Day 4 Google Product Interview Preparation
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We are going to discuss 2 Questions about Google Maps and Uber.
1. How would you improve Google Maps?
Interviewer: How would you improve Google Maps?
Shailesh: Okay, first let me clarify my understanding of Google Maps, as it is a very big product. Google Maps provide a lot of functionality like Maps in different formats(Street view, Terrain view, normal View, etc.), navigation from one place to another place, it provides features for exploring nearby in which you can explore nearest ATMs, Cafes, Gas station, etc and also it has the feature of a local guide in which you can contribute and earn some points. This is my understanding of Google Maps. Do you want me to go ahead or do you want me to focus on something else which I haven’t mentioned?Interviewer: Not this is good.
Shailesh: Okay before jumping onto the solution, I have some questions which I want to clarify. My first question is since Google map is a very big product and a lot of scope for improvement. I would like to focus on exploring nearby features and that too on the restaurant side because Gooogle Maps is losing a lot of market share from zomato, dineout, easydine, etc. Google may improve the offering there and can increase the market share there as well, are we aligned on this?
Interviewer: This seems okay, please go ahead.
Shailesh: My next question is regarding the type of engagement since engagement can be of different types. If I tie the engagement to the business metric, we can improve acquisition, engagement, and monetization. What are we particularly focusing on? according to me, we can try to increase the user experience and engagement because a lot of people are there who already use google maps, so the acquisition is not an issue here. Also if we go ahead and increase the user experience and engagement will be having future paths for more revenue. What do you think about this?
Interviewer: Yes I am aligned with this.
Shailesh: Alright, my next question is there any particular geography or demography we have in mind, or should I go ahead and do it globally.
Interviewer: I guess you can go ahead with the global population.
Shailesh: My last question is about constraints, do we have resource or time constraints, I am asking this question because this may play an important role while prioritizing the features for the future roadmap.
Interviewer: No, you aren’t bound by that.
Shailesh: Okay let me form a goal from whatever we have discussed till now, The objective of the problem is to increase the dining experience in exploring a nearby section of google maps globally and any constraint doesn’t bind us. Sounds okay?
Shailesh: Cool, the way I would like to approach this problem is, first will see our customer segment and their user journey and, depending on that, will see some of the pain points. After prioritizing the pain points, we can see potential solutions and corresponding success metrics. At last, we can think of some of the potential tradeoffs or some future aspects of the Solution.
Interviewer: Sounds Great, please go ahead.
Shailesh: So let's think of our potential user personas.
- People who know exactly where they are going and what they are going to have there in the restaurants. They are the ones who are very particular about their dining experience, do a lot of homework before going to any restaurant. Budget is not a very big problem for them
- People who are the ones who don’t know where the next place they should go. They are the lazy people who ask people about recommendations. They are confused people and also regret a lot of time after a bad experience.
- People who are not very particular, can explore anything and eat anything there. They are not fussy about any kind of food or restaurant preference. The only thing they are worried about is the cost.
Shailesh: Should I go ahead and pick one persona to solve the problem.
Interviewer: yes, please.
Shailesh: I think we can target the second persona who are confused people who don’t know where they should go, this is the one which I can personally relate to. Also if I plot a normal curve and put these user personas on this, they are the ones who acquire the largest area under a curve because of their sheer volume. So solving problems for them will create a greater impact. Whats do you think about this.
Interviewer: I think I am aligned with this reasoning.
Shailesh: Okay now let’s think of their user journey so that we can have some pain points regarding that.
- Decide the date, think and discuss the restaurant they can go to.
- Collaborate with friends if they are also going along with them and decide remotely the place which is recommended to both.
- Reach to the restaurant
- Decide the dish which they should order there.
- Have their meal and order more if they want to.
- Search the promo code or discount coupon they can apply and pay the bill
- Share the pictures and experience on social media.
Shailesh: Now I will decide the painpoint from the user journey.
- Deciding the place according to my preference, Google maps gives a lot of recommendations, but choosing from a long list is confusing and painful.
- Remotely deciding the place which is suitable for me and my friends is very frustrating.
- Deciding what to eat there according to my preference is painful. Although there are certain dishes which is recommended still personalized suggestion is missing.
- There is a broken social experience. People are inherently validation seekers, so I am worried about clicking photos and posting on social media to get maximum likes or engagement.
Shailesh: Now what I will do is prioritize these pain points depending on the intensity and frequency of grievances and think about the main objective of the problem. This way, we will cover both the depth and breadth of the pain point. What do you think about it?
Interviewer: Yes it is always good to prioritize depending on how important that pain point solve and its after impact.
Shailesh: Correct, so let me do the prioritization. Deciding the place is a real pain and it occurs every time we are going outside, so I think it is the most common problem to solve. Remotely deciding the restaurant is also painful, but I will give it a low because someone in the group knows the best place so that it does not occur regularly. Deciding what to order is also very painful and it occurs almost every time. Regarding social experience, I think I will also rate this as low because not many people care about this thing. So I will go ahead and solve pain points #1 and #3. What do you think regarding this?Interviewer: Yes you can go ahead and solve this.
Shailesh: Okay let’s go ahead and brainstorm some of the solutions regarding this.
