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Google Employee Accidentally Shares Rant About Google+

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the not-everyone-is-a-fan dept.

Google 354

First time accepted submitter quantumplacet writes "Longtime Googler Steve Yegge posted an insightful rant on his Google+ page about how Google is failing to make platforms of its products. He also shares some interesting little tidbits about his six year stint at Amazon working for the 'Dread Pirate Bezos'. The rant was intended to be shared only with his Google coworkers, but was accidentally made public. Steve has since removed it from his page, but it has been reposted elsewhere."

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It's not a rant, it's a plea for change.. (5, Insightful)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 3 years ago | (#37695742)

I think that it's got a lot of good information, and this guy desperately wants Google to embrace different ideals than they've held in the past. That said, I think rant is an inappropriate word for this. It's very interesting.

Re:It's not a rant, it's a plea for change.. (5, Insightful)

TechLA (2482532) | about 3 years ago | (#37695792)

He's right with this:

Not in some sort of ad-hoc, half-assed way, but in more or less the same way Amazon did it: all at once, for real, no cheating, and treating it as our top priority from now on.

Apart from the core services, Google is doing everything in an half-assed way. They discontinue A LOT of their products too and since they're fully hosted on Google's servers, it means users just can't use them anymore. It's different from desktop software, as desktop software you can practically always still use. Using Google's services is pretty much like using DRM, except that there's no cracks, no way to make things work again after Google shuts down their half-assed services.

Re:It's not a rant, it's a plea for change.. (4, Interesting)

TechLA (2482532) | about 3 years ago | (#37695834)

Oh and just want to point out this too - even Googlers think Google again failed with their social networking launch.

The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought. We had no API at all at launch, and last I checked, we had one measly API call. One of the team members marched in and told me about it when they launched, and I asked: "So is it the Stalker API?" She got all glum and said "Yeah." I mean, I was joking, but no... the only API call we offer is to get someone's stream. So I guess the joke was on me.

Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product. But that's not why they are successful. Facebook is successful because they built an entire constellation of products by allowing other people to do the work. So Facebook is different for everyone. Some people spend all their time on Mafia Wars. Some spend all their time on Farmville. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of different high-quality time sinks available, so there's something there for everyone.

Facebook gets it. That's what really worries me. That's what got me off my lazy butt to write this thing. I hate blogging. I hate... plussing, or whatever it's called when you do a massive rant in Google+ even though it's a terrible venue for it but you do it anyway because in the end you really do want Google to be successful. And I do! I mean, Facebook wants me there, and it'd be pretty easy to just go. But Google is home, so I'm insisting that we have this little family intervention, uncomfortable as it might be.

It's just much harder to back out of it now as it's integrated to Google search.. Google really shot itself to foot here.

Re:It's not a rant, it's a plea for change.. (4, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37696092)

Facebook gets it.

(blink)

(blink blink)

Wow. If what Facebook gets is what he just said, then I don't want Google+ to get the same thing.

Sure, upgrade the API. Convince devs they will have a willing herd of eyeballs to cadge. But please, do not let it turn into a crashing avalanche of sorry crap in the process.

Take the Facebook openness, and apply a little Apple App Store QA.

Oh, and become your own Zynga. Because letting them take down the primary dollar stream is dopey.

Re:It's not a rant, it's a plea for change.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696180)

+1

The weakness of Facebook to me is their developer API... but only because it's far too much of a whore. It reminds me of trying to secure Windows 98 boxes for student use, except (to be as bad) Microsoft would have to log in remotely every other night and change the settings so there's another configurable security hole added with the default setting set to "open".

Re:It's not a rant, it's a plea for change.. (4, Informative)

stevesliva (648202) | about 3 years ago | (#37696506)

The weakness of Facebook to me is their developer API... but only because it's far too much of a whore. It reminds me of trying to secure Windows 98 boxes for student use, except (to be as bad) Microsoft would have to log in remotely every other night and change the settings so there's another configurable security hole added with the default setting set to "open".

That may be a weakness in your eyes, but remember that Win95 was an incredibly huge success for Microsoft. Just like the developer API is for Facebook. Warts and all.

Re:It's not a rant, it's a plea for change.. (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37695858)

That was one of my complaints about the way that they're handling them. I remember Wave, they discontinued it before there was any chance for users to figure out what it was for. I remember logging in a couple times and I couldn't figure out what need it filled. And I don't just mean for me, I couldn't figure out why anybody would use it.

They do provide more and more services with the ability to export the data, but it's still not always as convenient as it could be.

Re:It's not a rant, it's a plea for change.. (2)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 3 years ago | (#37696270)

They've been known to open source a project and hand it out when they shut it down.

If you don't like that Wave was shut down, you can run your own Wave instance for example.

That is nothing like DRM. Your analogy is made of failure.

Re:It's not a rant, it's a plea for change.. (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 3 years ago | (#37696284)

This guy should be promoted actually, for letting that out. It says a lot, a lot of positives, and exposes what's wrong with his company. I mean, what more can you ask for.

Nice way to get viral on Google+ (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about 3 years ago | (#37695754)

Sceptics will eat it up in no time :)

Re:Nice way to get viral on Google+ (1)

That Guy From Mrktng (2274712) | about 3 years ago | (#37696230)

Someone may be poaching someone..

"Yes, after you put this rant on your G+ and accidentally share it with everyone, we'll sign the contract. get it?"

I'm kidding that can't possibly happen this day and age, what I find shocking is to know about an employee not being satisfied by the company aims!! /s

Whatever "Facebook gets it" I don't want G+ to get it, and I don't even use G+.

I'm guessing... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 years ago | (#37695758)

that we'll see some changes to G+ shortly which (make it more clear)/(ask for confirmation) when posting publicly.

Re:I'm guessing... (2)

mystikkman (1487801) | about 3 years ago | (#37695778)

If a A-level geek can't grok the UI for Google+, do the masses have any chance?

Re:I'm guessing... (2)

Altus (1034) | about 3 years ago | (#37695998)

The UI is pretty damn clear, but it won't stop users from making stupid mistakes.

Re:I'm guessing... (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 3 years ago | (#37696168)

The universe never fails to invent a better idiot.

Re:I'm guessing... (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37695788)

There is a box that says public. I'm sorry, but how the hell is the not clear?

Re:I'm guessing... (5, Informative)

alostpacket (1972110) | about 3 years ago | (#37696110)

Are you sure you're sure you want to cancel?

[OK] [Cancel]

Re:I'm guessing... (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about 3 years ago | (#37696558)

That is rather insightful.

