Could Google Reader team have done a better PR job?

Looking back on it I’m wondering if the Google Reader team could have done a few things differently in the PR realm?

Looking at the advice to startups that ReadWriteWeb gave the answer is clear: yes.

Did the Google Reader team show anyone at a conference the new feature? No. Strike @1.
Did the Google Reader team do a video? No. Strike #2.
Did the Google Reader team brief bloggers ahead of time and get their feedback? No. Strike #3.
Did the Google Reader team show its #1 customer/user these features and get feedback? No. Strike #4.
Did the Google Reader team give an interview to a video journalist like Kara Swisher (or me) before release? No. Strike #5.
Did the Google Reader team release on Tuesday-Thursday, like ReadWriteWeb suggests? No. Strike #6.
Did the Google Reader team have a demo to show off? No. Strike #7.

Now, I’m not saying that the community still wouldn’t have reacted the way it did, but at least we would have had a dialog going and we would have had a lot more to go on and talk about than what they did end up doing, which was releasing a short blog post about the new features without even a screen shot.

That, to me, is setting up the team to fail.

It’s amazing to me that the company that owns TWO video services doesn’t get the power of video. Hello, Vic Gundotra, what’s going on here? Where was the campfire for new stuff? If the Google Reader team showed this to a few bloggers over a campfire they might have heard this feedback earlier when they could have done something about it.

77 thoughts on “Could Google Reader team have done a better PR job?

  1. Pingback: Fh on earth
  2. I still don’t understand why someone would keep their rss feeds on google reader.. I’ve been using Firefox Sage extension for a couple years.. works great.. total privacy, runs locally in my Firefox browser..

    Why would you want google monitoring yet another aspect of your online life. Given the latest fubar from google, for sure, I’ll never use Google Reader or Gmail or other. After all the trouble Facebook got in.. why doesn’t the tech industry learn?

    Beside tracking your web behavior through their reader and gmail, seems to me, google’s domination plan is to get a bit of javascript on every web page in the universe.. particularly troublesome if someone doesn’t see the damage to privacy that can be caused by their acquisition of double click. think about that.. for example.. if you visit a web page that runs google analytics.. there’s google javascript in there.. if you’re on a web page with google adsense.. javascript again.. all they need to do is ping their server with your visit, and they’ve got your behavior tracked. think about this reach extending to all the sites on which double click has ads.

    hmm.. me thinks someone from the tech industry should be speaking up regarding this outrage.

  3. I still don’t understand why someone would keep their rss feeds on google reader.. I’ve been using Firefox Sage extension for a couple years.. works great.. total privacy, runs locally in my Firefox browser..

    Why would you want google monitoring yet another aspect of your online life. Given the latest fubar from google, for sure, I’ll never use Google Reader or Gmail or other. After all the trouble Facebook got in.. why doesn’t the tech industry learn?

    Beside tracking your web behavior through their reader and gmail, seems to me, google’s domination plan is to get a bit of javascript on every web page in the universe.. particularly troublesome if someone doesn’t see the damage to privacy that can be caused by their acquisition of double click. think about that.. for example.. if you visit a web page that runs google analytics.. there’s google javascript in there.. if you’re on a web page with google adsense.. javascript again.. all they need to do is ping their server with your visit, and they’ve got your behavior tracked. think about this reach extending to all the sites on which double click has ads.

    hmm.. me thinks someone from the tech industry should be speaking up regarding this outrage.

  4. Robert, did you see @7? I’m trapped on a plane, like many people today. Responding well around holidays can be pretty hard.

  5. Robert, did you see @7? I’m trapped on a plane, like many people today. Responding well around holidays can be pretty hard.

  6. When Google releases a new product, it always begs forgiveness rather than asking permission. That’s because, as the head of Google in Arizona told me, “our mission is to make all the world’s knowledge available and accessible.” Your shared items, I suppose, are part of the world’s knowledge.

    The other thing Google does is put stuff out there and let people do what they will with it. Inevitably, some stuff will be rejected. No big whoop. I assume privacy does not exist on the web — that’s why it’s an internet. It connects.

