There were at least two really big developments at Google that made a lot of news in the last month.
Oddly, it seems nobody has really connected how one of them highlights the failure of the other. So let’s make the connection.
The first of these developments is the more recent: the Google Walkout (a/k/a by the hashtag, #GoogleWalkout). Thousands of Google employees walked off the job at 60 percent of Google’s offices worldwide Thursday, each starting at 11:10 a.m. local time.
The whole thing went viral, and it was the photos and videos from those posts that most major media used in illustrating the story.
I’m including a couple of the posts below, but there were thousands on Twitter and Instagram. And that fact illustrates another massive but unrelated development at Google, that also came to light in October.
The other big development is Google’s decision, announced on October 8 via a 1,400-word blog post, to effectively shut down its own social network, Google+, after seven years of failure.
Yes, there were some posts about the #GoogleWalkout on Google+, but a quick glimpse shows anemic engagement, which lines right up with what Google itself reported when it announced its decision. As I wrote then:
Google+ had every advantage–a giant, then-young tech company behind it, more money than its engineers probably knew what to do with, and the ability to sign up people who were using other Google services to Google+ by “brute force.”
That was part of its downfall, it would seem. You probably have a Google+ account, but you might not even know it. That’s how the site could sign up hundreds of millions of users but still have engagement levels that were a mere fraction of its rivals
By the way, this marks the third time that Google has tried and failed to launch a social network to compete with the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and even Snap. It’s okay to admit you barely remember the others: Google Friend Connect (2008 to 2012), Google Buzz (2010 to 2011), and Orkut (2004 to 2014).
It’s natural that Google’s employees would turn to competing companies’ tools to show support for a movement about their company and communicate with each other, it’s striking and reinforces that social media is the one modern field Google (and Alphabet) have been completely unable to crack.
I don’t know how you count that as anything other than a massive failure.
Twitter and LinkedIn
I think most people likely support the overall goals, which have to do with protesting sexual harassment and promoting equal opportunity along both gender and racial lines at Google.
There were seven named organizers who coauthored an article in The Cut explaining its origins and their goals. The of these runs social media management for YouTube according to her profile on LinkedIn.
What social media account does she list prominently, in fact the only one in her bio?
A Twitter profile for YouTube. And if you were looking for coordination during the walkout itself, you probably followed @GoogleWalkout on Twitter.
Take a quick look at the photos below, which were only two of many thousands posted using the #GoogleWalkout hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. You may find yourself going down a rabbit hole checking them out.
But it’s up to you if you even want to bother on Google+. The vast majority of other people didn’t.