Friday, June 1, 2007
Google’s Internal Company Goals Revisited
A lot has happened with Google since I posted about their internal company papers
around half a year ago. Many of the products or features which were outlined in Google’s then-secret company goals have now become (virtual) reality:
- Google back then said they wanted to allow people to “view results on a timeline of map,” a feature that is now available as Google Experimental - Timeline view.
Google’s papers mentioned a “universal search tool.” This may be connected to the “universal search” strategy Google recently announced... a strategy that combines many search types under one hood, de-emphasizing navigation of different Google search engines, and emphasizing smart onebox-driven results which offer bits and pieces of image search, news search and so on (this trend itself isn’t new, but its importance to Google is growing).
- Google’s paper mentioned launching many user interface updates. Not too surprisingly, they did launch quite a few variants of their homepage indeed in 2007.
- In the papers, Google mentioned a Chinese Knowledge Search Beta. This may have been the now-released Google Life Search China.
- Back when I got hold of Google’s papers, I wrote that Google knows “that sometimes, people are offline, and slowly, one after another, they prepare their tools for it.” This week at the developer day, Google Gears – which Google titled “Scour” internally, as they mentioned at London’s keynote speech – was released, providing offline capabilities for Google Reader, and the Mountain View keynote hinted that Google plans to roll out the same offline capabilities for some of their other services too (like Gmail).
- One of Google’s internal goals back then was to count “the total number of Google products and reduce by 20%.” We don’t know how much experimental products they axed internally, but what we do now is they shut down or closed support for Google Answers and the Google SOAP API.
- Google’s goal in 2006 was to remain leader in index freshness. Lately, we’re indeed seeing an increased index frequency – speed presumably depends on the PageRank of the page in question, but I’ve seen pages being shown in Google web search results 3 hours after being released.
Some goals from their documents are hard to measure or verify (we don’t know if they have the world’s top AI lab by now, for instance) while other outlined objectives may still be in the pipeline, to be revealed at a later point (Google mentioned a paid content results section on Google.com, whatever that means, as well as a “radically improved” Google News prototype allowing “other news sources, and organizations and individuals mentioned in news stories to debate specific points” – perhaps we’ll see new revelations in mid-June when Marissa Mayer and Eric Schmidt are coming to Paris, according to Google). All in all, Google reached a whole lot of their objectives and it becomes more obvious than ever that their business strategy, as random as it sometimes appears from an outside view, is often following a well-defined path. I wonder where it will lead Google users – and it’s hard to not be a user of Google (in one way or another) if you’re online in 2007 – in the coming months and years.
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