  7. When Google releases a new product, it always begs forgiveness rather than asking permission. That’s because, as the head of Google in Arizona told me, “our mission is to make all the world’s knowledge available and accessible.” Your shared items, I suppose, are part of the world’s knowledge.

    The other thing Google does is put stuff out there and let people do what they will with it. Inevitably, some stuff will be rejected. No big whoop. I assume privacy does not exist on the web — that’s why it’s an internet. It connects.

  8. @29. Given Google’s stock price and the fact that their brand is now pretty much a verb, I rather doubt they are losing much sleep over adoption rates of their other applications or the fact that they don’t have “video demos” of their apps. Anything that drives users to use their search technology is a good thing in their eyes. Mapquest doesn’t seem to have boosted AOL much.

    @24. Amazon for the longest time had “millions in revenue”, too. How long before they started turning a profit? How much PROFIT does PodTech have? Is their balance sheet in the red or the black? How much PROFIT do your “millions of viewers” result in?

  9. @29. Given Google’s stock price and the fact that their brand is now pretty much a verb, I rather doubt they are losing much sleep over adoption rates of their other applications or the fact that they don’t have “video demos” of their apps. Anything that drives users to use their search technology is a good thing in their eyes. Mapquest doesn’t seem to have boosted AOL much.

    @24. Amazon for the longest time had “millions in revenue”, too. How long before they started turning a profit? How much PROFIT does PodTech have? Is their balance sheet in the red or the black? How much PROFIT do your “millions of viewers” result in?

  10. @22. That wasn’t my point. My point was YOU didn’t think there was a problem with the way they implemented it and bascially said if people didn’t like it, they didn’t understand the concept of “privacy” on the internet. YOU “reviewed” the product once you saw it “released”. Now you are jumping on the bash Google bandwagon because your peers aren’t of the same opinion you originally had? What good would it have done for them to give YOU a briefing? Are you saying you would have had a different opinion of how they implemented sharing had you been briefed by Google PR rather than “reviewing” it on it’s own?

  11. @22. That wasn’t my point. My point was YOU didn’t think there was a problem with the way they implemented it and bascially said if people didn’t like it, they didn’t understand the concept of “privacy” on the internet. YOU “reviewed” the product once you saw it “released”. Now you are jumping on the bash Google bandwagon because your peers aren’t of the same opinion you originally had? What good would it have done for them to give YOU a briefing? Are you saying you would have had a different opinion of how they implemented sharing had you been briefed by Google PR rather than “reviewing” it on it’s own?

  12. Rob

    Podtech is going to be joining the deadpool soon. Revenue != profit. You and I both know that.

    You lack credibility. You jump on a new bandwagon every month (Podtech being one) and when it fizzles out you move on.

    So I ask you again – what have you accomplished that lends credibility to your suggestions? I take Winer seriously because he’s made real contributions.

    Even you claim to love talking to the guys who actually BUILD the technology because they offer real insight. I have to question your insight (and again your credibility) because you are not one of these guys and you have not really built a succesful business.

  13. Rob

    Podtech is going to be joining the deadpool soon. Revenue != profit. You and I both know that.

    You lack credibility. You jump on a new bandwagon every month (Podtech being one) and when it fizzles out you move on.

    So I ask you again – what have you accomplished that lends credibility to your suggestions? I take Winer seriously because he’s made real contributions.

    Even you claim to love talking to the guys who actually BUILD the technology because they offer real insight. I have to question your insight (and again your credibility) because you are not one of these guys and you have not really built a succesful business.

