The talk today, of course, is about the triumvirate management shift at Google. While it’s absolutely important, I think that we need to take in the happenings of the past few months in order to really understand the direction that Google is heading. There comes a point in the life of any tech giant where introspection becomes vitally important. As Google fights against plateaus and backlash in certain areas, the company is making the moves necessary in order to hold its position.
First, let’s go back to October of 2010 and look at the move of Marissa Mayer to Google’s local focus. Perhaps it has slipped the attention of many, but Mayer has remained the face of Google, just not on the search side of the house. In fact, Mayer has arguably been more visible since her move than before it and a big part of that has to do with local integration with Google’s mobile products.
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It seems to us that Google was already looking at some of its internal problems even as far back as Mayer’s reassignment. We have written before about Google’s necessity for faster deployment of its products. As Google’s mobile presence with Android continues its speedy climb, it’s absolutely imperative that Google remain agile and fast in that sector. Mayer’s position within location puts her in a very strong position to advise, if not oversee, the happenings of Google’s mobile world.
Google’s eye is focused very strongly onto mobile, at this point. It is likely one of Google’s largest breadwinners and it needs some help. Any move that can place a greater emphasis onto Google’s mobile products is a smart one.
Now shift gears and let’s look at more long-standing, but very recent problems. Google has had more than its share of difficulties with antitrust accusations and other legalities. Enter Eric Schmidt. Schmidt very plainly said that his focus will be on extending Google’s focus externally on “deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership that are increasingly importan.”
Buried in the middle of that string is something very important — government outreach. For Google to move forward in some of its key areas, it is going to need to be in the good graces of not only the US government but international ones as well. Freeing Schmidt from daily duties as a CEO will allow him to focus on this in ways that he’s not been able to do before. Say what you will about Schmidt’s sometimes off-putting sense of humor, he’s an incredibly intelligent businessman and knows right where Google needs to be.
This is where the idea of massive expansion comes in, as well. Schmidt (and Google on the whole) understands what is necessary in order to keep moving forward. As many have stated over the years, Google is much more than a search and advertising company. While every action is most certainly focused on the greater goals, there are directions that need to happen and ones that need to die. Schmidt’s effort is best served by pressing forward the ones that need to happen.
Now, let’s look at the new boss — Larry Page.
As Schmidt admitted in the Google blog post concerning the move, a triumvirate management team can slow down processes. While that system of checks and balances is important, it’s equally as important that the system doesn’t stall everything with which it is involved. This is an area where Page should excel.
Page is an engineer at heart. It is how he started with Google and it is how he helped grow the company to profitability. That engineering mindset is what Google needs right now. There are problems that need to be solved, and Page should be well tuned to solving them faster and being agile enough to avoid the ones that are seen in the future.
We’ll give it a few months, then we’ll revisit these ideas. In the mean time, it does some good to investigate the past in order to map out the future of a company the size of Google. We’re not often surprised by the big G, these days, so an announcement like this is a welcome change to the routine.