has been stuck in a "me-too" mode for far too long, spewing a load of copycat products. For instance, he cites Google+ as a direct answer to Facebook, Google Cloud as a countermeasure against Amazon's Web Services, Allo was intended to counter WhatsApp, Android Instant Apps - Facebook and WeChat's advances in the field, and of course, Google Assistant to checkmate Apple's Siri and probably Amazon's Alexa. 



Of course, not everything is black: Yegge gives credit where it's due and confesses that it will take the industry some time before it could appropriately answer to a few Google products like Cloud Spanner, BigQuery, TensorFlow, Waymo, and others. But in the end, Google became the bad guy in the story of Steve Yegge and is no longer "a very inspiring place to work". But it sounds like Google is not the only big tech company that has slowly gone this way: the software engineer describes Oracle, Twitter, Apple, eBay, Microsoft, Adobe, SalesForce, and all the big companies in the Silicon Valley "kinda meh".

That's totally not the first time Steve Yegge has positioned himself in the sights of Google. Back in 2011, he made a ton of headlines by 'accidentally' posting a long rant about Google's impotent Google+ strategy which quickly gained virality, but somehow did not have him fired. He also used the opportunity to also take quite a few jabs at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and currently the richest person in the world, calling him the "Dread Pirate Bezos". Ouch!

Google is slated to host its Google I/O dev-centric summit between May 8-10 and will most certainly reveal its current vision for 2018 software as Android 9.0 P will be demoed. While it's strictly a software event, there could potentially be some hardware announcements at I/O '18. You can read more about that right here.

Do you agree with any of Steve Yegge's points? Do you feel Google is no longer innovative and merely copying its competitors? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section right below.

source: SteveYegge@Medium

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39 Comments

1. BGChicago

Posts: 224; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

Absolutely agreed

2. emvxl

Posts: 140; Member since: Sep 29, 2009

Especially this statement - 'Steve Yegge says Google has been stuck in a "me-too"'.

14. sgodsell

Posts: 7195; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Umm, are you guys sure he isn't talk about Apple, because every thing Apple has done in the last few years has been a me-too.

24. BGChicago

Posts: 224; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

Apple is a whole other level of arrogant. But as the recent battery case shows us - they are now afraid.

27. lyndon420

Posts: 6725; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

He mentioned apple among others.

34. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Let's just see where this guy work after this..

3. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 402; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

In all honesty I think the reason for this is Samsung. Samsung has taken the Android image and became what the majority believes Android is. Samsung is Akatsuki while Google is the Hidden Leaf.

5. haruken

Posts: 306; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

We can't just blame Samsung for being as popular as they are, it's up to Google to one-up them. Let's not forget that there was a time when android was associated with HTC, as un believable as it may sound, so clearly Google has had issues from the beginning...

10. XDAdam

Posts: 276; Member since: Feb 03, 2016

Motorola tried to rebrand what Android was with the whole 'Droid' campaign and a lot of people though Motorola owned/created it.

20. kick413

Posts: 162; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

Yea. For the longest while, I believed Google was just happy to be here instead of actually competing with the others. It's their own fault they let others be the forefront of Android.

4. surethom

Posts: 1662; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

I agree but that statement could easily come from an Apple employee aswell they are the same. Google has lost the plot, Google home cannot even read all day calendar events, if they cannot be bothered to do the simple things, what are they actually doing.

7. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1036; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

The difference is Google in the last year or so has become "me-too" focused, Apple has been there for nearly 5 years

33. sgodsell

Posts: 7195; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Name the me-too stuff. Please list all of them.

38. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1036; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

1. Abandoned Nexus line, for a more mainstream approach with the Pixel. The phone's physical design literally screams iPhone. 2. Releases Google Assistant to compete with Siri/Alexa 3. Releases Google Home to compete with Amazon Echo 4. All but scrapped Google Glass, allowing others to surpass them in the realm of AR/MR 5. Scrapped Project ARA

6. mootu

Posts: 1500; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

"But it sounds like Google is not the only big tech company that has slowly gone this way: the software engineer describes Oracle, Twitter, Apple, eBay, Microsoft, Adobe, SalesForce, and all the big companies in the Silicon Valley "kinda meh". Just sounds like a very angry man who has just talked himself out of a job with any of the Silicon Valley giants.

16. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3122; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Perhaps, but there's a startup with a brilliant new idea that will snatch him up in a heartbeat. Complacency comes from within and it affects every successful company in every industry.

