James Whittaker was a former Google employee who recently quit. He is a technology executive that worked towards making the Internet a better place for both users and developers alike. After his departure from the renown Internet giant, many were wondering why he had left. Well, here’s his story.
James was very involved and passionate about Google. He spoke at several of the conferences held by Google, helped with the testing blog, and worked on promoting Google everywhere he went. It was a shock to James as well as everyone else when he finally stopped.
So what’s the main reason? He lost passion for a company once driven towards technology, innovation, and a commitment to employees – that same company he was so fond of in the beginning turned into an ad company with their focus only on money.
Yes, Google has always pulled a significant amount of their revenue from their ads, but it used to be more akin to the older TV shows: a commercial once in a blue moon on a good quality show. Now Google has become more like regular TV shows which means you can’t go three minutes without getting some ad or commercial thrown in your face.
When Eric Schmidt was in charge Google’s ad revenue merely served to allow the innovative minds at Google the time and energy to think of new innovations. The employees also had great rewards and bonuses to motivate them and encourage constant forward thinking. App Engine, Google Labs, and others were places for more innovations and where future services and products were thought of. During that time, James Whittaker and the other employees felt a sense of relief knowing that Google was putting innovation first and using ads merely as a way to help keep things running smoothly.
Unfortunately it all changed thanks to Google attempting to compete with Facebook.
Due to the first failed attempts at social sites by Google, Facebook was able to gain a huge lead in advertising prowess and this threatened Google’s high status as the pinnacle of advertising on the web. The problem was that, despite Google being able to reach more people than Facebook, Facebook still was able to better advertise due to the in depth knowledge the user information provided them. And in comes the birth of Google+.
Larry Page went in control and things became more driven towards ads, more driven towards making money and pushing “would be/could be innovations” out of the way so that “real progress” could be made. As such Google Labs was closed, and App fees were increased. Additionally Google+ was put on center stage and all efforts were concentrated on it.
Unfortunately Google+ never became the successful replacement for Facebook and the masses never wavered in their loyalty to Facebook.
The shift in focus from Google is what crushed James Whittaker’s passion for Google and after months of attempting to regain his passion and struggling to make it work as his once beloved workplace, he couldn’t take it anymore.