Solution to painpoint #1
- Next 3 restaurants you want to try: Google Maps can have features like the next 3 restaurants you want to try this will reduce the number of recommendations and abide by hick’s law of design which says that if you reduce the number of choices then, the confusion among the people regarding choice reduces. In this feature, the next three restaurants will be decided with the help of your previous google searches, your preferred location, previous visits(your exploration and exploitation behavior), your food history, your previous reviews left, etc. Combining them all will give you the next 3 restaurants you can try. [Mid Effort][High Impact]
- Geofencing: Google Maps can have features based on geofencing which is basically a real-time solution, so based on your previous search, food preference, previous visits, it can give you personalized recommendations. For example, if you have searched for burgers in Bangalore and you are near truffles. So you would be getting personalized suggestions with offers stating something like this “Would you like to try All American Cheese Burger from truffles at 40% discount exclusively for you”. This will definitely increase the real-time decision. [Mid Effort][Mid Impact]
- Restaurant AR/VR: In Google Maps, rather than providing photos of ambiance, we can have 3d photos or AR/VR views of the restaurant of how it looks like so that people have better control of where they are going and it can increase trust. [High Effort][High Impact]
- Collaborative filtering based suggestion: Google has the culture of follower and following but it hasn’t been realized much thoroughly. Google can give suggestions based on where your friends have eaten or what food they like. It can also recommend you from the collaborative filtering of what I should try next. [Mid Effort][High Impact]
- Ask Expert: Google can have features like ask expert, in which you will be having a chat option of asking experts about the next place to try. People who have visited a lot of places and posted a lot of reviews can sign up for this. Every suggestion they give and every liked suggestion will earn them reward points and discount for the future. [Mid Effort][High Impact]
Solution to painpoint #4
- Personalized Suggestion: Same as #1 above but for dish [Mid Effort][High Impact]
- AR/VR view of the dish: Same as #3 above but for dish [High Effort][High Impact]
- Subconscious Menu: Google can have a retina tracking feature that will help the user decide what he is craving at that point in time. So the user will be asked to look onto the camera in the phone and then after adjustment, he will be shown real pictures of the dishes available there. Depending on retina movement of eyes, will generate heatmap and suggest the dishes accordingly. [High Effort][High Impact]
- Conjoint-based recommendation: Google can have conjoint-based filtering in which certain questions will be asked in terms of pictures. Users have to choose 1 out of 2 pictures. Then part-worth of intrinsic attributes will be calculated and depending on that, dishes having maximum part worth to the user will be given recommendations. [Mid Effort][Mid Impact]
Shailesh: Now let me go ahead and prioritize the features depending on the impact and effort required to build. I would want the “Next 3 restaurants you want to try” and “Personalised Suggestions for the dish” for the current release. The other solution like AR/VR can be strategic and can be on our roadmap at a later stage.
Interviewer: Okay what are the metrics you would want to track?
Shailesh: Yes, now that I would like to track a few metrics coming onto the metrics part.
- The ratio of the people who actually went to try one of the next three suggested places to the total number of people to whom suggestions were given. [North Star Metric].
- The average amount of time people spend on this restaurant discovery feature in exploring nearby.
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2. How would you increase the revenue of Uber?
Interviewer: How would you increase the revenue of Uber?
Shailesh: Okay first let me clarify the understanding of Uber as a platform and its business model so that we are not on the same page. Uber is the platform that is facilitating mobility, there are different businesses it is into like Uber Freights, Uber Car, Uber Eats. So the overall mission of Uber is to make mobility accessible to and everyone in a seamless manner. Now talking about Uber's business model, Uber takes the commission of every mobility service it provided be it Uber as a cab, Uber as online food delivery or Uber freight. Is my broad understanding of Uber and the platform is correct or do you want me to focus on something else?
Interviewer: No this understanding seems okay.
Shailesh: Now coming back to the question, we need to increase the revenue of Uber. I have some questions regarding this which I want to clarify. My first question is what is the main aim of increasing revenue, have we seen some kind of drop or stagnation in the Revenue, If I tie it to the business metrics, have the number of rides been stagnant or what? Or do we want to expand to different markets?
Interviewer: Yeah, the number of daily rides which uber is completing is kind of not growing at the pace it wants it to.
Shailesh: Alright, are we seeing this trend on some geographical location or we are seeing it globally?
Interviewer: No we are seeing it globally.
Shailesh: Okay my last question, do we have any time or resource constraints that I should be aware of? I am asking this question because it may play an important role while prioritizing the features.
Interviewer: No you are not bound by that.
Shailesh: The way I would like to go about it is first we can think of the customer personas who are using Uber and the ones who can use Uber in near future. On a very high-level Uber revenue = No. of Rides * Revenue per ride. So I would want to explore each opportunity like first we will see how can we increase the no. of Rides on Uber and then we will see how can we increase revenue per ride. Finally, we will give the final recommendation. Sounds okay?
Interviewer: Sounds great.
Shailesh: First let’s think of the ways of increasing No. of rides.
- Uber can provide intercity/intra city bus services which can be booked directly via the mobile app. The real-time tracking will help users to get a more seamless mobility experience.
- Uber can provide emergency services in which it can tie with hospitals or have its own ambulances to help people who want to have mobility services in an emergency.
- Uber can provide a demand 2/4 wheeler self-driving service in which you can book the vehicle from the pickup point and drop it to the destination point. Uber can allow peer-to-peer booking of vehicles. people can lend their vehicles to those in need so that they can some money.
Shailesh: Now let’s talk about, how to increase the revenue per ride. I think we can increase the revenue per ride in the following manner.
- Provide uber entertainment services like video gaming, prebooking of snacks, etc.
- When some carnival function or cricket match gets over, it is nearly impossible to find a ride back home. So Uber can have a priority pass kind of feature that helps them book a ride in priority.
Shailesh: I think these features can help Uber to increase revenue.
Interviewer: Okay thanks for your recommendations.