Re:I'm guessing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696258)

Steve was probably referring to posting on wrong instance of G+ (public, instead of Google's internal one).

Amazon & Google (4, Interesting)

mystikkman (1487801) | about 3 years ago | (#37695764)

I interviewed at Amazon once, what he says is true about the offices, they didn't look very clean and impressive. That's a bad impression right there.

Getting back to the topic, Google does get the outside contributors thing. Look at their search engine (leverage webmasters content and make them do the work of optimizing their site for your search engine), Android (app developers) just like his examples of Facebook, MS and Amazon.

But yes, Google is getting into a troubling mess with Wave, Buzz and now Google+(?).

Re:Amazon & Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37695938)

Me-Too-ism is a tool to appease investors when you are not really that interested something. See Microsoft:phones.

Re:Amazon & Google (5, Insightful)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | about 3 years ago | (#37696240)

a positive work environment that makes you proud to come to the office is a great 'feature' when you're hiring people to come work their little souls out at all hours of the day and night. Part of that is showing up to work and not seeing dirtiness, drabness, etc. Your environment gives you huge cues as to your behaviour.

Re:Amazon & Google (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37696378)

My desk isn't that tidy. Sure, I'll clear it out every so often if I'm asked, or I'm moving desk, but I barely even notice my office environment. I do notice noise big time, but not clutter.

My home folder though, that's pristine :) I like to keep my code as clean as I can too - with varying degrees of success, but occasional moments of insight..

Re:Amazon & Google (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | about 3 years ago | (#37696560)

I'm not talking about conscious cues, although there are those as well. we are strongly affected by our surroundings, and our perceptions of them. I'm not talking about your desk - I'm talking about environment. Even if you don't notice it, which I don't believe btw, you notice it.

Re:Amazon & Google (4, Insightful)

kbielefe (606566) | about 3 years ago | (#37695978)

What I like about Google is they aren't afraid to fail, and their failures often have beneficial side effects for the internet as a whole. Even if all that comes from google+ is facebook being a little less annoying to use, I think there are people at Google who consider it worth the investment.

Re:Amazon & Google (4, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 3 years ago | (#37696190)

Even if all that comes from google+ is facebook being a little less annoying to use, I think there are people at Google who consider it worth the investment.

Not Google stockholders I'm guessing.

Re:Amazon & Google (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37696408)

Fuck em. They don't have any idea how to create a successful business, or they'd be investing in themselves instead. If they want a return, the best thing they can do is keep their noses out.

Re:Amazon & Google (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37695994)

Posting anonymously because I used to work security at one of their locations. What bothered me most about Amazon's offices was how frequently the entire building would be empty, except for the Amazon floors where I'd randomly encounter people working at all hours of the day and night.

Re:Amazon & Google (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37696024)

I interviewed at Amazon once, what he says is true about the offices, they didn't look very clean and impressive. That's a bad impression right there.

Well, duh. I've worked for a bunch of tech companies, and when they decided that spending a ton of money on a fancy office was better than spending the money on hardware and employees, that was always a pretty good sign that it was going downhill.

No kidding (5, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | about 3 years ago | (#37696414)

I interviewed at Amazon once, what he says is true about the offices, they didn't look very clean and impressive. That's a bad impression right there.

Well, duh. I've worked for a bunch of tech companies, and when they decided that spending a ton of money on a fancy office was better than spending the money on hardware and employees, that was always a pretty good sign that it was going downhill.

The writer goes to great lengths to discuss how Amazon does almost nothing right. He went on to state that Amazon's interface sucks (because of Bezos, natch), and how awful it was that the Apple human interface guy that was brought in was ignored.

Looking at the money Amazon is bringing in, looking at the way Amazon absolutely dominates their field... I don't think Jeff Bezos gives a rat's tail what one of his ex-coders thinks. Plus, Google's storybook offices are indeed the exception and not the rule. He paints this picture of Amazon's offices like they're something out of a Charles Dickens novel, and then goes on to savage Amazon and Bezos for not giving to charities (wonder what he thought of Apple?) and "political" matters (What political matters, Google guy? Did he not support your favored candidate or something?).

Methinks this fella has an axe to grind. He might have some points, but the Amazon rants come off as bitter, and frankly, just how bad are they doing things if they're that successful? Bezos may indeed be a tyrant, but... so what? So was Jobs and Larry Ellison and Ted Turner and most other driven business visionaries. Again, Google is the exception, not the rule here. And yet, for as great as he says they are, he sure seems to be unhappy about how they do things in the end.

Re:Amazon & Google (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 3 years ago | (#37696548)

Well, duh. I've worked for a bunch of tech companies, and when they decided that spending a ton of money on a fancy office was better than spending the money on hardware and employees, that was always a pretty good sign that it was going downhill.

Solyndra -- there, I've just shortened your post to one word for you.

Re:Amazon & Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696224)

"what he says is true about the offices, they didn't look very clean and impressive"

You been to the Googleplex?
It looks like a dorm room, with manners to match.

Re:Amazon & Google (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37696510)

Are you claiming the Amazon offices are worse than Googles? That's just sad. Google's offices are like 30 years old, dingy and ugly. The space is so crammed with people they're adapting the space in weird (and uncomfortable looking) ways too. I've never seen Amazon's, but it's hard to imagine any major tech company being in a worse situation than Google (and I understand how Google got there through too-fast growth, but that's just making excuses.)

And back on topic: my interviews at Google convinced me that this rant is right on. The sense of technical direction is utterly missing, no one knows how their efforts will contribute to Google's success, and it feels like no one knows how to get the attention of those above to try to inspire any change. (Whereas at my current job, I email the CEO about six times a year, and I get a considered reply every time).

Its != it's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37695794)

WHAT ARE GRAMMARS??!

Re:Its != it's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37695976)

Nazi Socialist Grammar Commies must DIE!

OOPS - Typo (-1, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | about 3 years ago | (#37695802)

"Google is failing to make platforms of it's [sic] products"

"its" is a contraction of "it is". The possessive for "him" is "his", possessive for "her" is "hers", possessive for "it" is "its"; no apostrophe.

"John shined his car, then he filled its tank."

You're welcome.

Re:OOPS - Typo (2)

DanTheStone (1212500) | about 3 years ago | (#37695910)

Quit making fun of quantumplacet, this is hi's or hers first story.

Re:OOPS - Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37695918)

"its" is a contraction of "it is".

See that? That's why you never go full grammar nazi. The grammar gremlins* will sneak up on you while you're busy Hitler saluting.

