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Google Engineer Calls Google+ a 'Complete Failure

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"The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought."

Did you sign up for Google+ because everyone else was doing it and because it was exclusive, invite-only at first? Do you do anything with it now? If no, then you're like many, even Google engineer Steve Yegge who doesn't really see the point, thinking of it maybe more as Google- (minus).

Last night on his blog -- Stevey's Blog Rants -- Yegge went on a full blown rant calling Google+ a "pathetic afterthought". According to Silicon Filter (via Gizmodo) the post has been deleted, but not before it and other sites such as Hacker News had picked it up.

This morning Yegge wrote on Google+ -- yes, used Google+ -- to say that he had intended his post to be internal to only Google employees.

In the blog post, Yegge compares his experience working first at Amazon and now at Google. He states that Google is superior in nearly every way, except for maybe three. Google+ is a prime example:

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.

API, which stands for Application Programming Interface, allows access to the site in a controlled way  too give other software developers the ability to design products that are powered by its service. How Stuff Works, ironically considering this post, uses the following as an example of how API works:

For example, Amazon.com released its API so that Web site developers could more easily access Amazon's product information. Using the Amazon API, a third party Web site can post direct links to Amazon products with updated prices and an option to "buy now."

Yegge is saying that Google+ did not have a fully developed API allow this interaction to happen and grow the site as a platform. He goes on:

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.

[...]

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.

Many Google+ users agree, issuing affirmations on his Google+ page or reposting the article themselves.

Yegge concludes his 4,774 word, 6-year-in-the-making rant stating "we've gotta start doing this right."

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