Google Engineer disses Google+

Google Engineer disses Google+

Summary: Steve Yegge, a Google engineer, stuck his foot in his mouth in what was meant to be a Google-insiders only rant about Google+, but behind the flames there were some valid points.

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Steve Yegge:

Steve Yegge: "Google+ is a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms."

Every organization has one: Someone who may be brilliant in some ways, but can really stick his foot in his mouth. Sometimes, as with Richard M. Stallman and the Free Software Foundation, it can be the head of the organization. With Google, the latest case of foot in mouth disease goes to Steve Yegge, a Google engineer who declared that "Google+ is a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms from the very highest levels of executive leadership."

Yegge published his rant on Google+ for all to see. Later, Yegge claimed that he was so new to Google+ that he didn't realize he had sent it to the world. Right there, is a red flag. He's declaring Google+ to be a complete failure but he doesn't even know how to use a Google+ circle? Clearly, he hasn't a clue about the very system he's declaring to be a failure.

That didn't stop him from declaring that "The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought" and that "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." He goes on and on like that for quite a while.

The morning after, Yegge wrote that he had "taken the post down at my own discretion. It was kind of a tough call, since obviously there will be copies."

You think?

Yegge also added that while internal PR told him that they wouldn't censor him, he felt that had to delete it from the public view anyway. He said it's because it was for internal use. He added, "It's obvious to everyone that you're posting your own opinion and not representing the company in any way, whereas external posts need lots of disclaimers so people don't misunderstand. And I can assure you, in case it was not obvious, that the whole post was my own opinions and not Google's. I mean, I was kind of taking them to task for not sharing my opinions. :)"

He also added, after the horse was out the barn door, that "The other reason I deleted it is that it's really a private conversation between me and my peers and co-workers at Google. I love working at Google, and I especially love the fact that I'm comfortable posting something as inflammatory as my post may have been. The company is super open internally, and as I said several times in my post, they really try hard to do everything right. That includes being open to strongly differing opinions, and that has certainly not been true at every company I've worked at."

That's certainly true. Yegge has a history of shooting his mouth off and annoying people. As Jurgen Appelo, a writer and software developer wrote in 2008, he would never hire Yegge because of his "tunnel vision, distorted sense of reality and false reasoning. I can't abide know-it-alls." In short, Yegge has a history of saying things that really annoy his programming peers.

That isn't to say Yegge didn't make some good points. As Ted T'so, a Google engineer and leading Linux kernel developer observed on Yegge's public Google+ thread (Oh the irony!), "The bits about the pro's and con's of SOA [Service-Oriented Architecture] (and what you have to do so you can use SOA sanely from an ops and development point of view) are definitely worth publishing in a cleaned up fashion. Definitely a well written rant, even if it was published in the wrong place. :-)"

T'so continued, "One observation that might be worth making publicly is that one of the reasons why Microsoft got so good about platforms can perhaps be traced to the US consent decree, which forbade Microsoft apps from using internal interfaces, thus forcing them to follow what you called the Gold Rule of Platforms of eating your own dog food. So I think it was more than just Microsoft selling platforms from the very beginning. They were forced by the US Government to be very strict about how they export their interfaces from the OS to their apps."

T'so concluded, "And one thing about platforms which is very hard to get right --- every API [application programming interface] you export is one that you have to support for a long, long, time, where "long, long" approaches "forever". If you have an internal source tree, and the API is only for use internally, it's possible to do a global code search followed by a global fix up if you discover that you didn't quite get the interface right. But once you release an API externally (and this is true for both the Linux kernel as well as a web API), it's Forever, or close enough to it. Not everyone is good at designing interfaces that can meet that standard; it takes practice and judgment and experience."

So, yes there was some good in Yegge's comments. He should take a lesson from T'so in how to put his arguments so that he doesn't throw the Google+ baby out with his programming bathwater concerns. After all many of us find Google+, SOA problems and all, pretty darn useful.

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Topics: Apps, Google, Social Enterprise

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26 comments
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  • Tunnel vision, distorted sense of reality and false reasoning

    "tunnel vision, distorted sense of reality and false reasoning."

