Google Arrogance? I've Never Seen Them So Humble

Mike Elgan criticizes Google for being condescending in a recent column on one of the dead tree IT rags. His first point is that Google PR exec Gabriel Stricker started off a recent press conference with a quip about how fast paced Google innovation is:

He said that the reason Google holds events like this one was that “we hear from a lot of you that with the kind of breakneck pace of innovation that we go through at Google, it’s nice for us to kind of let you catch your breath.” He went on to tell the audience that they would “hear from our Search rocket scientists in a second who will hold your hand through the latest and greatest of what we’re up to.”

So Google is so awesome that the company has to pause so the rest of the world can catch its breath? And we’re all so stupid that Google geniuses have to “hold our hands” as they explain things?

He backs up his point with recent comments by Google CEO Eric Schmidt on what users want Google to build, and on privacy issues.

So first off this looks to me like an example of media mass manipulation I wrote about recently. At first blush, knowing how the whole press game works, Elgan is pissed off at Google for something or other and wrote this post.

But even if it really is something that’s been nagging him for some time, I just don’t see it. Google is far less arrogant than they were even a few years ago. And even I, possibly the most sensitive and defensive person you’ll ever meet, don’t see Elgan’s examples as condescending in any way.

Remember when Google blackballed CNET in 2005 for posting information about Schmidt?

That was a year after they went public, when companies are typically at their peak of arrogance. And boy was that a condescending thing to do.

More recently I’ve seen a Google that’s been humbled by droves of engineers leaving for Facebook and Twitter, a Google humbled by China, and a Google generally terrified of an upcoming decade where they may not be the center of attention on the Internet.

The Google I’ve seen recently is a humble Google. A Google that appreciates press more and that seems more willing to consider change. Most of the arrogance I see is across town at Facebook, which is exactly what I’d expect from a company on the rise.