Google: Fail To Succeed

Fail often to learn quickly seems to be an understated mantra at Google. When something doesn't work as planned or doesn't live up to the company's standards, Google retires it and moves on.

I've heard this more than once from those working at Google. Failure doesn't mean being unsuccessful. In other words, as Astro Teller, Google X Scientist, once said, mistake-free learning does not exist.

Take, for example, the feedback button that read "Ad knew too much" when served next to a display ad. And despite the new button's limited testing cycle, Google decided to quickly retire the button.

Google calls these buttons "muting tools." While Google users can turn off ad personalization at any time, a Reddit user in the UK recently pointed to the button "Ad knew too much," which a Google spokesperson says the company will require. The feature includes an option to report that a given "ad knew too much" about a specific person.



Mute this Ad, which launched within the past year, is part of Ads preferences in the My Account settings. It's not a test, but the specific ad button is being retired, according to the spokesperson. People can not only mute the ad, but can also share more feedback about the ad.

While people who use Google's search engine and browser cannot completely remove ads, people can block ads from specific advertisers in a variety of ways. I'm sure that not many know, but in Google Search, Maps, YouTube, and Gmail, users can block ads from specific advertisers. On websites and apps that partner with Google to show ads, people can in some cases mute ads they no longer want to see.

All that said, just because Google decides to shut down a project doesn't mean it faced failure. But failure is useless unless you learn from the mistakes. 

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