    Sounds like the average Linux proponent that posts here. Why should this guy be any different?
    Cynical99
  • RE: Google Engineer disses Google+

    I mean, I was kind of taking them to task for not sharing my opinions. :) <a href="http://www.akinyapi.net/">banyo dekorasyon</a>
    tadilat
  • that dude is a M$ mole!

    sent there to disparage google.
    The Linux Geek
    • RE: Google Engineer disses Google+

      @The Linux Geek :D You are so funny !! :D
      1773
      • RE: Google Engineer disses Google+

        stupid + funny :D
        vivianvein
    • Living in the Land of Denial

      @The Linux Geek
      Yup, Linux Geek is in complete denial. You know, people might have opinions that differ from his!
      Cynical99
    • RE: Google Engineer disses Google+

      @The Linux Geek
      right. rofl
      joe73072
  • RE: Google Engineer disses Google+

    Anyone want to hire an unemployed Google Engineer?
    smashandgrab
    • RE: Google Engineer disses Google+

      @smashandgrab
      he was on M$ payroll anyway!
      The Linux Geek
      • something about tunnel vision

        @The Linux Geek
        Average tunnel vision. Nice jobe proving the point!
        Cynical99
    • RE: Google Engineer disses Google+

      @smashandgrab Actually I am impressed by this as Google has decided to encourage this open form of communication. Clearly they have problems with their own product and perhaps they wish to continue improving it.
      As far as I am concerned, both Google and Yegg did a great handling the PR on the matter.
      nucrash
  • RE: Google Engineer disses Google+

    LOL! SJVN's feelings got hurt by that rant. This Google engineer said what had to be said. I have to say its good that there is at least one Google employee who has a clue because based on Google as a company and its shoddy services the rest of them don't.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
  • It's much worse than that. Forget platforms, G+ shows that google doesnt

    get core search. G+ never had a chance to be a platform. The time for that was pre farmville. G+ not being a platform is their admission that they have stupidly ignored the obvious for years. FB is now absolutely crushing them in user minutes spent on site. And they have the social graph which makes their ad spots more valueable. And they're giving Bing access to that social graph. G+ was a desperate clutch for a straw and foreseeably it has failed. It is already a deserted wasteland where only the occasional fanboi can be found. But one has to understand how much bigger an EPIC FAIL this is for google than buzz or docs were/are. This is their future of core search going down the drain with it. This failure has the potential to take android, chrome, google maps/earth, app engine, and all their other moneys losers that depend on core search subsidies with it. This one will be exceptionally tough for them to admit.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Ranting Aside...

    There are a lot of things wrong with the implementation of Google+. Case in point, they demand that people use their real identity but they disallow Google Apps accounts from using the service. That IS my real identity and the only workaround is to create a false identity to use the system. How did this strike anyone as acceptable ever?
    cabdriverjim
  • Google+ is dead SJVN

    over 60% of accounts are now dormant. You know what that means? Yep, it dies like all of the other products that failed to generate ad revenue for Google. Yegge incorrectly glossed over the arrogance problem at Google, but in most other respects he was dead on.
    Your Non Advocate
  • RE: Google Engineer disses Google+

    Since it hurt your lover's feelings, you resorted to bashing the credibility of critics. Very professional from a decades old professional. I get the point.

    >>That???s certainly true. Yegge has a history of shooting his mouth off and annoying people. As Jurgen Appelo, a writer and software developer wrote in 2008, he would never hire Yegge because of his ???tunnel vision, distorted sense of reality and false reasoning. I can???t abide know-it-alls.??? In short, Yegge has a history of saying things that really annoy his programming peers.
    Ram U
    • Seems to be typical linux loon behavior

      @Rama.NET Blame someone else for your problems. (That someone else is usually MS...er, M$)
      otaddy
  • RE: Google Engineer disses Google+

    Big whoop.

    There a lot of disgruntled employees in all large corporations. I don't think this guys "leak" was just accidental. Google as a company is so out of control with data mining and eavesdropping they can't see straight.
    bitrate
  • Ha! Well! Please, let the world know how it all worked out....

    ...when you guys who " many of us find Google+, SOA problems and all, pretty darn useful", find out the results if Google finds itself in a Google+ judgment day scenario. Meaning; if Google just doesn't feel they are getting the kind of mileage out of Google+ they had hoped for at some point in the future how will they handle the fact that "many of us find Google+, SOA problems and all, pretty darn useful"?

    Will it be a case where they find some way to bite the bullet for the faithful and pour money into doing what they can to improve the weak spots?

    Or will they just rip it out at some point saying the whole thing needs a new approach? Faithful denied?

    It's like a friggin soap opera.

    Ha.
    Cayble
  • RE: Google Engineer disses Google+

    In any case, I agree with Yegge.
    Goggle+ is useless, nothing really new, why should I use it when I'm already comfortable with facebook?
    I agree that is a failure, people just created their profile just for curiosity, then just don't use it.
    Doesn't mean the number of registered users, when they don't come back. That number is just a reflection of the fact that facebook is so popular.
    Thumb down to Google+
    gbulfon