Google’s 20% Incomplete Products

March 11, 2008

Google has always flaunted it’s 20% time idea, where engineers are encouraged to take some random ideas and come up with products any decent product marketing company would have already had on the roadmap.  Of course, maybe they like it that way, so until GOOG hits $200 they can continue to do that kind of thing.

The problem is that with that 20%, a lot of Google products could really be useful, such as:

– Google Reader:  The links in the start page work, so after you read the teaser, the link clicks through to the same page.  This was probably a 20% time project enhancement that ran out of time.

– Gmail: Great, you made it easy to manage multiple accounts, except when I send an email with on of them, it says send “on behalf of” my google account which I prefer to keep private.  Maybe Google could use some of that 20% time and realize that’s likely a fixable issue.

–  Google Search: Believe it or not, the answer to every question is not a blog.  Since you can’t tell an engineer what to do with their 20% time, let’s hope it comes to them in a vision.

You’re right, Google’s 20% time isn’t causing 80% of the problems.


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