Guess what: Orkut Scrapbook (whatever that is) won’t work in Opera or Safari.

Guess why: Google doesn’t know that you have to close iframe after you open it.

Don’t act all surprised. Google may have hired Hixie, but their code is atrocious and always has been. They may force you to run a gauntlet of calculus questions during your job interview, but it seems that basic knowledge of real HTML is never tested. The half-assed HTML these guys grew up with between D&D sessions in suburban basements is considered good enough.

Tell me: Why would any Internet company, of any kind, hire developers who could not prove themselves capable of writing a valid, semantic page from scratch? Why isn’t that a test you absolutely must pass to get hired as a developer at Google?

This is a company that took years to figure out that its search-results pages (only those pages) needed “header tags.” (Check for yourself in a podcast (MP3) from Google’s appearance at CSUN 2007 at about the 18:35 mark: “We’ve recently launched header tags on the Google.com search UI [sycophantic applause], so now the user can navigate very quickly to the parts of the Web site they want. And it sounds like we’ve got quite a few Google employees out there in the audience…. Though we do appreciate that feedback.”)

My impression of Google “engineers” is as follows: They’re barely-socialized guys, with short tempers, poor social skills, and Tantek-style rushed and pressurized speech. They go ballistic on your ass when you dare to question them on Web standards or accessibility. Even though these guys are borderline Aspergerian, hence borderline disabled themselves, they get right in your face immediately asking why the hell they should do anything different. They’re at Google. They know what they’re doing! (And for Chrissakes, everything they write works just fine in Firefox!)

The foregoing is just an impression. But let me tell you something: Before she left Adobe to take the worst job at Google (while still co-chairing the WCAG mess), Loretta Guarino Reid got on the PDFUA conference call with her successor and stated outright that she didn’t see how H1 really is a higher-level heading than H2 through H6. That was open to debate. She actually said that. Then Google hired her to run accessibility.

Google is a kind of corollary of Clark’s Law: The bigger the company, the worse the code.

And I don’t see any evidence Hixie has improved or is attempting to improve his employer’s code quality. He’s too preoccupied rewriting the infrastructure of the Web.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.11.28 16:11. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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