Google’s new chief of Canadian operations seems pretty down on Canadian innovators

While praising Canadian consumers as being forward-thinking and adaptable, Google’s country director for Canada Chris O’Neill took a swipe at the Canadian e-commerce sector. He said that the quality of innovation companies is “pretty shallow” in this country, and that they are falling behind the times.

From the CBC:

O’Neill said there’s a clear difference when comparing the U.S. and Canadian business markets and how technology innovation is happening.

“There’s a dearth of e-commerce sites here, or the depth of the quality of e-commerce is pretty shallow,” he said. “We’re far behind here in Canada, so I’m underwhelmed by the actual experience.”

He said businesses can keep pace with tech-savvy Canadians by helping them make the most of the technology they love to use.

“I’d like to see retailers think more in [new] ways, rather than fearing and trying to avoid the experiences and the behaviours that consumers aren’t just experimenting with, [but] are becoming mainstream,” O’Neill said.

He noted that giving shoppers access to free Wi-Fi would be a great selling feature to get consumers in stores, even if it does mean they could use it to check out the competition.

“Guess what, consumers are going to do it anyways, so you might as well engender that trust and deliver to the consumers what they expect.”

Of course O’Neill is one to talk; everyone knows how much innovating Google does. If by “innovating” you mean “buying out the ideas of more creative companies.” Yes, very innovative indeed.

O’Neill’s comments to the Canadian Press was part of an interview about the future of Google in Canada. During the interview, he also mentioned how he’d like to see more products rolled out in Canada quickly as opposed to making Canadians wait for the product to become an American success first.

But his comments about innovation in Canada are simply untrue. There are many factors that give Canada an edge in innovation, including our educated workforce, generous taxation systems and government support for industry. No, Canada won’t be producing as many tech companies as America does; it’s pretty hard to do that with 10 per cent of America’s population. But I think we’re doing fine today and will continue to do so in the future.

Funny how Google’s chief of operations in Canada has such disdain for the local talent. I guess they just haven’t found the right company to buy out yet — sorry, I mean innovate with yet.