Making stuff as a founder of Avocado. Former music-maker. Tuna melt advocate. Started Google Reader. (But smarter people made it great.)

Corporate blogs, written well.

I've grown to enjoy the official Yahoo! Search Blog and the Ask Jeeves Blog. They update frequently, have substantive, well-written posts and each blog has a unique style and is engaging. That corporate voice whose tenor usually creeps into the-song-every-company-likes-to-sing is dampened and even absent at times. Often each product announcement or investigation highlights a personal story that allows excitement to be palpable but downplays self-aggrandizement and often exposes the author's voice. It's real (or seems real) and it makes each post fun to read.

The Google Blog hasn't caught up yet. It's a surprising mis-representation - the culture we work in is fast, decisive, and colloquial but the blog voice is stiff. It's your not-so-cool uncle unbuttoning his shirt, listening to The Postal Service (but only the single of Such Great Heights) and proclaiming that Yeah, I totally dig your stuff you kids, this hip-hop speaks to me too. Um. Dogg. *flashes hang ten sign*.

I feel weird when I keep seeing the TPS-reports language pop up - it's the well-meant stuff like tying product margins and management needs and find out how they can help your business that almost but doesn't quite make the jump over the canyon. It's interesting... but it's not a naked man standing next to Will Hung.

Uncle Google is very smart, of course - I mean our favorite uncle's pockets have serious protectors and his slide rule is well-oiled, but he sure could use a month's sabbatical in Marrakech with only a jar of figs, a map of Saskatchewan, and his moxie to keep him alive.
posted at February 18, 2005, 12:39 AM


  • At 10:14 AM, Blogger Pete said…

    Yeah, but what if your uncle has listened to the whole album, and considers "Such Great Heights" the only song worth listening to?

  • At 2:01 PM, Blogger Chris Wetherell said…

    He didn't really listen to it. I know 'cuz I noticed he turned the volume down. On the brand new iPod I gave him!

  • At 4:51 PM, Blogger Adam Lasnik said…

    Amen! The Googleblog ain't the Google I know and love.

    A friend of mine commented bluntly, "The tone is patronizing... it's like they're saying, hi, we're better than you but we're going to give you a glimpse into our wonderful company and oh-so-delightful world, you lucky dogs you. Did we mention that we're aw shucks humble?"

    I work near Google, I party and dance with Googlers, and the Googlers I know aren't like that.

    Your blog as it's currently written is, IMHO, damaging your brand, not helping it. Besides, it always announces GoogleTidbits a few days AFTER the rest of the blogosphere has already learned about them, so it's not even very informative.

  • At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Caterina Fake said…

    Totally agree. It has the detergenty whiff of "Cleaned by PR Department" all over it.

  • At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Goddess Eunomia said…

    Yo yo yo! Don't forget about mindsay bloggers, dawg!

    Just kidding, I don't have a clue what I just said.

    My friend from Great Britain sent me your link to the Elven name generator!

    How the fuck cool is that?

    I'm in Michigan. You're in San Fran. He's in Great Britain.

    Ahhh (rubbing hands together) the great world wide web.

  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger Michael Griffiths said…

    The Google Blog has, quite frankly, hurt my impression of the Google brand.


    I've actually dropped Google as my main search engine, using it instead as a "backup", almost entirely because of the Google blog.

  • At 1:54 AM, Blogger markjen said…

    better watch out talking like that, you might get dooced. just kidding :)

  • At 7:54 AM, Blogger ifindkarma said…

    I clicked on "Such Great Heights" to go to Yoohoo Launch to try to watch the video. So when I click on the video in Firefox I get:


    To use this application with Netscape, you must use a 4.7x or 7.1 version. Download now.

    Please use the following error code when writing to Yahoo! Help. (Error Code: 12)"

    I'm even lamer than your not-so-cool uncle, because I'm going to have to login to iTunes just to hear The Postal Service...

  • At 12:29 AM, Blogger Chris Wetherell said…

    "I've actually dropped Google as my main search engine, using it instead as a "backup", almost entirely because of the Google blog."

    Really? That just seems silly to me.

  • At 12:36 AM, Blogger Chris Wetherell said…

    "I'm going to have to login to iTunes just to hear The Postal Service..."

    I'm sorry the Yahoo! link didn't work. I just realized you can also watch the 'Such Great Heights' video at Sub Pop.

  • At 7:50 AM, Blogger ifindkarma said…

    Thank you, Chris. That's awesome.

    I know it wasn't your intention to sell an album with your post, but you just did.

    I was never really into Death Cab for Cutie -- too dark for me -- but after listening to the tracks of TPS's "Give Up" album I really wanted to buy it.

    Wait a second... The Postal Service... TPS... TPS-reports... coincidence?

  • At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Laura said…

    D'oh! The Postal Service??! I've been doing this all wrong and been grooving to Iron and Wine's toned-down version of "Such Great Heights"...


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