My problems with Google are complex, but primarily revolve around their business model.  It’s frustrating to see a company constantly move into different sectors of the web industry, gain a ton of press and users, and put out a mediocre (at best) product.  For instance, the whole Chrome OS bothers me: their business logic is sound (and I applaud them for that), but I don’t trust them to make a half-way decent operating system that I would want to use.

Many of Google’s “distinctive” interface designs are just unpleasant.  They got it right with Google Search: simplicity is key.  But their overly simplistic interface for other products make it just painful.  If you have to use Google AdSense or AdWords for any length of time, you start to see the silliness of their interface.  Google Code is just ugly to look at.  And so many other products.

I understand that Google is an engineer-driven company, and that’s fine.  But there are plenty of engineers out there that can admit when they don’t know much about interface design or usability.  Google, it seems, can’t.  I don’t know if its arrogance or fear: fear that they’ll spoil their “secret sauce” that made them so successful in search.  Whatever it is, it’s not working.

At the other extreme is Microsoft, which spends so much time on their interfaces that they become equally painful to use.  They’re overly flashy, cluttered, and look like they were designed for children (with bright flashing things).  Apple is the only consumer-oriented mainstream tech company that I know of that consistently has good design that’s pleasant to use.

The other reason why I despise Google?  They don’t have a single innovative new-product person in their organization.  Take a look at every single product Google has put out: they’re all products another company has pioneered.  Even their much touted Google Wave is just a poor-man’s version of EtherPad (which, incidentally, they acquired recently).  Dozens of other products which have been unashamedly held up as being innovative have already been pioneered before.  Apple is a new-product innovative powerhouse, and even Microsoft has come up with a few new items (like the Surface).  But not Google.

As I said earlier, I’ve been giving Chrome from Google a try, and I have to begrudgingly say that I am enjoying it.  Perhaps it’s just comes from a desire to mix things up a bit in my web browsing.  Whatever it is, I don’t hate it, and I’ll keep using it until I do.

Advertisements