(Getty Images)


  • A former Google web designer recently described his experiences while working briefly at Google+, the company's recently shuttered social network.
  • Morgan Knutson, who worked at Google for eight months before resigning in May 2012, described a lack of vision for the service and wasted resources while detailing ways Vic Gundotra, the overall leader of Google+, wielded his massive power within the company.
  • Knutson's narrative, written like a Twitter serial, sheds light on the troubled Google+, one of the company's most noteworthy and expensive failures.


If you're interested in technology, then one of the most fascinating longer reads available about Silicon Valley culture is the Twitter serial posted last week by Morgan Knutson, a former Google+ web designer.

Knutson wrote 149 tweets over a period of five days about his brief tenure at Google+, the long-troubled, now-defunct social network. Knutson began writing a day after The Wall Street Journal revealed that Google had waited seven months before disclosing that a security lapse had enabled third-party developers to see private information belonging to as many as 500,000 Google+ users.

A few hours after the story was published, Google announced it had shuttered Google+, which was created to challenge Facebook but never came close.

Apparently, the situation prompted Knutson to reveal information he had bottled up for six years.

Part of what makes Knutson's tweets so fascinating is the idea that a former Googler has anything bad to say about the company. Google has a reputation for being one of the most employee-friendly places in tech, chock full of perks and benefits. It's rare that a former staffer complains publicly.

The other reason Knutson's story is so compelling is due to the titillating details about the dysfunction he said reigned at the Google+ of 2012. Knutson, who resigned for a job at Dropbox in 2012 after only eight months at Google, describes a service that lacked an overall vision, often wasted resources, and was propelled and shielded internally by Vic Gundotra, the powerful former Google executive who led the Google+ effort.

He also said, contrary to his prior beliefs or the image that Google sells, he discovered not all employees were at the top of their field.

It's important to remember, as Knutson acknowledges, that he was one employee working on one project during a brief period.

To say Knutson sounds disgruntled is an understatement. To his credit, he acknowledges that he chaffed at receiving criticism and disliked it when he believed he didn't get enough credit.

He also had good things to say about some of his managers and about most of the people he came in contact with at Google.

With all of Google's success and money as well as its sheer size (more than 80,000 employees now), it's easy to think of the company as something otherworldly.

What Knutson does - with his descriptions of bruised egos, turf wars, and politically minded bosses - is remind us that Google isn't all that different from anywhere else humans are employed.



Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: