It’s a question that many techwatchers are probably asking themselves. Henry Blodget was during the dotcom hype a rather controversial stock market analyst but he’s now reasonably successful as editor-in-chief of Business Insider, and he’s searching for the answer to this half-trillion-dollar-question in the product design of Google.
With the technology behind the Google products is nothing wrong, but they are still having major issues with developing an user interface that can compete with Apple products. Google’s search engine, which became a major success thanks to the minimalist and practical design, has a tend to make things too complicated in the last couple of year.
A great example is the Apple TV:
Google TV, for example, was an absurdly complex flop that was apparently designed for consumers who have been dying to buy a TV that is as complicated as a computer (all four of them).
But other products have become unnecessarily complicated as well. Blodget refers to services such as Gmail that was making use of a ‘conversation’ format that was mainly designed for “nerds” and Android, which is still far too complex in comparison with Apple products.
Google designs its products for geeks, while Apple is mainly designing products for normal people. The reason for the difference between the companies lies in the corporate culture. The founders and senior officials that made Google the company that it is today all went to the best universities and were all best in class. They also seem to hire only people with these same qualifications.
Apple’s former CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs didn’t go to an Ivy League University (and never completed his studies at Reed College). Steve Jobs was simply brilliant, but would have never been adopted by Google. The “vacancy-algorithm” of Google would have probably concluded that Jobs wasn’t the right person for the company.
The company from Cupertino is using a completely different strategy, although they also hire students from the Stanford university, others are coming from the San Jose State University, which is a lot less prestigious than Stanford. More ‘normal people’ are going to the San Jose State University, they are the people that buy your product on a good day.
Getting the best brains in your team not always necessarily results in the best product.