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Happy Birthday Google!

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 7th September 2008

So, the company with the motto “don’t be evil” that we all love to love, celebrates its 10th birthday today and the media are certainly making sure that we all know about it!

Amongst the various soliloquies all marveling at the company’s rapid growth and increasing dominance, there is a great piece by Guardian tech-supremo Charles Arthur who speculates on what the next 10 years holds for the company.

However, the aspect of all this that interests me most is the way Google structures itself.

In his article, Charles mentions that “companies develop a lot less in their second decade than their first”. This might be true, but with Google the underlying development ethos suggests it may buck the trend.

As clever as the algorithm is, Google knows that the skills of its employees are paramount. They are supported by unbeatable working environments and employee benefits. Google nurtures these skill for the betterment of the company and its products through the ‘innovation time off’ scheme. This allows developers and engineers to spend 20% of their time (i.e. one day a week) working on their own projects (see some of them here).  Gmail, Google News, Orkut, and AdSense are examples of Google services that originated through this developmental process. It is not the first (or last) company to implement this working ethos but this has played a huge part in the company’s success to date.

For me this is the true, underlying symbol of Google’s greatness: their commitment to innovation.

Can they keep it going? We will have to see. Chrome is a massive development and I agree with Charles that Android will dominate and could be the cornerstone of their future (I still believe that ‘mobile’ is the new digital frontier and no-one is dominating…yet).

Google is a company that excites and as long as it keeps innovation and skillful employees at its heart, the future is surely rosy…

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