*I just realized what a horrible metaphor "grammar nazi" is. To be logical, I should have said... well, I'm not saying it, but Mel would.

Re:OOPS - Typo (0)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 3 years ago | (#37695934)

"its" is a contraction of "it is".

Actually "it's" is the contraction for "it is". If you're going to be a grammar Nazi, your own grammar must be impeccable.

(Note how I used "you're" and "your" properly.)

Re:OOPS - Typo (2, Funny)

Caratted (806506) | about 3 years ago | (#37696034)

Period inside the quote. "Grammar" capitalized, as it is a part of your proper noun. "Own" is arguably redundant, since you start with "your."

You're welcome.

Re:OOPS - Typo (2)

leenks (906881) | about 3 years ago | (#37696134)

"Grammar" capitalized, as it is a part of your proper noun.

Full sentences please.

Re:OOPS - Typo (1)

leenks (906881) | about 3 years ago | (#37696142)

"Own" is arguably redundant, since you start with "your."

That comma is arguably redundant.

Re:OOPS - Typo (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 3 years ago | (#37696154)

Period inside the quote.

Not in proper English, no. In American English, perhaps, but that's almost an oxymoron at this point. :p

Re:OOPS - Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696228)

Someone else already answered regarding the quote. "Grammar Nazi" isn't a proper noun, as it isn't referring to a specific person or thing. The point about "own" is at best an issue of style, not grammar.

Re:OOPS - Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696300)

"Period inside the quote" is only correct in American English, and is wrong everywhere else in the world.

Re:OOPS - Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696456)

It's wrong everywhere. Just because stupid American editors like it doesn't mean they're not wrong.

-- a yankee who places punctuation logically

Re:OOPS - Typo (1)

Lazareth (1756336) | about 3 years ago | (#37696054)

I love the smell of irony in a grammar Nazis post.

Re:OOPS - Typo (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 3 years ago | (#37696420)

I don't have to say anything about this post. All I have to do is lean back and grin.

May I suggest +1, Seditious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37695870)

iGoogle for the eventual Apple acquisition of the hegemonic Google. Imagine a hedgemon consuming a hedgemon.

Cheers.

Yours In Marxism,
K. Trout,

Rants == Insightful (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 3 years ago | (#37695878)

Insightful is not the first word I think of when it comes to rants. If it's insightful, is it really a rant?

Re:Rants == Insightful (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 3 years ago | (#37695902)

And how smart is this guy if he shares a private post with the entire world by accident? Does he think that he's a congressman?

Re:Rants == Insightful (2)

jazman_777 (44742) | about 3 years ago | (#37695968)

Maybe he feels most alive when he's afraid of being fired. He did work at Amazon all those years...

Re:Rants == Insightful (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37696018)

And how smart is this guy if he shares a private post with the entire world by accident? Does he think that he's a congressman?

Pretty smart if his purpose was to slap at the UI that makes it possible.

There is a growing bipolarity on G+ of people who think the "public" option should be eradicated and those who think that circles as a sharing option should be eradicated. Both groups think the other group is insane and literally can't empathize with their mindset. Kind of like the deletionists vs the non-a-holes on wikipedia (sorry for it being honest/slanted but I forgot the name of the non-deletionist party at this instant)

Re:Rants == Insightful (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37696436)

Creationists? ;)

Re:Rants == Insightful (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 3 years ago | (#37696096)

And how smart is this guy if he shares a private post with the entire world by accident?

I suspect that this was as much an "accident" as many "unauthorized" leaks by people in government are really unauthorized. There are many times when it is in someone's interest both to have something be in the public eye and for there to be at least a show of it not being intended to be in the public eye.

Certainly, the fact that this has been public focusses external attention on what Google does in the area where Yegge overtly intended to create internal pressure on Google to make changes.

Re:Rants == Insightful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696236)

And how smart is this guy if he shares a private post with the entire world by accident?

Maybe it wasn't an accident. Look at the play he's getting.

This rant just proves that how important (0)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#37695880)

3rd party developer have become.

Re:This rant just proves that how important (2)

leptons (891340) | about 3 years ago | (#37696194)

Too bad Facebook doesn't realize that 3rd party developers are important, because their API is probably the worst thing I've ever seen in computing. If Google could deliver a consistent and unchanging API (unlike facebook), they would have a winner.. but Steve was right, google just doesn't see the light where APIs are concerned. I've used a few google APIs, for google earth and google maps, and their documentation is piss poor compared to MSDN. Not just that, but there are many things that are ridiculously convoluted to attempt in those APIs. They don't even include mercator-to-cartesian in their API, which is a HUGE miss in that arena. It's a pitiful attempt at an API really. Wake up Google! You aren't too big to fail!

Funniest bit was on Sony (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 3 years ago | (#37695960)

But I'll argue that Accessibility is actually more important than Security because dialing Accessibility to zero means you have no product at all, whereas dialing Security to zero can still get you a reasonably successful product such as the Playstation Network.

Also the most insightful section...

Re:Funniest bit was on Sony (1)

HandleMyBidness (848635) | about 3 years ago | (#37696060)

I was just going to post this, not just for the dig but also because you're right - easily the most insightful line.

Re:Funniest bit was on Sony (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 3 years ago | (#37696102)

Yeah, that's seriously one of the greatest lines of the year.

Hey slashdot admins, can you put that in the quotes file here? It's certainly deserving.

Re:Funniest bit was on Sony (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 3 years ago | (#37696232)

I like it. That's the same insight Microsoft had with Windows. Make sure it's accessible to the masses, as easy to use as possible, even if security suffers.

Because dialing easy to use to zero means you have no Windows to sell, but dialing security to zero you can still sell an OS...

Re:Funniest bit was on Sony (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 3 years ago | (#37696238)

We call the corporate security group at my work the "Department of No You Can't" for a reason, and it's not because they're responsive to minor details like actually getting work done or serving customers.

This is definitely a very insightful line.

Spinal Tap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696354)

Our Accessibility goes to eleven.

Re:Funniest bit was on Sony (1)

The Joe Kewl (532609) | about 3 years ago | (#37696412)

1000000% Agree with the post topic...
I couldn't stop laughing when I read that line!

Re:Funniest bit was on Sony (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696514)

It's just a false dichotomy [wikipedia.org] . While cute, it tells you nothing of use, since we all know dialing either to zero is wrong.

Google Apps Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37695962)

Google+ is still unavailable for their Google Apps Users...

Pay attention to Update #2 (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 3 years ago | (#37695970)

From the original post:

***UPDATE #2***

This post has received a lot of attention. For anyone here who arrived from The Greater Internet - I stand ready to remove this post if asked. As I mentioned before, I was given permission to keep it up.

