Google Blogoscoped

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Google’s Internal Company Goals

A company paper* Google published internally earlier this year and which I got hold of outlined some of Google’s big goals and directions for 2006. The list included several items, for example:

One more specific objective Google outlined as company goal earlier this year in another paper** available to me was to internally test a Google News prototype during the fourth quarter. This “radically improved” prototype should allow “other news sources, and organizations and individuals mentioned in news stories to debate specific points.” I wonder what that means... anyone? I’m as puzzled about this as I am about the “Onebox @ 100% via SETI” mentioned elsewhere in the document (though unless Google is looking for extra-terrestrials, SETI is probably the code name for some internal infrastructure)... or the abbreviations “FIGSCJKR spam,” and “EFIGSCJKR” (the latter being something where Google wants to beat Yahoo).

In the meantime, Marissa Mayer was responsible to ensure that any site with over 10 million page views (per day? month?) renders in a second or less 95% of the time. Other teams saw their goals outlined by terminology such as “70% user happiness” (Gmail 2.0), “host XXM photos, up from XM” (Picasa Web), “an additional XXk machines for production indexing” (index freshness), “reduce bad landing page impressions by 20%” (ads), or “Playbacks: XXM/day” (Google Video). If Google’s “release frenzy” often appears chaotic from the outside, their internal goals do look very precise and organized... and almost every goal has a number attached to it, even when it’s a seemingly fuzzy area like user happiness.

Another interesting feature foreshadowed in the Google papers was to grab relevant locations & dates from web pages allowing users to “view results on a timeline of map.” Keep in mind the papers are older by now so this might be what has already been released as Google News Archive search last month, or the Google Trends site.

While the documents do not mention the goal of trying to decrease Google self-censorship in China, there was mention of a Chinese “Knowledge Search Beta.”

All in all, Google is trying to improve existing products and launch new ones – but not too many in order to not become disorganized, as they publicly stated, too (the document contains the simple directive “Count total number of Google products and reduce by 20%”). They also always focus on leading in search through a variety of features like index freshness & quality, as well as onebox results like Google Base or Google Co-op... and possibly, some day, paid results as well, according to one of their objectives (my emphasis – and again note the last bit may refer to Google’s already released News Archive search):

Launch Google Archive Search with XXXM docs and integration as well as [a] Paid Content results section on

[Thanks John, Tony & M. for advice, and thanks A.!]

*The document is titled “Big Goals and Directions - 2006”.

**The second document is titled “Objectives and Key Results - Q3 2006 Company OKRs”.


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