Google Veteran Says The Firm Is 'Arrogant' And Can't Innovate

Google veteran Steve Yegge left the Alphabet-owned company after spending almost 13 years at its Kirkland offices last month, having said his decision to depart was largely prompted by the fact that the tech giant is "arrogant" and "can no longer innovate." In an essay published on Medium, Mr. Yegge described how he became disillusioned with the corporate culture of the Mountain View, California-based firm whose name almost became synonymous with the Internet over the last two decades. The engineer believes the reasons for the decline in Google's ability to disrupt various industries are multifaceted and has only listed a handful of them. Google's currently biggest obstacle to innovation is its focus on the competition, Mr. Yegge believes, adding that the company is aware of that to some degree and has hence recently come up with a new slogan: "focus on the user and all else will follow." Regardless, its incentive structure is still largely dedicated to successful product launches which are easiest to execute by copying rivals, the engineer wrote.

The ex-Googler listed a number of products and services it believes stem from that wrong approach to doing business that stifles innovation, naming everything from the Google Assistant, Home smart speakers, and Google Cloud to Android Instant Apps, Allo, and Google+ as direct copies of existing solutions. That criticism isn't unprecedented, with Ring founder and CEO publicly accusing Google's former unit Nest of copying its devices earlier this month. Google is also suffering due to its conservatism, according to Mr. Yegge who stated that the firm is now much more committed to protecting its existing inventions than trying to develop new ones. The industry veteran who joined Singaporean ride-hailing startup Grab in December also alleged his former company is too involved in politics, though he admitted such activities come with the territory and the very fact that it's an international organization with over 73,000 of employees, according to its last year's financial report. Mr. Yegge also accused the firm of being "arrogant" due to its track record that it believes led it to complacency and had it fall out of touch with consumer needs in recent years, concluding that the general corporate strategy at Google "is a mess."

The former Googler spent well over a decade developing solutions for Google's Search, Cloud, Ads, and Android units, in addition to working on supporting its developer infrastructure. He's also credited with the creation of Grok, a code knowledge graph Google internally uses to manage its massive code base. Outside of Google, he's best known in the programming circles for his website "Stevey's Drunken Blog Rants" which he stopped updating in 2011 after what he now revealed was continuous indirect pressure from various VPs at the firm. Despite the bittersweet departure from the company, Mr. Yegge remains adamant that Google is still among "the very best places to work on Earth" regardless of one's standards, preferences, and priorities.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]
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