Google's openness to allow us to keep this message posted on its own social network is, in my opinion, a far greater asset than any SaS platform. In the end, a company's greatest asset is its culture, and here, Google is one of the strongest companies on the planet.

-----

May I strongly suggest making your own copy of this now before it does disappear.

Holy blinders Batman!! (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 3 years ago | (#37696064)

Google's openness to allow us to keep this message posted on its own social network is, in my opinion, a far greater asset than any SaS platform

Doesn't this very dismissal of S&S as less than the simple ability to allow a slightly embarrassing post to remain provide a head-slapping moment?

I mean, either platforms are a top priority or they are not... this attitude of "look how awesome we are because we can publish material which reveals some internal dispute" strikes me as either being irrelevant or missing the point. Culture alone is NOT ENOUGH. Lots of places have great culture and then fail eventually (not that Google is in danger of failing anytime soon mind you!).

Re:Pay attention to Update #2 (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 3 years ago | (#37696156)

Google's openness to allow us to keep this message posted on its own social network is, in my opinion, a far greater asset than any SaS platform.

I suspect this post was "accidentally" leaked in the same sense that Apple's iPhone 4 prototype was "accidentally" lost in a bar.

Corporate messaging challenge: How do you acknowledge that your new product doesn't meet expectations, and that you're aware of the problems and serious about addressing them, while at no time admitting any error on the part of the corporate entity?

Re:Pay attention to Update #2 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696410)

How do you acknowledge that your new product doesn't meet expectations, and that you're aware of the problems and serious about addressing them, while at no time admitting any error on the part of the corporate entity?

Getting Steve Yegge to post a boorish, sycophantic essay on an "identity service" can't be the answer. Google+ is a user hostile piece of shit, Chrome is a user-hostile piece of shit and GMail is a user hostile piece of shit. Google Apps for business is putting small providers out of business, piggybacking on global advertising infrastructure to do it -- somebody call dear old aunty trust!

Great search engine, but Google is making people increasingly uneasy. And where exactly did Eric Shits acquire his views on privacy?

There's A Lesson Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37695988)

As long as you keep your eyes on the prize, "world domination," you can do or be any kind of tyrannical bully you want.

Full text in case the link gets taken down (5, Informative)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 3 years ago | (#37695990)

Stevey's Google Platforms Rant

I was at Amazon for about six and a half years, and now I've been at Google for that long. One thing that struck me immediately about the two companies -- an impression that has been reinforced almost daily -- is that Amazon does everything wrong, and Google does everything right. Sure, it's a sweeping generalization, but a surprisingly accurate one. It's pretty crazy. There are probably a hundred or even two hundred different ways you can compare the two companies, and Google is superior in all but three of them, if I recall correctly. I actually did a spreadsheet at one point but Legal wouldn't let me show it to anyone, even though recruiting loved it.

I mean, just to give you a very brief taste: Amazon's recruiting process is fundamentally flawed by having teams hire for themselves, so their hiring bar is incredibly inconsistent across teams, despite various efforts they've made to level it out. And their operations are a mess; they don't really have SREs and they make engineers pretty much do everything, which leaves almost no time for coding - though again this varies by group, so it's luck of the draw. They don't give a single shit about charity or helping the needy or community contributions or anything like that. Never comes up there, except maybe to laugh about it. Their facilities are dirt-smeared cube farms without a dime spent on decor or common meeting areas. Their pay and benefits suck, although much less so lately due to local competition from Google and Facebook. But they don't have any of our perks or extras -- they just try to match the offer-letter numbers, and that's the end of it. Their code base is a disaster, with no engineering standards whatsoever except what individual teams choose to put in place.

To be fair, they do have a nice versioned-library system that we really ought to emulate, and a nice publish-subscribe system that we also have no equivalent for. But for the most part they just have a bunch of crappy tools that read and write state machine information into relational databases. We wouldn't take most of it even if it were free.

I think the pubsub system and their library-shelf system were two out of the grand total of three things Amazon does better than google.

I guess you could make an argument that their bias for launching early and iterating like mad is also something they do well, but you can argue it either way. They prioritize launching early over everything else, including retention and engineering discipline and a bunch of other stuff that turns out to matter in the long run. So even though it's given them some competitive advantages in the marketplace, it's created enough other problems to make it something less than a slam-dunk.

But there's one thing they do really really well that pretty much makes up for ALL of their political, philosophical and technical screw-ups.

Jeff Bezos is an infamous micro-manager. He micro-manages every single pixel of Amazon's retail site. He hired Larry Tesler, Apple's Chief Scientist and probably the very most famous and respected human-computer interaction expert in the entire world, and then ignored every goddamn thing Larry said for three years until Larry finally -- wisely -- left the company. Larry would do these big usability studies and demonstrate beyond any shred of doubt that nobody can understand that frigging website, but Bezos just couldn't let go of those pixels, all those millions of semantics-packed pixels on the landing page. They were like millions of his own precious children. So they're all still there, and Larry is not.

Micro-managing isn't that third thing that Amazon does better than us, by the way. I mean, yeah, they micro-manage really well, but I wouldn't list it as a strength or anything. I'm just trying to set the context here, to help you understand what happened. We're talking about a guy who in all seriousness has said on many public occasions that people should be paying him to work at Amazon. He hands out little yellow stickies with his name on them, reminding people "who runs the company" when they disagree with him. The guy is a regular... well, Steve Jobs, I guess. Except without the fashion or design sense. Bezos is super smart; don't get me wrong. He just makes ordinary control freaks look like stoned hippies.

So one day Jeff Bezos issued a mandate. He's doing that all the time, of course, and people scramble like ants being pounded with a rubber mallet whenever it happens. But on one occasion -- back around 2002 I think, plus or minus a year -- he issued a mandate that was so out there, so huge and eye-bulgingly ponderous, that it made all of his other mandates look like unsolicited peer bonuses.

His Big Mandate went something along these lines:

1) All teams will henceforth expose their data and functionality through service interfaces.

2) Teams must communicate with each other through these interfaces.

3) There will be no other form of interprocess communication allowed: no direct linking, no direct reads of another team's data store, no shared-memory model, no back-doors whatsoever. The only communication allowed is via service interface calls over the network.

4) It doesn't matter what technology they use. HTTP, Corba, Pubsub, custom protocols -- doesn't matter. Bezos doesn't care.

5) All service interfaces, without exception, must be designed from the ground up to be externalizable. That is to say, the team must plan and design to be able to expose the interface to developers in the outside world. No exceptions.

