Google sdrawkcaB

December 13, 2009

I enjoyed Outspoken Media’s “Is Google Moving in the Wrong Direction?” You will want to read the story and consider the examples drawn from Google’s recent product and service announcements. The idea is that Google is succumbing to complexification. Today, some of the post 1994 crowd want to embrace simplicity. Making stuff simple is important when folks are baffled by the functions of some of today’s electronic products and services. I recall the interesting example of the Cargo Cult. I also like the idea that an advanced technology looks like deep mojo to the less sophisticated.

I don’t agree with Outspoken Media’ and I certainly don’t want to suggest that she is part of the post 1994 generation nor do I want to leave you with the impression that Outspoken Media is the metaphorical match for an Amazonian tribe member somewhat unfamiliar with iPods and ATMs. No, no. My view is that this write articulates the increasing need to keep thinking out of online services. Type a few words. Get a result. Forget the variants and their implications. Just give me a result list. That’s how I interpret signals from her write up and from some azure chip consultants who specialize in the mysteries of CRM, CMS, and ERP.

The problem is:

  • Google was and remains a technically sophisticated outfit. Engineers, not MBAs, get the  cold Odwalla drinks
  • The Google system is 11 years old and that means there are quite a few public facing services and it is tough for those who use a couple of services to get their heads around the more than 80 services available for the average Joe and Jane
  • The present services are indeed more sophisticated on the surface than typing 2.3 words in the Google search box. The problem is that these new services are less complicated that the core Google system. Googlers are assembling Lego blocks into constructions that look complicated but when broken into their constituent parts are red, blue, green and yellow components. Complex structures can be assembled from a few building blocks.

The result is that there is a superficial complexity to some Google products and services. Underneath is a deeper complexity that makes it relatively simple for Google to develop new constructs. Bottomline: don’t think too deeply about Google unless you have the tools and mental software to get below the shiny surface of Google.

In my experience, few bother to make this effort. It is easier to tell Google what to do. Or, just draw a conclusion about Google based on a partial understanding of the firm’s technical resources. Failing that, I am not sure that understanding of the radicalism Google manifests will make much sense.

Stephen Arnold, December 12, 2009

I have to tell you, dear Blog Police, at the US Senate Police, that I was paid to write this article by Joe Roberts. He bought my lunch and said, “You won’t criticize that Outspoken Media article, will you?” Yep, I did. A taco bought me off.


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