Products
Glide CMS image
Glide CMS arrow
The powerful intuitive headless CMS for busy content and editorial teams, bursting with features and sector insight. MACH architecture gives you business freedom.
Glide Go image
Glide Go arrow
Enterprise power at start-up speed. Glide Go is a pre-configured deployment of Glide CMS with hosting and front-end problems solved.
Glide Nexa image
Glide Nexa arrow
Audience authentication, entitlements, and preference management in one system designed for publishers and content businesses.
For your sector
Media & Entertainment
arrow
Built for any content to thrive, whoever it's for. Get your content out faster and do more with it.
Sports & Gaming
arrow
Bring fans closer to their passions and deliver unrivalled audience experiences wherever they are.
Publishing
arrow
Tailored to the unique needs of publishing so you can fully focus on audiences and content success.
For your role
Technology
arrow
Unlock resources and budget with low-code & no-code solutions to do so much more.
Editorial & Content
arrow
Make content of higher quality quicker, and target it with pinpoint accuracy at the right audiences.
Developers
arrow
MACH architecture lets you kickstart development, leveraging vast native functionality and top-tier support.
Commercial & Marketing
arrow
Speedrun ideas into products, accelerate ROI, convert interest, and own the conversation.
Technology Partners
AWS image
AWS
arrow
Getty Images image
Getty Images
arrow
Brightcove image
Brightcove
arrow
Poool image
Poool
arrow
Solution Partners
Endava image
Endava
arrow
The App Lab image
The App Lab
arrow
Code Store image
Code Store
arrow
Polemic Digital image
Polemic Digital
arrow
Resources
Developer Experience
arrow
Find out more how to work with Glide headless CMS, Glide Go, and Glide Nexa identity management
Customer Support
arrow
Learn more about unrivalled customer support from team Glide
Documentation
arrow
User and Technical documentation for the Glide Publishing Platform, Glide Go, and Glide Nexa
Newsroom
News arrow
Comment arrow
Newsletter arrow

Google searches for the meaning of things within

Criticism from those that know you best can hurt the most. A Google engineer has taken the internal gloves off and started a series of conversations we can all take part in.

by  Rob Corbidge
14:57, 25 January 2024
Man at the summit of a mountain screams into the wind, corporate art style

A certain queasiness develops when cataloguing in writing the actions of big tech over a long period. It can feel like the writer is akin to a scribe of antiquity, gazetting the tales of deities, deities of shifting character, capable of much good but much bad, with an internal logic that the author can only guess at. They do and we marvel.

Every now and again, but not often enough, the internal tensions of such corporate tech machines are revealed and the deity is revealed as the work of humans, with all their imperfections. And so it has been in past week with a well-written and concise criticism of the current work culture at Google, penned by Google engineer Diane Hirsh Theriault on LinkedIn.

It's a given that Google had a board-level seizure when it became apparent how far OpenAI had progressed with LLM systems. Many will recall the quote from an internal researcher at the time in mid-2023 was that Google "had no moat" and was widely seen as an admission the business had been outflanked in a new arena of tech.

This week we also learned that a few more scientists from the company's DeepMind division are off to found their own rival AI business, as well as that Google was laying off 1,000 people.

There are also rumours around the much-feared-by-publishers Search Generative Experience (SGE) being delayed to deployment, or not deployed at all, and serious doubts around the utility of Google's Sandbox cookie-replacement for advertising.

So it's likely a post like Theriault's was the product of such internal turmoil, especially given that working for Google is more than just a job for many, and that employee belief in a corporate mission and culture was what kept Google ahead of the game for so long.

As Theriault says herself, "I really had drunk the Kool-aid about organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful and I believed in its core."

One could say it must be hard starting out by thinking you're going to built the tech equivalent of the Library of Alexandria, only to discover you're working for the tech arm of an advertising business, but that would be uncharitable.

Notably Theriault's post consists entirely of "punching up". She lays the blame for a lack of leadership squarely at the doors of those who wield power at Google. She describes bosses as "waiting for their subordinates to propose concrete stuff in the direction they are waving their arms".

The direction she's talking about is AI and, in the broadest terms is looks like no one senior there has a clue other than "we must get into the new thing now".

There's no shame in this for most businesses of course. We all know the disruptive nature of new tech and so are now predisposed to explore it rather than get bitten on the profit posterior by it some time later. 

For Google of course, that isn't the case: to retain the perception of effortless tech superiority it is necessary to stay ahead and Google doesn't seem to know what it's staying ahead of anymore.

It still says "Staff Software Engineer at Google" on Theriault's LinkedIn profile at the time of writing. If it still says that in six months time, then maybe someone has listened to her. 

Whether that is good for the non-Google "us" remains to be seen.

Latest articles

article listing image
The inside story of the runaway elephant in the room
arrow button
article listing image
How a picture of gold can seem worth more than the gold itself
arrow button
article listing image
Universal findings can cause local problems
arrow button

Ready to get started?

No matter where you are on your CMS journey, we're here to help. Want more info or to see Glide Publishing Platform in action? We got you.

Book a demo