Google is changing. Not only has the Larry Page as leader era officially begun but there has been a surprise exit as well. Jonathan Rosenberg , a senior vice president who has been with Google since 2002 is leaving the company. Apparently he was not in line with Page’s desire to have long-term commitments from the executive leadership of Google. Rosenberg planned to leave the company when his daughter went to college in 2013 which in Internet years is about a decade away but looks like that’s not good enough.
Instead Google is starting to remake itself in the image that Page has for the company. According to John Paczkowski of All Things Digital we can expect much more change at the Goog in the future
That said, its timing (Rosenberg’s departure) seems quite convenient, particularly in relationship to what looks very much like a significant reorg that is currently underway at Google, said sources familiar with the situation.
The main theme that seems to be emerging: An elimination of Google’s more centralized functional structure–where Rosenberg was one of several manager kingpins–to one in which the individual business units and their engineers, such as its most independent Android division, rule more autonomously.
In other words, the company that already seems to be robotic in its delivery of products and promotion of them is going to become even more so. If that’s true I can’t imagine what Google will look like.
Why? Because the last thing Google needs to be doing is shooting even farther over the heads of what most human beings can handle from a technology standpoint. Right now, Google offers more products and flavors than anyone I know can name. Many of these offerings have some serious technological ‘whiz bang’ to them but they are also not necessarily what the average user is looking for. If Google were to continue to distance itself from the end users of the world they stand to possibly innovate themselves into a corner. A marketing corner.
From a competitive standpoint, this news should thrill anyone who is paying attention over at Bing. Why? Because if Google is now heading even more into the techno stratosphere by doing things that most mere mortals aren’t going to understand let alone use, Bing could sneak in give the commoners what they want: clean simple answers to questions that are reasonably accurate and actionable.
If Google is to become even more engineering centric what will happen to their relatively non-existent marketing efforts? Will they even bother or will they just assume that everyone will be assimilated into the Goog because it’s the only way to go?
Is it possible that Google’s engineering prowess could simply outrun the marketplace and make them even less accessible to much of the marketplace? I think so. Considering that the vast majority of people don’t yet have a clue what Google’s current capabilities are they could well become more distanced from a company that seems more interested in competing against itself rather than giving the people what they need to do the relatively simple things that most of the world still does with Google.
The article at All Things Digital goes on to say about this engineering focus
But is this a good idea?
Looking at the company’s Android unit, the answer would appear to be a resounding yes. Under Andy Rubin, the Android team has developed its own structure and processes and it’s excelling in the market. Google’s role here is more nurturing parent than anything else. In other words, it’s supporting innovation, not micromanaging it.
Well, that may be true on some levels but as a current Android user myself I am not sure that it’s working for the long term. Why? Because despite the coolness of the Android platform it feels very much like an engineering play vs. the Apple blend of cool tech creating an easily usable platform for people with little or no tech savvy.
When I am around an iPhone user I still marvel at how easily things happen and how infrequently they need to do anything to their device other than use it. Android feels very “Windowy” to me in that you need to worry about malware and there are more times than I would like where I need to restart my device to get it working again. In other words, it’s fun from an engineering standpoint but as a regular end user I always think that my next phone might be an iPhone because I don’t want whiz bang; I want it to work.
Would it make sense for Google to simply slow down and let their user base catch up with where they are now? Not likely. Would it be best for Google to clean up some of the mess that it already as like its Google Places hodgepodge? I think that would be time well spent. What might happen though is that they may just move on to the next cool thing and leave something as valuable as Places to ‘work itself out’. If that’s the case there may not be a better time for a competitor to come in and make some serious inroads. Are you listening Bing?
So what does the prospect of a more engineer centric Google mean to you? What areas would you like to see them get it together before they move on to the next great thing? In the end, can anyone truly compete with them? Give us your take in the comments.