6) Anyone who doesn't do this will be fired.

7) Thank you; have a nice day!

Ha, ha! You 150-odd ex-Amazon folks here will of course realize immediately that #7 was a little joke I threw in, because Bezos most definitely does not give a shit about your day.

#6, however, was quite real, so people went to work. Bezos assigned a couple of Chief Bulldogs to oversee the effort and ensure forward progress, headed up by Uber-Chief Bear Bulldog Rick Dalzell. Rick is an ex-Armgy Ranger, West Point Academy graduate, ex-boxer, ex-Chief Torturer slash CIO at Wal*Mart, and is a big genial scary man who used the word "hardened interface" a lot. Rick was a walking, talking hardened interface himself, so needless to say, everyone made LOTS of forward progress and made sure Rick knew about it.

Over the next couple of years, Amazon transformed internally into a service-oriented architecture. They learned a tremendous amount while effecting this transformation. There was lots of existing documentation and lore about SOAs, but at Amazon's vast scale it was about as useful as telling Indiana Jones to look both ways before crossing the street. Amazon's dev staff made a lot of discoveries along the way. A teeny tiny sampling of these discoveries included:

- pager escalation gets way harder, because a ticket might bounce through 20 service calls before the real owner is identified. If each bounce goes through a team with a 15-minute response time, it can be hours before the right team finally finds out, unless you build a lot of scaffolding and metrics and reporting.

- every single one of your peer teams suddenly becomes a potential DOS attacker. Nobody can make any real forward progress until very serious quotas and throttling are put in place in every single service.

- monitoring and QA are the same thing. You'd never think so until you try doing a big SOA. But when your service says "oh yes, I'm fine", it may well be the case that the only thing still functioning in the server is the little component that knows how to say "I'm fine, roger roger, over and out" in a cheery droid voice. In order to tell whether the service is actually responding, you have to make individual calls. The problem continues recursively until your monitoring is doing comprehensive semantics checking of your entire range of services and data, at which point it's indistinguishable from automated QA. So they're a continuum.

- if you have hundreds of services, and your code MUST communicate with other groups' code via these services, then you won't be able to find any of them without a service-discovery mechanism. And you can't have that without a service registration mechanism, which itself is another service. So Amazon has a universal service registry where you can find out reflectively (programmatically) about every service, what its APIs are, and also whether it is currently up, and where.

- debugging problems with someone else's code gets a LOT harder, and is basically impossible unless there is a universal standard way to run every service in a debuggable sandbox.

That's just a very small sample. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of individual learnings like these that Amazon had to discover organically. There were a lot of wacky ones around externalizing services, but not as many as you might think. Organizing into services taught teams not to trust each other in most of the same ways they're not supposed to trust external developers.

This effort was still underway when I left to join Google in mid-2005, but it was pretty far advanced. From the time Bezos issued his edict through the time I left, Amazon had transformed culturally into a company that thinks about everything in a services-first fashion. It is now fundamental to how they approach all designs, including internal designs for stuff that might never see the light of day externally.

At this point they don't even do it out of fear of being fired. I mean, they're still afraid of that; it's pretty much part of daily life there, working for the Dread Pirate Bezos and all. But they do services because they've come to understand that it's the Right Thing. There are without question pros and cons to the SOA approach, and some of the cons are pretty long. But overall it's the right thing because SOA-driven design enables Platforms.

That's what Bezos was up to with his edict, of course. He didn't (and doesn't) care even a tiny bit about the well-being of the teams, nor about what technologies they use, nor in fact any detail whatsoever about how they go about their business unless they happen to be screwing up. But Bezos realized long before the vast majority of Amazonians that Amazon needs to be a platform.

You wouldn't really think that an online bookstore needs to be an extensible, programmable platform. Would you?

Well, the first big thing Bezos realized is that the infrastructure they'd built for selling and shipping books and sundry could be transformed an excellent repurposable computing platform. So now they have the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, and the Amazon Elastic MapReduce, and the Amazon Relational Database Service, and a whole passel' o' other services browsable at aws.amazon.com. These services host the backends for some pretty successful companies, reddit being my personal favorite of the bunch.

The other big realization he had was that he can't always build the right thing. I think Larry Tesler might have struck some kind of chord in Bezos when he said his mom couldn't use the goddamn website. It's not even super clear whose mom he was talking about, and doesn't really matter, because nobody's mom can use the goddamn website. In fact I myself find the website disturbingly daunting, and I worked there for over half a decade. I've just learned to kinda defocus my eyes and concentrate on the million or so pixels near the center of the page above the fold.

I'm not really sure how Bezos came to this realization -- the insight that he can't build one product and have it be right for everyone. But it doesn't matter, because he gets it. There's actually a formal name for this phenomenon. It's called Accessibility, and it's the most important thing in the computing world.

The. Most. Important. Thing.

If you're sorta thinking, "huh? You mean like, blind and deaf people Accessibility?" then you're not alone, because I've come to understand that there are lots and LOTS of people just like you: people for whom this idea does not have the right Accessibility, so it hasn't been able to get through to you yet. It's not your fault for not understanding, any more than it would be your fault for being blind or deaf or motion-restricted or living with any other disability. When software -- or idea-ware for that matter -- fails to be accessible to anyone for any reason, it is the fault of the software or of the messaging of the idea. It is an Accessibility failure.

Like anything else big and important in life, Accessibility has an evil twin who, jilted by the unbalanced affection displayed by their parents in their youth, has grown into an equally powerful Arch-Nemesis (yes, there's more than one nemesis to accessibility) named Security. And boy howdy are the two ever at odds.

But I'll argue that Accessibility is actually more important than Security because dialing Accessibility to zero means you have no product at all, whereas dialing Security to zero can still get you a reasonably successful product such as the Playstation Network.

So yeah. In case you hadn't noticed, I could actually write a book on this topic. A fat one, filled with amusing anecdotes about ants and rubber mallets at companies I've worked at. But I will never get this little rant published, and you'll never get it read, unless I start to wrap up.

That one last thing that Google doesn't do well is Platforms. We don't understand platforms. We don't "get" platforms. Some of you do, but you are the minority. This has become painfully clear to me over the past six years. I was kind of hoping that competitive pressure from Microsoft and Amazon and more recently Facebook would make us wake up collectively and start doing universal services. Not in some sort of ad-hoc, half-assed way, but in more or less the same way Amazon did it: all at once, for real, no cheating, and treating it as our top priority from now on.

