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Google Engineer Accidentally Posts 5000 Word Rant; Slams Google+ And Bosses

Submitted by on October 17, 2011 – 10:19 am6 Comments

This could be worse than the time you accidentally hit “Reply All” and sent your Mardi Gras photos to the entire office. Google engineer Steve Yegge composed a 5000 word “rant,” tearing apart much of the tech world including Amazon, Microsoft, and even his beloved employer, Google- and then posted it publicly on his Google+ account.

Ironically, Yegge became a vivid example of the single problem he wanted to highlight in Google’s operations: their lack of focus Accesibility, or the ability of a website to be understood and used by as many people as possible. Yegge calls Accessibility “the most important thing in the computer world.

“The. Most. Important. Thing,” he emphasizes.

In a later post, Yegge explained that he “somehow switched accounts” when posting the piece. His words suggest that Yegge himself became a victim of a user interface not friendly to “inexperienced” users such as himself.

Yegge’s other main point was Google’s inability so far to develop “platforms” as opposed to “products.” He criticizes Google for trying to create its own features (like games for Google+) constantly, instead of creating opportunities for outside parties to create their own programs to fit their own needs.

Yegge calls the Google+ platform “a pathetic afterthought… a kneejerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking.” He jokes about the fact that he posts a rant “on a venue that is terrible for it”.

He concludes that these are really two sides of the same problem: “A platform is accessibility.”

But Yegge makes clear at the beginning of the piece that he loves Google, saying quite sincerely that he believes most of the time, “Google does everything right.” And in the aftermath of the incident, Yegge has thanked Google for being a place where he would feel comfortable composing such a rant, and for not even pressuring him to take it down.

(Let’s hope those good vibes go all the way to the top. In his post, Yegge calls out the Google founders and CEO by name, saying they completely failed “to understand platforms.”)

On the other hand, this blunder could turn out to be a historic happy mistake, making Yegge a technology and business prophet overnight. So far, all the comments seem pretty positive.

What do you think? Is Yegge a hero, or should he be looking for a new job? And is he right about Google+?

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