Thoughts on GoogleIO and WWDC

Orde Saunders' avatarPublished: by Orde Saunders

I've been noticing a steady shift in reactions to the big announcements shows from Google and Apple. They're still presented with as much - if not more - of a fanfare about the new; revolutionary; beautiful; engaging; utopian; pick your hyperbole of choice; products and features that will change our lives. However, despite using the language of revolution people have seen enough of these by now to know that the reality is going to be incremental change some time in the future.

There's plenty of analysis to be had around the surface of this change but I'm starting to feel there's a deeper issue. As far as most consumers are concerned, the main platforms have feature parity in ways they care about. There are walls between the gardens but there are lots of gardens that are overlapping, it's possible to switch at one layer but not at another. Enough of these small shifts - change one service for another - and you can be some way from where you started: it's not all or nothing.

As an industry we don't see things like this. We're coming from a background where you had to invest time in a product to get the most of it. We work with a deep focus on, and understanding of, our own products, we don't see things the way consumers see things. That latest and greatest new feature might seem to us like it makes all the difference because we're heavily invested in it but, assuming even the people who use it notice it, it's unlikely to have the impact we're projecting onto it.

As an industry our chase for the next killer feature means our expectations are becoming increasingly disconnected from our users' expectations. We are past the point where we can dictate the terms of how our products are used, people will use them on their own terms. We need to find out what those terms are and adjust accordingly.