If you know me, then you know that I’m a big fan of Google products; they’re my go-to for almost anything: e-mail, movies, books, music, cloud storage, etc. It amazes me how far Google has come from just being a search engine.
In 2015, I made the choice to stop using Google services in favor of services from Microsoft.
For the most part, Microsoft made that transition easy for me. Mail was quick to import, OneNote organized all of my notes and documents in a really powerful way, and OneDrive took care of the rest.
You might be asking: “What made you leave Google back then?”
Have you ever noticed that creativity often dies with big businesses? Every company starts out by putting heart and effort into everything they do; but when money comes in, when they become wealthy beyond their expectations, it’s less about creativity and hard work and more about money. It’s like the creatives lose their minds: “Me want more money! Me hungry for cash! Me no care about you, me just want revenue. You become product of company?!” Creativity and heart go out the window. Along with common sense and logic.
The Google I knew was about empowering their employees and interns; helping them innovate. Google was the cradle of innovation, not a bunch of billboards with bright lights. They no longer seemed like a tech company, but an advertising company. I guess that’s what they always were, despite their claims, but it seemed as though things were once more stable with them.
Here’s an example: their music services.
2) YouTube Premium
3) YouTube Music
4) YouTube Music Premium
5) Google Play Music
6) Google Play Music (All Access)
Pick one and stick with it, Google! You already have a fine service. Just because you don’t hire effective sales teams, doesn’t mean you need to create the same app over and over again and call them by different names.
Tip: YouTube Premium covers it all. That’s all you need to know.
What about Blogger? Last spring, the team behind it gave it a spring cleaning. The Android app is still a few years old and has yet to be updated. It’s simply out of laziness. There’s no reason the app shouldn’t be updated every few months with bug fixes and feature requests.
How about Google+? If they were smart enough, the Google+ features could have easily been a part of Blogger, if implemented right. A more social blogging platform.
How about their most recent change with Google Keep? They renamed it “Keep Notes.” How about instead of acting like bored children, implement new and exciting features or enhancements?
This is where Microsoft comes in and they play a huge role. They’ve always had their foot in the door when it came to being really neat and logical about things.
They don’t just spew out hundreds upon thousands of ideas and just act on them. They focus on the now. They think about how they can improve and grow what they already have, and then focus on releasing new products and services. They also focus a lot on the design of apps and services, they use their creative skills.
To me, Google has always sort of felt like the rich kid who wasn’t invited to the party, so he did everything he could to impress others to be liked.
Take it from former Google employee James Whittaker.
As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn’t part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.” Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t 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.
The old Google made a fortune on ads because they had good content. It was like TV used to be: make the best show and you get the most ad revenue from commercials. The new Google seems more focused on the commercials themselves.
It turns out that there was one place where the Google innovation machine faltered and that one place mattered a lot: competing with Facebook. Informal efforts produced a couple of antisocial dogs in Wave and Buzz. Orkut never caught on outside Brazil. Like the proverbial hare confident enough in its lead to risk a brief nap, Google awoke from its social dreaming to find its front runner status in ads threatened.
In my 2015 article, “Why I Left Google For Microsoft”, I said that I agreed with James completely.
So, what happened? Why did I go back to Google?
As it turns out, Google knows what they’re doing. In the world we live in today, people are always looking for something new, something exciting to talk about, something new to try. With Google, there’s always something new to talk about. Or, you know, complain about. Yes, it can be a little frustrating, especially when they choose to take the lazy route, but for the most part, their main services and products are well-maintained.
After a few months of being Google-free, immersing myself in Microsoft’s world, I got bored. There was nothing new to try, nothing else to look forward to. Suddenly, I understood why Google did things the way they did. It’s about learning new things all the time, test-driving new products, services, and ideas. Before anyone else. Seeing what sticks, seeing what doesn’t.
Have they made mistakes? Probably more than any other company in history. But that’s also because they do so much more than any other company. It’s about taking the good with the bad.
You can argue that Apple makes better phones or that Microsoft builds better tablets. Considering those companies focus primarily on those things, it’s sad that Google can even be part of the competition and be so close to the finish line, being that they do so many things, not just one.
That’s why I returned to Google and have never looked back. No one else can truly compete with something that is always evolving and changing into something else.