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“Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn’t part of it”

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James Whittaker, an ex-Googler from senior circles, has posted a damning but hugely insightful piece on why he left Google. His observation of the full-throttle drive to social utopia with Google+ is a surgical dissection of some of the biggest questions surrounding Google these days.

There is not much to argue against Whittaker’s view that it not-so-suddenly has become clear that Google doesn’t know everything - Facebook does.

Google’s product retirement showing it’s willingness to fail has been well documented, and it is nothing new to comment on this. Google’s original mantra of 20% innovation has been held up as tenuous by some, politicised by others, and by Google’s own admission, became in part unsustainable as far back as 2008.

I maintain that 20% ‘innovation time’ cannot be a bad thing for employees or a company, but 20% time without focus is, as Google have shown, potentially damaging. Whittaker illustrates that the concerns around Google’s ability to effectively innovate and monetise products for humans are all too real even today.

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