Google’s obsession with beating Facebook

March 14, 2012 • Top Stories

Former Google employee James Whittaker believes the multinational company has become preoccupied with beating Facebook.

Former Google executive blast the company's preoccupation with beating Facebook. (image: file)

According to Whittaker, Google in playing catch up with Facebook has become “an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus”, and that focus is Google+.

He wrote on his blog yesterday that Google was “a technology company first and foremost; a company that hired smart people and placed a big bet on their ability to innovate”.

Earlier this year, Whittaker returned to his former employer Microsoft. He believes things changed after Google’s current CEO Larry Page took over. Google has tried to make every product as social as possible ever since.

“Larry Page himself assumed command to right this wrong. Social became state-owned, a corporate mandate called Google+. It was an ominous name invoking the feeling that Google alone was not enough. Page instructed that all products tie into Google+, stopping experimental projects such as Google Labs.”

Whittaker worked on Google+ as a development manager, but says it did not work.

“As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just was not part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialised. Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he was not invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.”

Nico Gous

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