Profile

Cover photo
Verified name
Andrew Widdowson
Works at Google
Attended Carnegie Mellon University
459,863 views
AboutPostsPhotosVideos

Stream

Andrew Widdowson

Shared publicly  - 
 
From a damn fine dude I've worked with in the past.
 
If you're not paying for the product, you are the product.

I have to admit, this is a catchy line.  It appeals to the inner cynic in us all and makes a certain amount of sense in a core, "what can you do for me," type of thinking.

But it's hog-wash.

I work for Google so I follow the news about the company and I'm really tired of seeing that first line, or some variation of it, spouted by people who really don't care enough to want to think it through.  It does not work that way!

Yes, Google is a company.  And yes, Google is a reasonably large company (though not that large compared to the likes of IBM, GE, etc.).  But though a company is a single entity in the eyes of the law, it is not run like that.  Google is full of many thousands of individuals, many of whom are more rabid about user privacy than the privacy watchdogs that complain.  I've watched them take Larry and Sergey to task on stage about the smallest things.  I've done it twice myself.  If the leaders of the company purposely violated our users' trust, there would be open revolt and the founders would be lucky to not find themselves strung up by their toes.

Everything Google does is done for our users.  Your happiness is always the first priority, even above Ads.  (I've seen this in both policy and various practical implementations.)  You are not product; you are our customers!  That's simply the way we view it and it permeates the company from bottom to top.  Everything is done to make a better service for you.

Even Ads is viewed as a service to our users.  Random ads are garbage.  Useful ads are a benefit.  Yes, it's also a benefit to our publishers and yes, it's also a benefit to our shareholders.  Since when did win-win-win arrangements become a bad thing?

I won't claim that Google always gets it exactly right or that we haven't made mistakes.  We don't and we have.  And we admit it.  And it will happen again.  Sorry.  But everything is done with the right intent even if it doesn't always work out as hoped.  Hindsight is perfect.

Google is the most moral company in which I have ever worked.  But guarding our users' privacy doesn't just make moral sense, it makes business sense.  If we purposefully violated our users' privacy, we wouldn't have a business at all before very long.
233 comments on original post
5
1
Rika Antonova's profile photoRicky Ng-Adam's profile photo
 
+1! Though I would phrase it slightly differently. Each user can be seen as a product, and every company to an extent treats users as their "wealth", no matter what morality they claim to adhere to (you can tell my inner cynic is strong). Nonetheless, seeing the development of some of the google products I was amazed how frequently the goal was to make something technically amazing, something you'd be proud to show off to your peer engineers. Let that spirit remain in google engineering, because it is largely the reason behind the technical excellence rather than only "making use of users" mentality (I am only commenting on the engineering part because I have not worked closely with other parts of the company, hopefully a similar statement holds for the other parts).
Add a comment...

Andrew Widdowson

Shared publicly  - 
4
Add a comment...

Andrew Widdowson

Shared publicly  - 
 
Ho ho holiday shenanigans at SantaCon SF this year. Take a look, if all the merriment doesn't make you sick ;)
4
Add a comment...
 
From our trip to Canada (Banff and Calgary) to visit +Ivy Lin's grandma.
7
Add a comment...
Ryan Moulton was tagged in Andrew Widdowson's photos.

Andrew Widdowson

Shared publicly  - 
1
 
YouTube's G+ page features my photos!! Yay! +APW Photography 
 
Jedi and Stormtroopers and droids, oh my! #CourseOfTheForce invades YouTube.
46 comments on original post
3
Katherine Crawford's profile photo
 
I think my favorite detail is the Elmo lunch bag next to Boba Fett. Very cool photos.
Add a comment...

Andrew Widdowson

Shared publicly  - 
 
Great news!!! Welcome home, Andrew!
 
Google vice president Andrew W. Moore has been selected the new dean of SCS, effective this August.

Moore, a distinguished computer scientist with expertise in machine learning and robotics, served as a professor of computer science and robotics at CMU before being named founding director of Google’s Pittsburgh engineering office in 2006.
PITTSBURGH—Google vice president Andrew W. Moore has been selected as the new dean of Carnegie Mellon University's renowned School of Computer Science (SCS), effective this August. Moore, a distinguished computer scientist with expertise in machine learning and robotics, served as a professor of ...
View original post
5
Momchil Kyurkchiev's profile photo
 
I met him once when I was visiting the Pittsburgh office for onsites. Great move!
Add a comment...

Andrew Widdowson

Shared publicly  - 
2
Add a comment...

Andrew Widdowson

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
We just updated our Transparency Report, showing how many requests Google gets for information about its users. But we're not allowed to give the full story because the U.S. government says that requests under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) must be kept secret. We can tell you this: Requests have more than doubled around the world since 2009, and more than tripled in the U.S.: http://g.co/u5sp

Share this if you believe you have a right to know what our governments are up to. 
238 comments on original post
3
Hannah Zerphey's profile photo
 
The big black marker market has probably seen an uptick too. 
Add a comment...
Ryan Moulton was tagged in Andrew Widdowson's photo.

Andrew Widdowson

Shared publicly  - 
1

Andrew Widdowson

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
I am at a loss for words. R.I.P. Dr. Bose.
View original post
1
Hannah Zerphey's profile photo
 
Thought of you when I read this yesterday. 
Add a comment...

Andrew Widdowson

Shared publicly  - 
 
A recent project. So. Very. Fun. Thanks to +Alan Joyce and +Ivy Lin for their most excellent assistance.
 
Arguably the best damn twee pop and power pop bands in the Bay Area. While you check out these photos, treat your ears to their sounds: http://cornerlaughers.com/ and http://agony-aunts.bandcamp.com/ #powerpop   #tweepop   #bayarea  #bands #photoshoot
View original post
3
Add a comment...
People
Work
Occupation
Software Engineer and Master of Disaster
Employment
  • Google
    Software Engineer, 2007 - present
  • Bose Corporation
    Software Engineer, Research, 2005 - 2007
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
winging it since day one.
Education
  • Carnegie Mellon University
    Computer Science, 2001 - 2005