GOOGLOCOLYPSE! Part 3
Last October I wrote an article entitled, “Three reasons to sell your google stock — now”. Then followed it up a few days later with an open letter to Sundar Pichai. Both are on my page if curious.
In a nutshell, I felt their businesses were maxed out, they lacked the necessary management skills to deal with the public and they’d most likely get broken up by the FEDS unless they took all their attention and focused on not being broken up for the next couple years. Being broken up isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a shot to the ego unless you fight it. If you fight, you lose. Because the single most powerful entity on the planet is the US FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. You can’t “win” you can work with them, but you can not win. Ask Bill Gates.
I was wrong about one thing (really two, but we’ll get there) in the previous articles, I did not predict things would go downhill so quickly. If the last 6 months are any indication, in the next two years they’ll be broken up and lose market share across the board in what may be the wildest descent into chaos corporate America has ever seen.
Other than the stock being up $400 since I said to sell I stand by the forecast in the articles. (I thought it had some room to grow before taking a hit but it’s still a meteor and the 2nd thing I got wrong) I also wanted to share some observations I’ve seen recently as a Google customer and shareholder.
#1 Search Business
I heard grumblings last week that some of the GOOGLIES have become concerned their open source policy is allowing the competition to focus on creating a better product while Google services all the day-to-day issues. They need competition, but especially if your company lacks the pulse of social trends or upper management was distracted by something like a Federal anti-trust case, (again, ask Bill Gates) things can catch up to you very quickly.
Google is search. If Firefox is starting to establish some creative, non-creepy products to threaten the Google ecosystem. That would be hilarious. It would be like the Yankee’s losing to the Tampa Bay Ray’s and also paying 75% of the Ray’s player salaries.
I said they would face federal monopolistic business practices inquire. Literally, a few days after my article the Feds went public with their investigation to look into Google’s potential monopoly. And it’s already taking focus away from the C-Suits day jobs. (again, ask Bill Gates how this can happen)
Wall Street is always the last to see any instability when a company has problems. And all the Street sees is money right now. Which is fine, but the reality is, all the little problems and sorta stupid short-sighted moves Google is known for, have been replaced with really stupid moves and big problems.
#3 Timnit Gebru (former co-head of Google’s ethical AI research team)
Based on how this went down she sounds like a pain in the ass, to be honest. If you threaten to quit if you don’t get your way, and they call you on it, at least be adult about it. No matter your position, if you work for one of the 5 most valuable companies on earth, there are going to be times you have to work with people. That being said, when they fired Timnit Gebru it was obvious they didn’t pay attention to what the temperature outside was. And that was because they put no thought into it. You don’t fire an internal watchdog you hired to monitor your business. If you do, you do it quietly by finding them another job.
Google strikes me as a giant place filled with absolute genius that has moderate autism and can’t deal with basic human logic or the general public. What they need to hire is a Chief Officer in Charge of the Obvious or CoCo.
One of the first moves they made once they realized they fucked up, was to bring in Marian Croak to replace Timnit. Marian is respected, she will work within the system as she worked at ATT (ATT is the opposite of google — Really stupid, not even slightly autistic) before the move to Google. However, I don’t think she’s ever worked in AI. And I feel like AI isn’t something you, ‘get up to speed on in a couple of weeks’.
The other problem is they are reactively replacing a black woman with a black woman. Which, had Marian been an AI guru, would have not make a bit of difference. I mean….. it just feels like team Aspbergers was sitting around the board room and someone said, “Let’s make sure to hire another black woman so everyone knows we aren’t racist because we just fired a black woman.” and 3/4 the of the room said, “Great idea!!” When you fire someone who turns around and calls you “Institutuionaly racist”, you might want to not mess the replacement hire up by being (sorta) racist in your methodology.
From Engadget (A. Terantola)
Additionally, Google shuffled its AI teams so that the ethical AI researchers would no longer report to Megan Kacholia. However the company managed to step on one last rake by failing to notify the Ethical AI team of the changes until after Croak had been hired.
Seriously? And people don’t think long-term someone isn’t about lap them in ad sales?
Now they are facing such backlash with their AI they had to establish a “sensitive topics” review council to look into the AI ethics. And a recent internal email leaked, highlighted by the following concern from Nicholas Carlini, (who pointed out to hundreds of colleagues) — seeking to draw their attention to “deeply insidious” edits by company lawyers to important AI academic & peer papers. The premise was changing the language to sound nicer as Google is basically building SKY-NET.
*Now, if SKYNET takes over as acting CEO, I’m calling Google a very “Strong Buy”*
No company ever wants “AI” and “DEEPLY INSIDIOUS” in the same paragraph.
