Google+ slammed by…Google engineer?

A Google engineer has publicly criticized the recently launched social networking platform on… Google+.

“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),” Steve Yegge wrote in a Google+ post that was inadvertently made public and later removed. 

“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.”

According to the obviously frustrated Yegge, Google+ is little more than a 
”knee-jerk reaction,” a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because the company 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,” he opined.

“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.”

Yegge also slammed Google’s flagship Chrome browser for its lack of accessibility options, which “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 f*ck you if you’re blind or deaf or whatever. Hit Ctrl-+ on every single page visit for the rest of your life.”

Yegge concluded his post by warning that Google faces a “huge problem,” as it will take a dramatic cultural change for Mountain View to catch up with other companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. 

“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 [just] not working,” he added.

The complete Steve Yegge post has been republished and can be read here.