  14. #21 No. its not their decision, pls don’t assume as a Free Product. This is an exchange between users and a company by a “Free relationship”, you give your data free, they give free services and making money on it. It doesn’t mean they can do anything they want. They have more than 90% control on your data, how much control you have? If communities don’t demand for control then the companies decision is the final one, eventually would become a law.

    privacy is a dynamic and rapidly changing in 21 century. no one has clear definition, people want to make money, hence privacy being defined by trial and error basis. Google using this as a chance for viral marketing and outsourcing their privacy related concerns to users and understanding their reactions/emotions. welcome to privacy 2.0. to me, privacy is something that has to allow ME to determine to whom and when my information is to be shared (GReader’s new feature went beyond this limit, I hope they don’t do when I have my DNA info at 23andme). This definition is somewhat vague, can’t be applied to Government bodies, you have no opt-out with Govt but I can move my data among private companies (in this case, export in Greader). Personally, I have less trust on private companies (especially Google) than Gov, hence I store my data around clouds.

    Kind rgrds
    Saran

  15. #21 No. its not their decision, pls don’t assume as a Free Product. This is an exchange between users and a company by a “Free relationship”, you give your data free, they give free services and making money on it. It doesn’t mean they can do anything they want. They have more than 90% control on your data, how much control you have? If communities don’t demand for control then the companies decision is the final one, eventually would become a law.

    privacy is a dynamic and rapidly changing in 21 century. no one has clear definition, people want to make money, hence privacy being defined by trial and error basis. Google using this as a chance for viral marketing and outsourcing their privacy related concerns to users and understanding their reactions/emotions. welcome to privacy 2.0. to me, privacy is something that has to allow ME to determine to whom and when my information is to be shared (GReader’s new feature went beyond this limit, I hope they don’t do when I have my DNA info at 23andme). This definition is somewhat vague, can’t be applied to Government bodies, you have no opt-out with Govt but I can move my data among private companies (in this case, export in Greader). Personally, I have less trust on private companies (especially Google) than Gov, hence I store my data around clouds.

    Kind rgrds
    Saran

  16. Peter: here’s an assignment for you. Do a survey of all Google’s products and then see how many of them have a video demo of how they work. Hint: it’s a pretty small percentage.

    Second, for a MAJOR feature like this (social networking is the year’s hottest trend) they SHOULD pull out all the PR stops. It’s how you get adoption. Something that Google isn’t very good at, by the way. Even Google Maps still isn’t #1 in the marketplace. Ask yourself why that is.

  17. Peter: here’s an assignment for you. Do a survey of all Google’s products and then see how many of them have a video demo of how they work. Hint: it’s a pretty small percentage.

    Second, for a MAJOR feature like this (social networking is the year’s hottest trend) they SHOULD pull out all the PR stops. It’s how you get adoption. Something that Google isn’t very good at, by the way. Even Google Maps still isn’t #1 in the marketplace. Ask yourself why that is.

  18. @26: You can now tag entries in various ways, and choose to make particular tags public at an obfuscated URL a la the old system. These aren’t automatically shared with all your friends. Also, you can move all your old “shared” items to a particular tag, if you intended them to be sent only to “people interested in my market research” or whatever.

  19. @26: You can now tag entries in various ways, and choose to make particular tags public at an obfuscated URL a la the old system. These aren’t automatically shared with all your friends. Also, you can move all your old “shared” items to a particular tag, if you intended them to be sent only to “people interested in my market research” or whatever.

  20. Oh please. “Doesn’t use video to communicate with its customers”? There have been videos for all kinds of Google releases including Street View and Android, as well as an entire YouTube channel devoted to explaining Google’s privacy practices. Not posting a video about a tiny feature tweak doesn’t seem like evidence of complete systemic failure to me. And would it have helped, anyway? The only thing that could have defused the tiny but loud group complaining about how Google ruined Christmas would have been to not release the feature in the form it released. A video explaining things would have helped no more than the blog post.

  21. Oh please. “Doesn’t use video to communicate with its customers”? There have been videos for all kinds of Google releases including Street View and Android, as well as an entire YouTube channel devoted to explaining Google’s privacy practices. Not posting a video about a tiny feature tweak doesn’t seem like evidence of complete systemic failure to me. And would it have helped, anyway? The only thing that could have defused the tiny but loud group complaining about how Google ruined Christmas would have been to not release the feature in the form it released. A video explaining things would have helped no more than the blog post.

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