I continue to be amazed by Google; it creates brilliant technology that more often than not, ends up being incredibly average. To me, Google’s products seem to be cold and austere, and don’t move to the level where I want to use them. Arguably, Google+ is a bit better, but it still isn’t inviting. What I feel is that Google’s products lack soul. There’s plenty of technical passion (like what was found in Google Wave, Google Buzz, and a lot of things from Google Labs), but not a lot of humanity. Even Android, which claims to be consumer-oriented, tends to still feel like an engineering exercise.
So what’s the issue? Why doesn’t Google’s great engineering spark the imagination and adoption of consumers anymore? Business Insider may have captured a slice of the problem:
And Here’s The Secret Reason Apple Is Crushing Google…
If Google is fixated on hiring from the best engineering schools, maybe it should learn more about what makes those schools great — artists, humanists, scientists and engineers who work together and breathe life into technology. The diversity in thought and experience enables technology to be more than specifications and process flows. MIT, for example, demonstrates the power of diversity in the inventions and innovations that emerge out of its Media Lab. The Media Lab captures the imagination of the world (just take a look at Lego Mindstorms) and we, humanity, often see value in and more importantly, generate a desire for what has been created.
The monoculture of Google seems to promote an idea that what is useful for it, must be useful for all. That may be true, but if the rest of us can’t find individual value in what has been engineered from a mono-perspective, we will look for something else to fill the void. We will continue to see the technology it generates as nothing more than digital stuff that makes no real difference.
Google needs to diversify its culture and should take a closer look at MIT’s Media Lab for inspiration. Its corporate future may depend on it.