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Disappointment In Google's Recent "Open" Tools

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, December 20, 2007
12 years ago4,451 views

Is Google becoming more interested in spreading FUD (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_un ...) than releasing well-tested tools? I don't know, but these two quotes strike me as remarkably similar:

A developer's first impression on OpenSocial:
"[C]learly Open Social is NOT Open for Business."
techcrunch.com/2007/12/06/open ...

Another developer's first impression on the Open Content Alliance's Android:
"It's clearly not ready for prime time."
searchengineland.com/071219-10 ...

(Of course, opinion varies:
"Android is everything a development kit should be – an environment where the biggest limitation is what you can imagine."
Reto at blogoscoped.com/archive/2007-1 ...)

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Interesting articles. The non-specific nature of the complaints makes it harder to evaluate objectively:

   "...'shocking' that some of the 'basic' platform architecture doesn't yet work."

Like what? Is he complaining because the motion sensor API isn't available yet? Or because he has to code for the Dalvik VM rather than hacking the Linux kernal? Something else? I'd be genuinely interested to know what basic stuff people find to be missing...

or [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I don't agree Philipp simply because in both cases, Google clearly stated thatthey were not ready for prime time and was an early release made available for testing at this point. The problem is that blogs and the media hype the products, and then people miss that google clearly said there are things they are still working on. Then after people find the problems, they all criticize Google as if Google is being disingenuous when all along Google had made things clear.

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I think with Android, one of the big issues is there isn't a public bug list that both Google and third party developers can add to and review. Right now it seems as if Google has an internal bug list that they are focusing on and Third Party developers don't have access to that and end up duplicating work fixing the same issues.

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

[put at-character here]Colin: That's a valid issue.
[put at-character here]or: I think Google didn't help themselves with expectations by announcing the $10M prize so early on. I think the another problem goes like this:

1) Google releases a sneak-preview of their SDK to give people an idea of the sort of things they'll be able to produce, and get familiar with the language and syntax.
2) Google announces $10M competition for Android apps with submissions in January.
3) People try to write prize winning apps but find some of the functionality they need isn't there yet. This makes them angry.

The G needs to release a major upgrade to the SDK on the same day they start accepting submissions for the prizes (at the latest). At the same time they need to create a Google project for Android – the same way they have for GData. Then they need to have a coupe of team members that sit in the Google Group helping / answering questions. The GData and GME teams are a template for how to get developers onside. Lots of interaction, visible bug tracking, and frequent updates.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> I don't agree Philipp simply because in both cases,
> Google clearly stated thatthey were not ready for
> prime time and was an early release made available
> for testing at this point.

As for OpenSocial: agree it was hyped by some blogs (wonder if any of the sources were "fed" the info by Google? :)). *However*, the announcement also came at a point right after Microsoft invested in Facebook – an investment which had been said Google was originally interested in too – and then Google sent out a press release announcing OpenSocial. Their press release also didn't exactly scream humble, early-release message, rather, it was promoting how many people were already on-board: google.com/intl/en/press/press ...

It was too early even for an early developer release – if it doesn't work, sorry, but then that's too early. Not only was OpenSocial plain not available when it was announced (I have to look up the exact timing, but I think it appeared a day or two later than it should have that week), it was also completely broken on Orkut. Remember: it doesn't matter what letter – alpha, beta – Google sticks to it, if their toolset allows the site to be hacked, it can compromise actual "life status" Google properties (or other sites).This is no point specific to this issue, e.g. in this case perhaps all was safe as it's gmodules.com hosted, but I'm just adding that as general thing to keep in mind.

In a nutshell, I would describe the release as "rushed" even for an early developer release, and over-promoted even by Google too thanks to their press release. And why would they do that? One thing I can imagine: they promised other participants (e.g. Bebo, iLike, MySpace) this schedule, and then felt they had to stick to it. Another possible reason: spreading FUD in order to hurt the Facebook widget framework. (Calling it OpenSocial instead of Google Gadgets for Social Networks may be another indicator there were a lot of strategic, non-technical decisions to this move; not that it's a bad name, in fact, it may be a very smart name....)

or [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

You are probably right about OpenSocial, Philipp. However, we also seem to forget that Google has a long history of releasing products early with man y bugs. The problem before was that they would fail to communicate that. However, now they seem to communicate that better, but the noise from the media and blog is clouding their message. Perhaps, they need to communicate the status of their releases with blogs and the media in a better way. And, as Google becomes a more mature company, they need to set dates for product updates for large releases like this.

jilm [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Google disappoints me – as an user – at least in recent months or year. Search is great. Gmail is great. YouTube is bad but with good content. What else Google has? I don´t see any other field where they are really leading. I mean leading in inovations, quality or share. The best online office is Zoho. The best social network is Facebook. The best mobile phone is iPhone. I really don´t see anything interesting and new from Google. Bill Gates said that Google were developing me-too products – Android and OpenSocial seems definitely me-too. And what about those Google Profiles? Google finally understood that the "social graph" is valuable and because he owns only that of Brazilians, he tries to very badly emulate it by Gmail contacts. Really disappointing.

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