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Google Labs and the 20% rule

Corsin Camichel [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, March 7, 2006
16 years ago

This just came in my mind:
+ Google Labs is R&D (Research & Development), right?
+ The 20% rule is for "projects beside your Google work", right?
+ So, in theory, every Google worker, works in R&D (aka Labs), at least 1 day a week, right?

Can someone count their R&D costs? Just to compare with other companies.

or [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Actually it's not every worker that uses their 20% time for other projects, they simply continue doing their primary work. I believe, Matt Cutts for example said he had not used his 20% time for other projects in years.

Support Freedom! [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Sure would be nice if they would use their 20% time to work to advance freedom in China; to help the Chinese people browse safely and freely, to help them blog and send email safely and freely.

Call it "Google Freedom"

Any takers?

Quote from Google:
"Google engineers all have “20 percent time” in which they’re free to pursue projects they’re passionate about. This freedom has already produced Google News, Google Suggest, AdSense for Content, and Orkut – products which might otherwise have taken an entire start-up to launch."

Ilya Baklanov [PersonRank 2]

16 years ago #

2 "Support Freedom!":

How can Google (or any other company) really influence a problem of free speach in China? The can't! Stop living in dreams! I am originally from Russia and I know what it is like, when your government wants to do something their own way – they won't listen to anybody. And with the power that China has now, no other government will be able to change freedom rights of Chinese people if the Chinese government doesn't change them themselves! Don't forget that a big percentage (can't say the exact figure, because don't know it) of electronics, clothing etc. is being produced there! And no government will want it's companies to receive ban from China, because that means that those companies won't be able to compete with their competitors.

So just let Google do what they do – crawl the web and show search results. If some government wants to alter those results- let them do it. Otherwise there will be no Google in that country. And I would prefere to have some kind of Google instead of NO Google.

2 "Corsin Camichel "
I'm sorry for the offtopic I wrote above. Concerning your question, I would agree with "or" that not every Google employee uses that 20%. Also only engineers are allowed to do that (AFAIK). And I don't think it's the right way to measure R&D or any other costs. What if googlers weren't given that 20% rule? Then they would just have to do what they were told. But when you have some kind of freedom (or illusion of freedom) then it is more interesting to do your work, thus you become more productive. But to measure how more productive you have become is quite hard (too many variables).

/pd [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Corsin, the cost is pretty much simple in terms of approx 1000 employees (for sake of business case)

1000 emp * 40 hrs = 4000 hrs @ 20% = 800 mnhrs /wk
800Mnhrs x 50 wks =40, 000Mnhrs /anum

at the approx rate per employee being $45/- then it works out to.... $1.8M

So if your take approx 2000 employees it will work out to approx $3.6M..given the fact that their net profit is Y amt of $ then if this ($3.6M) works out about 5-10% net profit$, then one can see why google permits it!!

Most Large companys spend approx 10-15% of net profits invested back again into R&D.. so google mngt is smart ..very smart with the 20% rule!! :

this is just an off the cuff analysis :)-

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