One of the things that makes Google an exciting platform to work on is that its various offerings are constantly evolving and devolving. Google changes at a rate that defies most users’ need for consistency and stability. For anyone needing a regular surprise with their online experience, Google rarely disappoints.
The flip side of Google’s state of perpetual beta is that for crazies who imagine they can use a disparate array of products and services for vertical applications–as in cloud recruiting for example–Google’s interminable incubation can be especially maddening.
The headaches are no less excruciating when one attempts to integrate Google’s core applications to replace basic pay-to-play recruiting tools and services. Seems simple enough, no? Well, as it turns out, maybe not.
After the predictable failure of Google Wave I realized that my decision to ignore Google’s 2009 app de jour–at least until some recruiting-related application became apparent–was not such a bad idea after all. As it turned out I saved a lot of time and effort that ultimately would have contributed nothing to the G-Recruiting project.
Shortly after Google Wave’s evaporation, some of Google’s more durable offerings like Google Notebook, Google Base, Google Toolbar, Google Directory, and Google Desktop–all having specific, proven recruiting-related uses–started to systematically vaporize too. Other favorites like Google Labs and Sidewiki, similarly swept away, gave me pause for concern. Trying to keep up with Google’s comings and goings was, if not exhausting, producing a diminishing return.
With the launch of Google+ my decision to back-off was not based on its uncertain future or potential for recruiting–as was the case with Google Wave or Google Buzz but the ways in which Google+ appeared to be remarkably different from previous Google roll-outs. If nothing else, any attempt to unify a previously loosely knit suite of applications into a cohesive product set, where the whole is measurably greater than the sum of its otherwise questionable parts, suggested a paradigm shift of Google-sized proportions. Most significantly:
- Failure is not an option with Google+, let alone something to be celebrated. I don’t know that corporate self-image can be so easily transformed with the introduction of a new product but the effort should be applauded, even if the entity is, paradoxically, too big to fail.
- Historically, Google’s apparent lack of product strategy has befuddled pundits. They fail to realize that Google’s monolithic brand is the product, synonymous with search for sure, but representing something more ethereal. Google+ is unambiguous both as an articulation of Google’s brand and it’s product strategy moving forward.
- It remains to be seen if Google+ is a really the game changer some claim it will be. In the meantime, there can be no mistake that the goal posts have been moved. For example, co-opting the “+” sign as part of its naming convention not only makes the “+” sign’s use as a search operator redundant, it symbolizes–quite literally–a transition from Search to Google+ as a the flagship product.
- Google’s social search algorithm, while supposedly making the experience more nicey-nice-nice for well-connected users, fundamentally changes the bias from one of objectivity [think: PageRank] to one of subjectivity [think: social validation]. This not only affects search engine optimization and marketing but a host of other things which we now have to figure out how to game if we want eyeballs, clicks and pluses. As if obscuring contextually relevant results with content from LinkedIn one-night-stands wasn’t bad enough…
Google has a long ways to go before what I imagine can be done with its platform will transpire for recruiters like me. Our G-Recruiter workarounds aside–part of the fun I might add–coming up with a better integration of notes, contacts and tasks would be a start. And while the horizontal everyman may find more to sing and dance about with Google+ than the vertically inclined business user, there is more to be excited about for G-Recruiters today than not.
Stay posted…there is more to come.