You would think a Google employee would know how to use Google+, the search engine giant’s social networking site and its answer to Facebook.
Alas, this week a Google engineer named Steve Yegge posted a manifesto ranting about everything that’s wrong with Google on Google+ for all the world to see.
The rant is now gone from his Google+ page but thanks to the never-ceasing Internet, a host of publications have posted it yet again for all the world to see. Here’s a particularly bad part where he dogs Google’s head honchos:
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.
He is now claiming he didn’t mean to post it for public view but thought he was posting it internally.
I posted a long opinionated rant tonight about how I think Google could be doing a much better job of thinking from the ground up in terms of services rather than products. Sadly, it was intended to be an internal post, visible to everybody at Google, but not externally. But as it was midnight and I am not what you might call an experienced Google+ user, by the time I figured out how to actually post something I had somehow switched accounts.
If he did, I think it would be a big PR black eye for Google. This is Google’s tagline for the Google+ service:
Google+: real life sharing, rethought for the web.
How would it look if the company cans an employee for real life sharing?
Also, the federal government has recently begun to crack down on companies who fire employees who complain about their employers on the Web. In some cases, such rants could be protected under the nation’s collective bargaining laws.
The way officials at the National Labor Relations Board see it, Facebook and Twitter are no different than traditional water-cooler chatter.
Basically, if workers get together to discuss working conditions at their employer that’s considered protected speech under the nation’s labor laws. So, doing the same on the Internet is no different, the federal agency argues. (I wrote about one of the NLRB’s first key cases on this issue last year for TheAtlantic.com, and the case was being closely watched by worker advocates and employment attorneys. The employer settled that case and it marked the first major victory for employees in this regard. Now the agency is back for more.)
In the end, it could be a good thing to get a glimpse inside a huge, well-respected corporation and realize that the employees their aren’t cult members after all. But it’s also offers some good lessons for employees everywhere — learn how to use the products your company hawks to the rest of us and don’t post stuff in cyber space after 10 p.m.