Ex-Google employee says the 'once-great company has slowly ceased to function' because of 4 core cultural problems

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Ex-Google employee says the 'once-great company has slowly ceased to function' because of 4 core cultural problems
Google has taken some heat since Microsoft unveiled its new Bing search engine powered with technology from OpenAI.Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress/Getty
  • Ex-Googler Praveen Seshadri wrote on Medium that employees are "trapped in a maze" of bureaucracy.
  • His comments follow other employees' reported critiques of Google's approach to generative AI.
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Former Google employee Praveen Seshadri said he witnessed a "gradual decay of a dominant empire" during his three years at Google, as the tech giant now grapples with the runaway success of OpenAI's ChatGPT.

In a lengthy Medium blog post with the tagline "What ails Google," Seshadri issued the grim diagnosis that the company's developments are being snared in a web of internal controls.

Even small product changes go through the rigor of a "NASA space launch," he wrote, calling out what he said were fundamental issues within the company, and declaring that "a once-great company has slowly ceased to function."

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He enumerated the company's "four core cultural problems" as being "no mission, no urgency, delusions of exceptionalism, mismanagement."

Representatives for Google didn't respond to Insider's emailed request for comment on Wednesday.

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Google has taken some heat this month as Microsoft rolled out its new Bing search engine, complete with a chatbot developed through a partnership with OpenAI.

Although Google had quickly announced its own chatbot, Bard, this month, the move was seen as reactive, and prompted disapproval by employees, who reportedly roasted it on an internal meme platform called "MemeGen."

Seshadri also critiqued Google employees in his post, calling MemeGen "a wallow chamber," and said that griping on it "doesn't help anything."

"Look in the mirror and see if you can change something positive at the level of your team and your product and your customer," he wrote in his post.

Seshadri, who'd joined Google when it bought a platform he co-founded called AppSheet, compared employees to "mice … trapped in a maze" of policies he said created inertia. He wrote that internal practices like "approvals, launch processes, legal reviews," were causing their work to languish.

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He also argued that employees at Google lacked a meaningful connection to the public consuming the internet, saying that the employees often "serve their manager or their VP," or other interests besides users.

Angst about Google's future also comes amid a somewhat checkered launch of Bard, which, in an ad, gave an inaccurate answer to a question about the James Webb Space Telescope.

OpenAI had also reportedly hired away talent from Google as it developed its generative AI tools, per the Information.

Read Seshadri's full post over on Medium.

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