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Where Larry Page Is Going to Push Google

Illustration for article titled Where Larry Page Is Going to Push Google

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.

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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).

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Out of all the "internet" companies, Facebook and Twitter are probably the two biggest holes in Google's portfolio of products. [Fast Company]

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DISCUSSION

aeronick66-old
aeronick66

As many friends who've worked for Google's design group(s) have told me, and I've witnessed in their products and visiting the campus, it's clear that engineering rules the roost. Google, to me, is an example of what happens when engineering has too much control over design - piecemeal and utilitarian. I believe the issue with multiple strains of Android being in the world comes from a lack of consistent design intent and too many hands in the pie. Google has hired some designers away from Palm and other places to address this issue, but until they realize it's a bigger corporate culture issue, they're going to suffer Microsoft syndrome.

Being close to these companies has upside, and downside. You can see where they come from and potentially where they are going.

Social sites are more than mere technological advance, they are also about generating buzz and human interest. Google just doesn't have the personality that inspires social buzz. To make it a real breakthrough, they'd need to spawn a new image and entity.

Opinions, everyone has one - they're like... um... ears! Yeah ears.