The significant problems facing the AI program are most likely so complex we won’t even understand they are problems for 20 years. With something this powerful and this independent, you need some oversight. Or at least qualified people trying to come up with “what if” scenario’s to help anticipate real problems. If they did build SKYNET, they can’t just fire it and ignore being called a “racist”.
For shits and giggles, take a look at the https://ai.google/social-good/ website. Oh my god, it’s the biggest load of nonsense I have ever read.
A little tease,
At Google, we believe that AI can provide new ways of approaching problems and meaningfully improve people’s lives. With AI, we have another tool to explore and address hard, unanswered questions. What if people could predict natural disasters before they happen? Track disease as it spreads, to eliminate it sooner? Or dramatically improve the lives of people with disabilities?
Or build terminators out of tungsten that shoot nuclear missiles out of their eyes. Either way, it’ll be entertaining to see what AI comes up with.
#4 Google Fi — I’m isolating FI to show one example I had recently, but just about every department at Google has its own insane story.
Then we have this dumpster fire covered in napalm. I praised it before but mentioned the customer service is a problem. Well, it’s gone from a “problem” to a hilarious mishmash of global citizens trying to solve problems they have no idea how to solve from their kitchen table while (conjecture) watching either 4 children fight to the death over a hot pocket or an episode of the Flintstones.
They do not offer customer support over the phone. As a “phone company” I find this troubling. In fact, I don’t think there is anyone working for Google Fi in north America. I spent two hours on chat with a Philipino person who accidentally canceled my service instead of adding another phone line. They also told me they couldn’t call me because of “COVID”. No, I don’t have any idea what that meant either.
During the two hours “on chat” with them I searched around online trying to find the person in charge of Google Fi. They must have a CEO, or manager., something. I found nothing but people that used to work there. I’m serious, I think Google Fi has become sentient and is using a Radio Shack TRS-8 (circa 1980) as its brain.
When was the last time you couldn’t find out who was running a major division of a top 10 company? I can find a flow chart on every company in China worth 1/5th what Google is worth.
I did find some nutty stuff trying to solve this puzzle. Things that didn't help my opinion that Google is a clown show. The link below was on QUORA when someone asked the same question. The link is old but highlights what absolute chaos that place is.
I also found something called X. Or Google X, Project X or something, the CEO is named ‘Astro Teller’. Nothing on their phone company (and given they own the world’s most common operating system for frickin’ phones it also feels weird), but I did find a business named X run by the dog from the JETSON’s (old cartoon) which doesn’t really have a description of what they do.
I don’t care what the stock price is, there is no way in hell this thing survives in its current state.
What made Google so likable was the fact that it was free. If you are exceeding expectations with your quarterly reports and at the center of a (along with Facebook) once in a generation fluke change over from cable to internet, you can give all sorts of products away for free. Or spending serious cash on boondogles Larry Page thinks are “cool”. No one got too pissed when you pulled apps they had integrated into their daily lives. Things like your free music streaming app, or discontinued INBOX, GOOGLE DESKTOP, GOOGLE URL SHORTENER, GOOGLE BUMP, GOOGLE ALLO, GOOGLE RIDE FINDER, (Uber before Uber — kinda) FIBER, GOOGLE PLUS, etc, etc, are part of your quirky nature when everything else is free. But as you start to tighten the belt with competition for ad sales gets real, and start asking for money to store things you previously gave away for free, people will look at their options.
And that’s when the landslide begins. My relevant data is with you because you USED to have a free music player with all my music I have owned for years, or because I was a customer of Google Fi. However, now that Fi is literally the worst thing on the planet I’m moving carriers and moving my music to AMAZON, so you are losing that precious data. And forcing me to house my music in Youtube’s shitbox to drive more revenue (you do know an ad before the video and 2 more a couple of minutes in is more than network TV, right?) is infuriating.
Perfect segway to Youtube. Whatever goodwill you guys had amassed you have spent in the last year with your radical changes to youtube advertising. I don’t care how long they are, there are just too many ads. And there has yet to be a viable long-form competitor to youtube, but Tiktoks’s move to add videos up to 4 minutes while you guys push creators to make longer vids so you can add more commercials is going to be the first bullet that ultimately kills the cash cow known as Youtube.
The “Creator Support Program” was a ‘friends of Google’ program really. Susan and Youtube have fucked over creators at every turn. Let me be very clear,
…The people who make your programming, out of pocket, hate you….
Youtube’s business model is, “Sell ads around shit we got for free”, If there is no “Shit we got for free’” can you sell ads? I do not have an MBA, but my guess is no.
All that being said, the stock is up over $2,000 a share and Sundar made $2,000,000. last year. Oh and $242,000,000 in stock options. Who knows, maybe this AI doesn’t kill every man. woman and child on the planet and is a big success. Of course, Google makes their money selling ads for plumbers and pizza coupons. Not sure how AI is going to improve on that business but what do I know.