September 25, 2008

Google at 10 - a Decade of Innovation - But Challenges Ahead

By Charlie Anzman of SEO and Tech Daily (FriendFeed/Twitter)

Yesterday, Google posted a fascinating timeline of the past ten years.

For those of us that have been around since the days when Yahoo! dominated search (and Google wasn't 'here' yet), the timeline brings back a lot of memories, and also causes some pondering about the future.

Google's juice has always been their corporate culture. I've written about it before. A few weeks ago, Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO, commented that they try not to buy a lot of companies because it's easier to innovate from within, rather than to try and change the way a company does things. (Paraphrased).

Others are complaining about Google's stock price. A careful look at insider trading over two years showed many (current) employees cashing out in the 300's per share. Was 700+ in 2008 ever really in the cards? Did Wall Street expect a little too much?

Now we see Google literally firing on all cylinders. A new Web browser (Chrome), a significant upgrade to Picasa (and Picasaweb), and lots of other upgrades, APIs, additions and announcements made over the past two months.

There's little disputing the fact that Google (and the Internet) have literally created and/or eliminated exisiting business models (or significantly changed them). Not just Internet models but brick and mortar businesses as well. They've also created opportunity for those who continued to read, learn and took advantage of it.

Now, people don't Yahoo-it, or MSN-it (even though they do), the vernacular is Google-it ... and that alone is HUGE.

Interestingly, for you advertising buffs, Google has no tag line. There is no 'what we are' or 'what we do'. Obviously, someone recognized very early on, that the Internet (and the world) was changing so fast, it was difficult to predict exactly where Google's strengths would emerge. That continues to be the case.

I find I now have the same reaction to Google's success that I did to Microsoft's many years ago. Both serve as an example of how just a few people can create something BIG in just a few short years and set an example for those thinking about doing just that.

Like Microsoft, and many others, Google is a role model of sorts for entrepreneurs everywhere.

As they grow and mature, it will be difficult for Google to maintain their corporate culture, but not impossible. The perks of working at the Googleplex make complete and total sense. Help people forget about their mundane day-to-day worries so they can think, be creative, and work.

So …. Happy Birthday Google! One can only imagine (or better yet vision) what the next ten years will bring.

Read more by Charlie Anzman at SEO and Tech Daily.