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How Google Blew Up Its Open Culture and Compromised Its Product

March 12, 2024
Big Technology
In an article for Big Technology, David Kiferbaum, a former Google employee from 2015 to 2023, discusses the decline of Google’s once-celebrated open culture and its repercussions on the company's products. Kiferbaum shares his observations on how intense focus on politically correct language and the controversial firing of an employee for questioning diversity practices marked the beginning of the end for open discourse within the company. He reflects on the pre-2017 era when employees engaged freely in robust discussions at TGIF meetings, a practice that dwindled following leadership's response to internal and external controversies. This shift away from openness towards a more restrictive culture of communication, according to Kiferbaum, has visibly affected Google's product innovation and effectiveness, notably in instances like the Gemini project's failures and the stagnation of Google Assistant. The piece underscores the broader implications of a silenced workforce, suggesting that without a revival of its foundational open questioning ethos, Google is at risk of further setbacks, alienating both its employees and its user base.
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