But no. No, it's like our tenth or eleventh priority. Or fifteenth, I don't know. It's pretty low. There are a few teams who treat the idea very seriously, but most teams either don't think about it all, ever, or only a small percentage of them think about it in a very small way.

It's a big stretch even to get most teams to offer a stubby service to get programmatic access to their data and computations. Most of them think they're building products. And a stubby service is a pretty pathetic service. Go back and look at that partial list of learnings from Amazon, and tell me which ones Stubby gives you out of the box. As far as I'm concerned, it's none of them. Stubby's great, but it's like parts when you need a car.

A product is useless without a platform, or more precisely and accurately, a platform-less product will always be replaced by an equivalent platform-ized product.

Google+ is a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms from the very highest levels of executive leadership (hi Larry, Sergey, Eric, Vic, howdy howdy) down to the very lowest leaf workers (hey yo). We all don't get it. The Golden Rule of platforms is that you Eat Your Own Dogfood. The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought. We had no API at all at launch, and last I checked, we had one measly API call. One of the team members marched in and told me about it when they launched, and I asked: "So is it the Stalker API?" She got all glum and said "Yeah." I mean, I was joking, but no... the only API call we offer is to get someone's stream. So I guess the joke was on me.

Microsoft has known about the Dogfood rule for at least twenty years. It's been part of their culture for a whole generation now. You don't eat People Food and give your developers Dog Food. Doing that is simply robbing your long-term platform value for short-term successes. Platforms are all about long-term thinking.

Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product. But that's not why they are successful. Facebook is successful because they built an entire constellation of products by allowing other people to do the work. So Facebook is different for everyone. Some people spend all their time on Mafia Wars. Some spend all their time on Farmville. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of different high-quality time sinks available, so there's something there for everyone.

Our Google+ team took a look at the aftermarket and said: "Gosh, it looks like we need some games. Let's go contract someone to, um, write some games for us." Do you begin to see how incredibly wrong that thinking is now? The problem is that we are trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them.

You can't do that. Not really. Not reliably. There have been precious few people in the world, over the entire history of computing, who have been able to do it reliably. Steve Jobs was one of them. We don't have a Steve Jobs here. I'm sorry, but we don't.

Larry Tesler may have convinced Bezos that he was no Steve Jobs, but Bezos realized that he didn't need to be a Steve Jobs in order to provide everyone with the right products: interfaces and workflows that they liked and felt at ease with. He just needed to enable third-party developers to do it, and it would happen automatically.

I apologize to those (many) of you for whom all this stuff I'm saying is incredibly obvious, because yeah. It's incredibly frigging obvious. Except we're not doing it. We don't get Platforms, and we don't get Accessibility. The two are basically the same thing, because platforms solve accessibility. A platform is accessibility.

So yeah, Microsoft gets it. And you know as well as I do how surprising that is, because they don't "get" much of anything, really. But they understand platforms as a purely accidental outgrowth of having started life in the business of providing platforms. So they have thirty-plus years of learning in this space. And if you go to msdn.com, and spend some time browsing, and you've never seen it before, prepare to be amazed. Because it's staggeringly huge. They have thousands, and thousands, and THOUSANDS of API calls. They have a HUGE platform. Too big in fact, because they can't design for squat, but at least they're doing it.

Amazon gets it. Amazon's AWS (aws.amazon.com) is incredible. Just go look at it. Click around. It's embarrassing. We don't have any of that stuff.

Apple gets it, obviously. They've made some fundamentally non-open choices, particularly around their mobile platform. But they understand accessibility and they understand the power of third-party development and they eat their dogfood. And you know what? They make pretty good dogfood. Their APIs are a hell of a lot cleaner than Microsoft's, and have been since time immemorial.

Facebook gets it. That's what really worries me. That's what got me off my lazy butt to write this thing. I hate blogging. I hate... plussing, or whatever it's called when you do a massive rant in Google+ even though it's a terrible venue for it but you do it anyway because in the end you really do want Google to be successful. And I do! I mean, Facebook wants me there, and it'd be pretty easy to just go. But Google is home, so I'm insisting that we have this little family intervention, uncomfortable as it might be.

After you've marveled at the platform offerings of Microsoft and Amazon, and Facebook I guess (I didn't look because I didn't want to get too depressed), head over to developers.google.com and browse a little. Pretty big difference, eh? It's like what your fifth-grade nephew might mock up if he were doing an assignment to demonstrate what a big powerful platform company might be building if all they had, resource-wise, was one fifth grader.

Please don't get me wrong here -- I know for a fact that the dev-rel team has had to FIGHT to get even this much available externally. They're kicking ass as far as I'm concerned, because they DO get platforms, and they are struggling heroically to try to create one in an environment that is at best platform-apathetic, and at worst often openly hostile to the idea.

I'm just frankly describing what developers.google.com looks like to an outsider. It looks childish. Where's the Maps APIs in there for Christ's sake? Some of the things in there are labs projects. And the APIs for everything I clicked were... they were paltry. They were obviously dog food. Not even good organic stuff. Compared to our internal APIs it's all snouts and horse hooves.

And also don't get me wrong about Google+. They're far from the only offenders. This is a cultural thing. What we have going on internally is basically a war, with the underdog minority Platformers fighting a more or less losing battle against the Mighty Funded Confident Producters.

Any teams that have successfully internalized the notion that they should be externally programmable platforms from the ground up are underdogs -- Maps and Docs come to mind, and I know GMail is making overtures in that direction. But it's hard for them to get funding for it because it's not part of our culture. Maestro's funding is a feeble thing compared to the gargantuan Microsoft Office programming platform: it's a fluffy rabbit versus a T-Rex. The Docs team knows they'll never be competitive with Office until they can match its scripting facilities, but they're not getting any resource love. I mean, I assume they're not, given that Apps Script only works in Spreadsheet right now, and it doesn't even have keyboard shortcuts as part of its API. That team looks pretty unloved to me.

Ironically enough, Wave was a great platform, may they rest in peace. But making something a platform is not going to make you an instant success. A platform needs a killer app. Facebook -- that is, the stock service they offer with walls and friends and such -- is the killer app for the Facebook Platform. And it is a very serious mistake to conclude that the Facebook App could have been anywhere near as successful without the Facebook Platform.

You know how people are always saying Google is arrogant? I'm a Googler, so I get as irritated as you do when people say that. We're not arrogant, by and large. We're, like, 99% Arrogance-Free. I did start this post -- if you'll reach back into distant memory -- by describing Google as "doing everything right". We do mean well, and for the most part when people say we're arrogant it's because we didn't hire them, or they're unhappy with our policies, or something along those lines. They're inferring arrogance because it makes them feel better.

