Links and articles about technology, design, and sociology. Written by Rian van der Merwe. Follow @RianVDM
Google’s lack of user understanding
I’m linking to Sam Biddle’s Does Google Have Any Social Skills at All? with some caveats. I’m not a fan of headlines like that (here’s why), and there are way too many hyperbolic, trolling statements like “Nobody really uses Google+”. Still, the article makes some good points about Google’s lack of understanding of their users:
The keynote sounded one futuristic clarion call after another: Glass, the wearable computer; Google Now, a smartphone system that provides intricately tailored life information; the Nexus Q, a social media streamer; and a fancy new way to throw parties with Google+. But underneath each of these feats of technology you could see a hollow, lurching weirdness that makes you wonder: Who will use any of this stuff besides the actors in Google’s promo videos? ["¦]
In each case, Google has balanced on golden fingers a product — clearly with a lot of time, thought, and money behind it — that just doesn’t seem to jibe with the way we actually live our lives. There isn’t any lack of effort or innovation here, but rather a gaping disconnect between the way data geeks and the rest of us see the world.
I know Google does a lot of user research on their flagship products, but it doesn’t look like they do any Product Discovery or user need analysis on these new products. Maybe they’re genius designers, so they don’t need to do research. Or maybe not.