22. Penny

Posts: 1847; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

He doesn't sound angry, he sounds frustrated in experiencing what a corporation becomes after success. He's opening his eyes to red flags, and voicing his concerns -- that's a lot better than being quiet about it.

28. lyndon420

Posts: 6725; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

He sounds bored. 13 years at the same job can eventually suck the life out of everything.

31. mootu

Posts: 1500; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

I've met a lot like him in my working life (34 years) and usually they throw a hissy fit when they don't get their own way about something. Usually end up having to fire them as they don't change and just complain and try to stir up trouble. Also if he's just voicing concerns then why has he publicly trashed a boat load of company's that are nothing to do with him, not worked at said company's and more than likely has no idea what they are working on.

9. XDAdam

Posts: 276; Member since: Feb 03, 2016

"Google is still one of the very best places to work on Earth, just about any way you care to measure it" They are successful for a reason... perhaps Yegge doesn't agree with the reason, but it's obviously working for Google if they are still 'one of the best places to work'.

11. admin_user

Posts: 33; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Like everywhere in capitalism those companies are ruled by persons with business backgrounds and not by innovative people. So this industry has become lame and boring... They are interested in shareholder value and that´s not innovation or progress. Last real flagship device was Nokia 808 and the original iPhone. After that there wasn´t any real development. The phones got thinner (I don´t really care about it...) and now they even look all the same. Just look at smartphone cameras: Those years old Nokia 808 beats every Note 8, every iPhone X and every Huawei Mate 10 in terms of image quality. It´s just ridiculous what this industry delivers.

12. TheOracle1

Posts: 2213; Member since: May 04, 2015

My gripe with Google is they haven't figured out if they're a hardware or software company or both. Personally I love a lot of their software (especially Hangouts) but I don't find any of their hardware particularly appealing. Yes, including the Nexus/Pixels. I think their upmarket move since 2014 was a mistake. My Nexus 7 2013 is where I see Google in the hardware space. Great specs at excellent prices with their full software suite ensuring a loyal customer base. Their mish-mash approach seems to be a sign of a dilution of talent in multiple corporate divisions pulling in opposite directions with no particular strategy involved.

13. Awalker

Posts: 1973; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

They're a hardware and software company now.

15. DFranch

Posts: 533; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

It's true. Look at the feud with Amazon over youtube access on its alexa devices. They are leveraging youtube against Alexa because they can't compete yet in that space. They did it by refusing to allow Amazon video app on the chromecast.

17. Zylam

Posts: 1813; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

100% agree. I love Android to bits but the last few io's have been a cringe worthy borfest. Google used to be that fun kid on the block who always had something new and awesome to play with. Not anymore. Not to mention it's astonishing how a company of Google's magnitude has not managed to solve Androids fragmention. It honestly feels like it's getting worse. I am yet to see Android 8 on any of my friends phones and now look, Android 9 is about to be shown. Also for the sake of your fans please sort out the hardware situation Google, give us a quality Pixel 3. Thanks.

18. shandesilva

Posts: 105; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Better correct the spelling mistakes in the heading Pete :)

19. xfire99

Posts: 1205; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

He's right. Google in a nutshell. First they bought Motorola and sold it later. Now they wants to release own brand Android phone. Pixel C is already forgotten and Pixel phones are full of problems. They havent release any innovative hardware product or software's recent years.

21. Tech-shake

Posts: 213; Member since: Nov 14, 2016

while it is easy to criticize google and other big companies for being "too conservative", people got to realize that such big companies can't be the risk takers they used to be when they were startups. When you are a start up you can make changes quickly and frequently since you got so little to worry about; however, as you grow you realize that the cost if making mistakes far out weighs the benefit. Hence, why most companies turn into "conservatives" once they make it to the big leagues.

23. Penny

Posts: 1847; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

But he did point out one very important and underrated consequence of this: as a company becomes conservative to protect what it has, it moves its eyes off the customers and onto the competitors. My number one piece of advice to any business, large or small, is to always focus on providing the products that best solve your customers' problems. You can't do this if your preoccupations take your focus away from the customers' needs.

26. TheOracle1

Posts: 2213; Member since: May 04, 2015

I get your point but I have to disagree. Large corporations have more resources to allocate on R&D than any startup. Lockheed is/was a good example with their famous Skunkworks. A secret division dedicated entirely to hair brained schemes that has produced some of the greatest technological advancements in the last 60 years. The Blackbird, U2, Stealth aircraft etc came from a company that produced passenger planes as their "day" job. Google have no excuse.

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