But when we take the stance that we know how to design the perfect product for everyone, and believe you me, I hear that a lot, then we're being fools. You can attribute it to arrogance, or naivete, or whatever -- it doesn't matter in the end, because it's foolishness. There IS no perfect product for everyone.

And so we wind up with a browser that doesn't let you set the default font size. Talk about an affront to Accessibility. I mean, as I get older I'm actually going blind. For real. I've been nearsighted all my life, and once you hit 40 years old you stop being able to see things up close. So font selection becomes this life-or-death thing: it can lock you out of the product completely. But the Chrome team is flat-out arrogant here: they want to build a zero-configuration product, and they're quite brazen about it, and Fuck You if you're blind or deaf or whatever. Hit Ctrl-+ on every single page visit for the rest of your life.

It's not just them. It's everyone. The problem is that we're a Product Company through and through. We built a successful product with broad appeal -- our search, that is -- and that wild success has biased us.

Amazon was a product company too, so it took an out-of-band force to make Bezos understand the need for a platform. That force was their evaporating margins; he was cornered and had to think of a way out. But all he had was a bunch of engineers and all these computers... if only they could be monetized somehow... you can see how he arrived at AWS, in hindsight.

Microsoft started out as a platform, so they've just had lots of practice at it.

Facebook, though: they worry me. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure they started off as a Product and they rode that success pretty far. So I'm not sure exactly how they made the transition to a platform. It was a relatively long time ago, since they had to be a platform before (now very old) things like Mafia Wars could come along.

Maybe they just looked at us and asked: "How can we beat Google? What are they missing?"

The problem we face is pretty huge, because it will take a dramatic cultural change in order for us to start catching up. We don't do internal service-oriented platforms, and we just as equally don't do external ones. This means that the "not getting it" is endemic across the company: the PMs don't get it, the engineers don't get it, the product teams don't get it, nobody gets it. Even if individuals do, even if YOU do, it doesn't matter one bit unless we're treating it as an all-hands-on-deck emergency. We can't keep launching products and pretending we'll turn them into magical beautiful extensible platforms later. We've tried that and it's not working.

The Golden Rule of Platforms, "Eat Your Own Dogfood", can be rephrased as "Start with a Platform, and Then Use it for Everything." You can't just bolt it on later. Certainly not easily at any rate -- ask anyone who worked on platformizing MS Office. Or anyone who worked on platformizing Amazon. If you delay it, it'll be ten times as much work as just doing it correctly up front. You can't cheat. You can't have secret back doors for internal apps to get special priority access, not for ANY reason. You need to solve the hard problems up front.

I'm not saying it's too late for us, but the longer we wait, the closer we get to being Too Late.

I honestly don't know how to wrap this up. I've said pretty much everything I came here to say today. This post has been six years in the making. I'm sorry if I wasn't gentle enough, or if I misrepresented some product or team or person, or if we're actually doing LOTS of platform stuff and it just so happens that I and everyone I ever talk to has just never heard about it. I'm sorry.

But we've gotta start doing this right.

Re:Full text in case the link gets taken down (-1)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37696130)

Jeff Bezos is an infamous micro-manager. He micro-manages every single pixel of Amazon's retail site.

Whut?

Amazon's retail site is a mess. It looks like it was created by checking "Do you want to use the default presentation?" on a retail-boxed online-store app.

So either Bezos isn't quite as involved as this dude thinks, or Bezos is incredibly lax in his personal standards for information, organization, and aesthetics.

Re:Full text in case the link gets taken down (1)

1729 (581437) | about 3 years ago | (#37696164)

Jeff Bezos is an infamous micro-manager. He micro-manages every single pixel of Amazon's retail site.

Whut?

Amazon's retail site is a mess. It looks like it was created by checking "Do you want to use the default presentation?" on a retail-boxed online-store app.

So either Bezos isn't quite as involved as this dude thinks, or Bezos is incredibly lax in his personal standards for information, organization, and aesthetics.

That's exactly what Steve Yegge was saying. Read the rest of the paragraph:

Larry would do these big usability studies and demonstrate beyond any shred of doubt that nobody can understand that frigging website, but Bezos just couldn't let go of those pixels, all those millions of semantics-packed pixels on the landing page.

Re:Full text in case the link gets taken down (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 3 years ago | (#37696394)

I have to wonder why Bezos is so in love with Amazon's site. It works, I'll give him that... but what the hell?

Re:Full text in case the link gets taken down (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about 3 years ago | (#37696500)

Go and see a family with a handicapped son or daughter. To you, the kid looks like a mess. To them, it's the most beautiful kid in the world. "Every parent thinks his owl a falcon". And from my own experience, that's almost literally true.

Re:Full text in case the link gets taken down (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696200)

The default presentation for more retail boxed online store apps is a bad copy of some previous version of Amazon's site.

Re:Full text in case the link gets taken down (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | about 3 years ago | (#37696216)

either all the people who work at amazon saying that bezos is a micromanager are right and thats the way bezos wants it, or you're right because you read this on the internet.

not sure who to believe.

Re:Full text in case the link gets taken down (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 3 years ago | (#37696220)

Keep reading, your question is already explained in the text.

Re:Full text in case the link gets taken down (1)

stevesliva (648202) | about 3 years ago | (#37696530)

Jeff Bezos is an infamous micro-manager. He micro-manages every single pixel of Amazon's retail site.

Whut?

Amazon's retail site is a mess. It looks like it was created by checking "Do you want to use the default presentation?" on a retail-boxed online-store app.

So either Bezos isn't quite as involved as this dude thinks, or Bezos is incredibly lax in his personal standards for information, organization, and aesthetics.

R. T. F. A.

Re:Full text in case the link gets taken down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696248)

Also, someone put up a mirror at http://steverant.pen.io/ [steverant.pen.io] .

Re:Full text in case the link gets taken down (1)

lennier (44736) | about 3 years ago | (#37696438)

This is awesome, and I agree with it almost wholeheartedly.

The #1 trend which bugs me in computing right now is what appears to me to be an across-the-board drift away from Platforms to Products - led by Apple, or at least by all the companies now desperately trying to be Apple.

Even Microsoft don't get this entirely. They have so many different subplatforms with such a rapid churn rate that it becomes exhausting trying to predict which one will become the real platform. PowerShell is a bright spark in an otherwise depressing OS - I really, really hope it becomes the backbone of all future MS products, because it's the first time I've seen anything nearly like a true user-accessible platform-wide API for a Microsoft OS since DOS.

