How would you improve Gmail? | Google PM Interview
Google Product Manager Interview Question: Product Improvement - How would you improve Gmail?
Before jumping on to the solution,
Why are Product Improvement Questions asked?
Product Improvement Interview Questions are frequently asked by interviewers during Product Management interviews to gauge your aptitude on whether you are able to properly,
Create a methodical thought process in an uncertain situation.
Explain the product and the issues that it addresses for the various user groups.
Identify the problems with the product that the users of different segments are having.
Think of innovative ways to enhance the product.
Assess your options and create a product roadmap with priorities.
How to Answer Product Improvement Questions?
Here is a step-by-step framework, you should follow while answering product improvement interview questions during your interview:
0. Pay close attention to the keywords in the question.
1. Describe the Product. (P)
2. Ask clarifying Questions to trim down the scope of the question. (Q)
3. Define the Goal you want to achieve. (G)
4. List the User Segments and select one segment to focus on. (U)
5. List and prioritize the Pain Points for that segment. (P)
6. List out your Solutions to solve those pain points. (S)
7. Evaluate all the solutions and prioritize them. (E)
8. Define Metrics to measure the performance of the solutions. (M)
9. At the end, Summarize your answer (S)
(PQ-GUP-SEMS) -> Mnemonic to help you remember the steps & their order.
Now, let’s go through each of the above points and understand them in detail,
Step 0: Pay close attention to keywords in the question
It’s crucial to pay close attention to the interviewer’s question and understand what the interviewer wants as the outcome.
Question asked: How would you improve Gmail?
Two things to keep in mind:
Define the product - Gmail.
Clarify & Define the term “Improvement”.
Step 1: Describe the Product
To get things moving in the right direction, it is important to make sure that you and the interviewer are on the same page when it comes to the understanding of the product, its features, offerings, users and competitors.
Gmail is a widely used email service provided by Google that aims to make communication and sharing of thoughts more efficient. The service is free to use and is available to billions of people around the world. The main goal of Gmail is to simplify the process of sending and receiving emails, making it easier for people to stay connected, communicate effectively, and collaborate with each other.
Gmail's user-friendly interface allows users to easily navigate through their emails, organize them, and search for specific messages. The service also offers a wide range of features such as labels, filters, and the ability to send and receive attachments. Additionally, Gmail also provides users with 15GB of storage space for emails, allowing them to keep their inbox organized and uncluttered.
Another key feature of Gmail is its security. Google's advanced security measures help protect user's data and keep their personal information safe. Gmail also offers two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security to the account.
In the email service market, Gmail has several direct competitors such as Apple Mail, Yahoo Mail, Microsoft Outlook, Rediffmail, and Hotmail. However, Gmail's integration with other Google services, such as Google Calendar and Google Drive, has made it a more comprehensive and valuable service for users.
Indirect competitors of Gmail include instant messaging and collaboration services such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Slack, and Zoom. These services have gained popularity as they provide users with different ways to communicate and collaborate with each other. However, Gmail's ability to send and receive emails, which is the core of its service, still makes it an essential tool for businesses and individuals alike.
In conclusion, Gmail is a popular and widely used email service that offers a range of features to help users communicate and share their thoughts more efficiently. With its user-friendly interface, advanced security measures, and integration with other Google services, Gmail has become a valuable tool for businesses and individuals around the world. Despite the emergence of other communication and collaboration tools, the need for sending and receiving emails still makes Gmail an essential service in today's world.
If you get a question where you are not familiar with the product, you may ask the interviewer to give a brief idea about the product. They would usually help out.
Now that the product description is clear and the interviewer has also been brought on board,
Its time to move on to the next step: Ask Clarifying Questions.
You: “Before we move on, I have a few clarifying questions I want to ask. Shall I proceed?”
Step 2: Ask clarifying Questions to trim down the scope of the question
Q) What do we mean by improvement here?
Improve user engagement?
Increase user retention?
Increase user base?
New features to compete with Instant Messaging tools?
A) It’s up to you. You are free to choose.
Q) Are we focussing on any particular platform like desktop web or mobile app?
Let’s consider the mobile app first.
Q) Are we focussing on any particular OS like, IOS or Android?
Let’s focus on both IOS & Android users.
Q) For the improvement are we focusing on a particular region?
It’s up to you.
Step 3: Define the Goal you want to achieve.
Gmail is the largest and most widely used email service has over a billion users who use the service on a daily basis.
The main goal of Gmail is to make it simple for people to connect and collaborate with one another around the world, fostering a sense of community and bringing people closer together.
In my opinion, user engagement, is something that closely relates to Gmail's mission statement. Additionally, if we can increase the user engagement on Gmail, both Gmail and Google as a whole will see an increase in user retention and revenue. Hence, I think it makes sense to focus on improving user engagement for this question.
The Metrics I would focus on improving will be # of emails sent per week/month.
Step 4: List the User Segments
Users can be divided into the following categories according to their usage capabilities,
Turbo Users: These are users who opens gmails numerous times everyday either for professional or personal use. They send & recevie a lot of emails and usually tech savvy & are highly active on mobile devices.
Casual User: These are users who opens gmails only a few times a day. They don’t always send or receives email everyday.
Occasional Users: These users opens gmails a few times a week. They are typically less tech savvy and rarely send or receive email.
The next step is to select one user segment and mentioning the reason for that selection:
“For the purpose of this question, I think its best to focus on solving the pain points of the Turbo User segment since the number of active users in this segment is very high who constantly look out for features that would boost their productivity, along with speed & ease of communication.
If we can keep these highly active users more engaged, it will increase their retention on the platform and in turn increase our revenue as well.”
(Since most of these active users are working professionals or businesses and are the core target segment for the G-Suit).