on transcending an engineering culture

Om Malik argues that while Google may be goliath, and doing well, that it will find itself hemmed in to invisible constraints – until it sees a way forward from “engineer[ing] great software” to making “simple beautiful and… usable” things to experience. 

Google needs to realize that it has a “user experience” problem and its simplicity — the elegant search box — isn’t enough, especially as it starts to compete with rivals whose entire existence revolves around easy, consumer experiences. To me, user experience isn’t about making things pretty and using pretty icons. Instead it’s about making simple, beautiful, usable and user-friendly interfaces.

No one can argue with Google’s ability to engineer great software — they’ve done so in the past — but that simply isn’t good enough in the new worlds they are trying to conquer. Televisions, phones, productivity applications and even Google’s own local pages are less about search and more about engagement: something not core to the company’s corporate DNA. Here are three major challenges Google needs to surmount:

Make software usable by tens of millions of people on a disparate array of products.

Overcome its history of only using data to define its future.

Figure out how to keep people in their playground, rather than helping people find the information they were looking for and sending them elsewhere: a radical new approach to business.

via Google’s Big Problem: It Ain’t What You Think: Tech News «.

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