The Oaks Ignore Their Pleas

Why I Think Google Rocks

Posted in General by Jeff Graves on September 2, 2006

I’ll admit this right up front…I’m a bit of a Google fanatic. 

The very first time I used Google Maps, I was completely blown away, and I still don’t understand why anyone still uses Mapquest.  And the more I use Google tools, the more I find little things that amaze me.  Maps was probably the first time I experienced the power of an Ajax app, and the entire user experience was just so amazing that I was hooked.  The more I used Maps, the more I discovered cool little features, like the fact that I don’t have to know the address of a place to figure out where it is – I can just leverage the power of the Google search engine, and type in what I do know – like “pizza” and a zip code.  Then, the whole mashup thing began – led off by the now-famous apartment finder, now called Housing Maps, that brought together Craigslist and Maps in a whole new, powerful way.

 To me, Google provides that “hi-res” user experience that Kathy Sierra writes so much about – I enjoy using their tools, and it’s easy to learn more features, which makes me feel smart.  And feeling smart makes me that much more likely to use new Google offerings in the future, and to evangelize the heck out of them when I talk to other people. 

But once again (maybe this is a theme for this week), making a tool as simple, yet as powerful as Google Maps, was no doubt a very difficult process, staffed by incredibly brilliant people – not only computer scientists, but people who really understand human behavior, and people who are passionate and brilliant designers.  I think too many times, companies feel they can put people who are great marketers, or great C++ programmers on a team to build a web tool, and ignore the fact that there’s really a unique skill set required to build a truly great, “hi-res” user experience.  I can only hope that someday, I really, truly have half a clue about what’s required to pull that off.

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