Friday, October 29, 2004

Google wants to keep it simple

Xeni Jardin posted a "rough transcript" of a talk by Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google) today. An excerpt:
    The average person does not want to debug their computer. We prefer instead the idea of a person typing something in and Google -- or someone else -- figuring things out for you. But very few things are organized around that principle of simplicity; we love and appreciate the complexity in technology but people using the internet really don't want that. When you see an ease of use breakthrough, it's such a wonderful thing.
Things should be simple. It should just work.

As obvious as this sounds, simplicity is not the focus of Google's competitors. For example, My Yahoo is focused on customization, an approach that requires a lot of work from its users. MSN Search leaked a design that seems headed toward more knobs to twiddle and more complexity. And even though Google knocked off AltaVista with a simple keyword search that just worked better, smaller competitors these days such as A9 and seem to be focusing on complicated interfaces with lots of little buttons to push.

But Google gets it. The computer should help you, not require work from you.

Update: The Economist is running an article, "Keep it simple", that claims, "The next big thing in technology... [is] the conquest of complexity."


Anony said...

If Google really got it, they would not require you to learn all of those search shortcuts to get to interesting context views. Reminds me of WordPerfect, who wanted us to memorize what F6 did, and we all know what happened there.

Rob said...

I think A9 are on the same track as Google, their main feature (history search) only requires you to install the toolbar but then requires no further effort.
I agree with you Yahoo and the likes of Ask Jeeves new personalization is too much work for people to catch on.