But the point that you can't make a product that fits everyone, and yet companies seem to be trying to do the impossible - yes. So very yes.

As a user, give me a Product which is almost 100% a user-accessible Platform - give me the ability to customise my own workflow - and you'll create something so much better than 1984's Mac was better than the IBM PC. Preferably, don't try to lock this Platform down with patents or DRM or you'll set back computing by at least 20 years if not 50. But build it.

I just hope anyone's still listening, in the wave of Apple-clone No User-Serviceable Parts Inside Product fever which has swept the industry from Ubuntu to Chrome.

...But they don't have any of our perks or extras (4, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 3 years ago | (#37696004)

But they don't have any of our perks or extras

Hey, you work at Google. Nobody has your perks or extras, guy.

Re:...But they don't have any of our perks or extr (3, Funny)

werepants (1912634) | about 3 years ago | (#37696342)

But they don't have any of our perks or extras

Hey, you work at Google. Nobody has your perks or extras, guy.

I'm not your guy, buddy.

Re:...But they don't have any of our perks or extr (1)

socz (1057222) | about 3 years ago | (#37696526)

Hey pal, he's not your buddy!

Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696038)

Amazon are hiring big time, and they are hiring all the good developers that we want. Google is cool. If I rant on the intertubes about how bad Amazon are people will take note.

If page and brin are smart (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 3 years ago | (#37696148)

They will move this guy up. He has a clue. In addition, they would post that all over Google and make that a priority.

Favorite line(s) (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 3 years ago | (#37696172)

There's a lot of good stuff there, and I hope the Big Boys are listening because the guy really gets it. But I must say I loved this:

head over to developers.google.com and browse a little. Pretty big difference, eh? It's like what your fifth-grade nephew might mock up if he were doing an assignment to demonstrate what a big powerful platform company might be building if all they had, resource-wise, was one fifth grader.

Re:Favorite line(s) (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | about 3 years ago | (#37696218)

Yes, I believe it qualifies as One Epic Rant because it's well intentioned but completely honest. It's wonderful.

Re:Favorite line(s) (1)

gknoy (899301) | about 3 years ago | (#37696554)

It's especially interesting to me as a developer (not at Google). Looking at the huge amount of infrastructure that he says Amazon had to develop to do a SOA across the board, I am simultaneously in awe and completely daunted by the scale of the effort needed to do something like that. It sounds ... massive.

It's not about Plus specifically. (3, Informative)

yacoob (69558) | about 3 years ago | (#37696208)

It's about Google as a whole.

That was quite an interesting read... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696242)

All I had to do to read it without javascript was disable the page style... Lame!

Amazon sells products, not ads. (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 3 years ago | (#37696268)

Amazon can use a platform-based service because Amazon sells things for money. Allowing programs to find out about things Amazon has for sale is profitable, t Amazon's marketing info gets redistributed. Amazon's "cloud" is a pay service, and making pay services available makes money. So Amazon's platform is a win for Amazon.

Google, on the other hand, is entirely ad-based. (Yes, they get about 3%-7% of their revenue from actual products they sell. So what?) So they don't want their data repurposed, especially if repurposing deletes the ads.

Facebook is quite platform-oriented internally, with internal services making heavy use of interprocess communication. But little of that is exposed to the outside world. What is exposed is heavily restricted. Facebook games have to accept payment only in Facebook's private money, with a 30% take. [facebook.com]

Google used to be more platform oriented. There was a Google SOAP search interface [google.com] and a Google Web Search API. [google.com] Both have been discontinued. They didn't push ads.

Google's priority is to return search results in under 100ms. That requires tight integration. It's all about cache management, not platform APIs. Some data has to be pushed to clients, rather than pulled through APIs, or performance will suffer badly.

Given Google's business model, they don't seem to be doing their infrastructure wrong.

Re:Amazon sells products, not ads. (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37696462)

Google's priority is to return search results in under 100ms. That requires tight integration. It's all about cache management, not platform APIs. Some data has to be pushed to clients, rather than pulled through APIs, or performance will suffer badly.

I'd be happy to wait a second or more for results if it actually gave me what I asked for and not what it thinks I really wanted to ask for.

Google search really sucks these days for tech-related queries.

Re:Amazon sells products, not ads. (5, Insightful)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | about 3 years ago | (#37696568)

Google's priority is to return search results in under 100ms. That requires tight integration. It's all about cache management, not platform APIs. Some data has to be pushed to clients, rather than pulled through APIs, or performance will suffer badly.

The article isn't about search. He barely mentions it, and for good reason. Search is one of the few Google services that already is easy to access programmatically, even all you're doing is sending an HTTP GET that mocks the Google search page. But he's talking about Gmail, Docs, Google+, Maps... All those other products that you could do really neat things with if they had real APIs.

Words of wisdom.. (1)

polymeris (902231) | about 3 years ago | (#37696274)

But I'll argue that Accessibility is actually more important than Security because dialing Accessibility to zero means you have no product at all, whereas dialing Security to zero can still get you a reasonably successful product such as the Playstation Network.

Heh.

Please start by platforming youtube. (3, Interesting)

TheSunborn (68004) | about 3 years ago | (#37696322)

Dear Google, please start by making Youtube a platform.

If I want to embed a youtube video on a page optimized to mobile phones, I am fucked. There is for example no way to have youtube show a screenshot of the video, and when the user click it, have it play fullscreen.

But m.youtube.com does it, so it can be done, just as long as you don't want to do it on your own page. (So they have an internal api to do it, but there is no way for me to access it).

And just try to watch this thread: https://groups.google.com/forum/embed/?place=forum/youtube-api-gdata&showsearch=true&showpopout=true&parenturl=http%3A%2F%2Fcode.google.com%2Fapis%2Fyoutube%2Fforum%2Fdiscussion.html#!searchin/youtube-api-gdata/embed$20youtube/youtube-api-gdata/VSk5vQFULts/sddOXH4wXTAJ   and look at the response from the youtube team. The best answer is something like: "Use the following hack, which may work. And I can't say if it break the platform agreement, so it might even be allowed..

Lucky he's not at Apple. (1, Insightful)

uncqual (836337) | about 3 years ago | (#37696324)

If Steve Yegge were at Apple, he probably would have been walked out by security by now.

(Although, once they build the new Steve Job's Memorial Spacebase, I assume they will have some sort of traction beam to remove employees more efficiently at the push of a button - why wait for and pay for a security officer.)

Wyvern (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37696486)

The same Steve Yegge who developed Wyvern?
Love his rant, btw.

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