The Google CEO chair swap that happened in January was unique because it wasn't a matter of an entirely new entity coming in to helm the company. Larry Page, the co-founder and new CEO, was always making decisions—sometimes without even telling old CEO Eric Schmidt. So what's new with the switch? Fast Company explores it.
The whole thing is a good read if you're following Google's products, but basically, Larry Page is a big proponent of data, and he's a big proponent of solving problems. Of all the possibilities that he can use Google's data and reach for, there's one that they've got a big blind spot on: Social. Fast Company claims it's because there isn't really a problem to solve there, and that Page is going about making the entire internet social, but there needs to be a more focused effort to make something social at Google.
Page's apparent lack of personal interest on the web's major social sites creates a convenient narrative for Google's dreadful record in the space — a string of failures that include Dodgeball, Jaiku, Lively, Buzz, and Wave. Orkut, the social network that Google engineer Orkut Büyükkökten launched in 2004, is still alive (it's big in Brazil), but few Googlers consider it a success. Meanwhile, Google has had several social-networking savants in the 'plex and let them slip away to found other companies, among them Evan Williams (Twitter) and Dennis Crowley (Foursquare).
Out of all the "internet" companies, Facebook and Twitter are probably the two biggest holes in Google's portfolio of products. [Fast Company]