TAG: Google

Product quality trumps evangelism

John Gruber of Daring Fireball made an important point about product design recently in response to Robert Scoble’s concern that many Google employees were not wearing their Google Glasses. After Scoble suggested that a lack of employee support might hurt adoption of the Glass product, Gruber responds: “Scoble has the cause and effect backwards. If […]

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Rosenberg’s Leadership Rules

A nice set of leadership rules by senior VP of Product at Google Jonathan Rosenberg. The ones that resonated most for me: “be a broken record”, “every word matters”, “tell stories”, strategies and tactics”, and “interview well”. In particular, telling stories is underutilized by almost every product team I’ve encountered.

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How important is that feature?

Great piece by Ken Norton of Google Ventures on feature importance isn’t just linear, but is often order-of-magnitude different: Babe Ruth and Feature Lists. Ken provides a clear example of how the most important feature may be way, way more important than the second or third one. Also, though, one thing bothered me a bit […]

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Weekend reading: Disruption vs. Innovation

Two pieces on disruption vs. innovation.

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Redesigning Google

Lots of interesting bits in Redesigning Google: how Larry Page engineered a beautiful revolution. The thesis: “We went to Google looking for the person responsible for the new design direction, but the strange answer we got is that such a person doesn’t exist. Instead, thanks to a vision laid out by a small team of […]

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Stating the Obvious

A few obvious points about the obvious.

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5 Reasons why Google+ is interesting UI.

The Google+ launch has been very positive for Google so far. I think it’s interesting from a UI standpoint for several reasons: 1. Andy Hertzfeld is lead Designer. This surprised a lot of people. Andy Hertzfeld is one of the original Apple Macintosh team members and is the lead designer of Google+, focusing on the […]

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Why Social Ads Don’t Work

There’s been lots of talk recently about the ineffectiveness of advertisements in social media properties like MySpace and Facebook. During their recent quarterly earnings results, Google explained that they are not making as much money from ads on social network sites as they had predicted. Even though this was a blip on an otherwise stellar quarter, Google’s stock took a serious beating.

Why is this so? Why is it that Google monetizes so well on Search while having a hard time on social properties? Given an equal amount of views on Google vs. MySpace, shouldn’t they be able to get about the same number of click-throughs and thus ad revenue?

The difference, of course, is that when people go to Google, they’re actively looking for something. That something isn’t on Google. They are performing a search activity. Thus their task will be to click on a link that seems to promise what it is they’re looking for. It may be the organic results, or it may be an ad that seems close to what they want.

When people are on MySpace, the activity they’re doing isn’t search. It’s something akin to “hanging out” or “networking”. Their task is almost the opposite of search. They are already on the site they want to be on. They don’t need to click on links to take them where they want to go.

In other words, the context is entirely different. When you’re in search mode, you are playing by different rules.

Social ads don’t work as well because people are being social, not searching for something.

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The danger of social markers made public (more on the Social Graph API)

Thomas Vander Wal makes a good point in response to my post: Why I’m excited about Google’s Social Graph API. He’s concerned that by exposing social relationship information (social graphs), we’re inviting hackers to mine that information and use it in bad ways:

“I do have great trepidation as this is exactly the tool social engineering hackers have been hoping for and working toward.

Most hacks of organizations (most are populated with 98% of people not like us that are more open to social engineering hacks) that have been hacked (been through more than a few of these meetings after the fact) are done through some clever individual using social engineering to convince somebody to trust the hacker. The identification of connections (usually best approached with weak ties) is a great starting point (this is the major reason why most organizations no longer have their employee list or full-contact list posted on their websites).

The Google SocialGraph API is exposing everybody who has not thought through their privacy or exposing of their connections.

This is an excellent point that needs to be considered.

An example of what Thomas describes might be…

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Why I’m excited about the Google Social Graph API

The Google Social Graph API is a new programming API that allows developers to expose social relationships embedded in web sites. What does this mean for regular folks like you and me? Read on.

Do you ever feel like your personal information is spread across the web in a whole bunch of separate places? An account here, a profile there? A friends list here and a friends list there? All your information, but in all different places all incomplete at the same time?

Google Social Graph API

The Social Graph API helps solve this “silos of information” problem by allowing people to write software that understands who your friends are. It does this by reading your web site or blog and making connections between the social profiles you have across the web.

For example, imagine you have a blog, which is your home on the web. You also have an Amazon profile, a Twitter profile, and a Facebook profile. So you have four profiles spread across the web, seemingly unconnected. Amazon has no idea who your friends on Facebook or Twitter are, and vice-versa, and this is a good thing from a privacy standpoint. These sites shouldn’t be able to find out everything about you with you giving them permission.

But what if you wanted these sites to know a bit about each other? What if you want to combine your Amazon book history with your friends lists at Facebook so that you can see what your friends are reading and let Amazon give you recommendations based on your similarity with them? Or, perhaps you just joined Twitter and want to know which of your Facebook friends are already there so you don’t have to go hunting for them? (see video) Here we see real-world examples of how cross-pollinating your personal information between these sites can not only be efficient, but desirable…

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