Google is synonymous with the Internet. Its used as the primary search function for almost all internet searches, and has since been written into the dictionary, to google something is to search online for something. The term Google is a play on the mathematical word Googol which describes a 1 followed by a hundred zeroes, and it is an apt name as it tries to catch, sort and list all the available information on the world wide web with minimal fuss. Google, in its simplest form as a search engine, uses a specially designed program called the web crawler, and it looks at the tens of billions of webpages available and searches for relevant keywords, then displays them in an order based on internet traffic.
In the mid-90s, Stanford University student Sergey Brin, was asked to show a prospective candidate for the college, by the name of Larry Page, around the college. They struck up a friendship, and from the college dormitory, started putting their computer science knowledge to good use, creating an indexed search engine. The search engine would categorise the most important, and most used web pages, in terms of traffic, placing them at the top of the search results. Sergey and Larrys ambition to categorise all the available information on the web at the click of a mouse was on its way. As a play on words, they originally called Google Backrub. They called it this because their web crawler program studied a websites backlinks, to understands how important a site was, for ranking purposes.
The name Google was chosen almost by mistake. During a brainstorming session to determine the name of the search engine, after it was decided that backrub wasnt a good fit for the company, one of their fellow alumni, a man by the name of Sean Anderson, checked to see if the domain google.com was taken, rather than the aforementioned googol.com. Sergey Brin decided that he liked that name better. Thus, Google was born.
II. Company Profile
Google is a multinational business, trading on the public market, built around the hugely popular search engine. Google has invaded our lives in so many ways and it is continuing to grow and diversify operations to corner more of the world market in innovation. In 2015, owing to a corporate restructuring of the business, the company Alphabet was formed, thus becoming the parent company of Google. With this restructuring, Alphabet CEO Larry Page promoted Sundar Pichai, the man behind Google Chrome, to the position of Googles CEO.
Google’s corporate mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. (Google n.d.)
Google have created a global powerhouse in so many facets, from the search engine, to maps, to creating operating systems to power your smartphone, and even their foray into driverless cars. Their thirst for diversifying and finding the next big thing in the technological world at the moment shows no signs of slowing down (PROVE IT)
In 2018, Google has over 98,000 employees, and
III. Strengths and Opportunities for growth vs. External Deterrents
Strengths. Vast Diversification of their products. Google have never been afraid to try new things and in doing so, have created the Android OS, Google Maps, Google Chrome, Chromebook, driverless cars, and Gmail, amongst others. The acquisition of YouTube was a masterstroke, with analysts suggesting that YouTubes net revenue in 2018 was between $14 and $15 billion dollars, making up to 10% of the total revenue for Googles parent company, far eclipsing the $1.65 billion dollars they paid Steve Chen and Chad Hurley in 2006.
Weaknesses. Google are over- reliant on advertising and can have millions wiped off their shareholding in a single day. Their parent company, Alphabet, in April 2019, announced shares were down 7.5%, which was the biggest one-day drop since October 2012. This has been attributed to currency fluctuations, and increased competition in the advertisement market. There has also been an issue in finding the right blend of adverts to insert into mobile devices, and to impact the emerging markets adequately.
Opportunities. Potential revenue stream from google maps. Google believes that Maps can be The next big thing for revenue growth from ads, where the consumer would click a place on the map and a particular restaurant, for example, would pop up as an option for the customer to dine, thus generating extra revenue for Google. (Bloomberg 2019). Google are also experimenting with Google images, where a Pinterest type opportunity exists which directs consumers to websites once the image is clicked.
Threats. Google has always been at the forefront when consumers log on to search for new products, thus allowing google to charge premium prices to retailers looking to link up with the customer, but recently this trend is shifting. A large portion of internet traffic is clicking directly onto the Amazon website (PROVE IT), ultimately circumventing the need for google.
V. Googles Organisational Strategies
V. Googles Culture and What Sets Them Apart
Google prides itself on its start-up mentality, and has a flat organisational structure, which cuts out the need for middlemen, and keeps the upper management closer to the googlers, a term of endearment for google employees to describe themselves. What this creates is an environment where all staff have a chance to lead and fosters the notion that everyone is as important as the next. Google, in this vein, has the following five pillars that underpins their culture:
1. Open to trying new things and open with your colleagues
2. Innovate, innovate, innovate!
3. Excellence equals smartness
4. Hands-on approach to the working week
5. Family-run way of doing business
As Google expands its operations, the company is cognisant that in order to continue growing, they need to come up with new ideas to keep themselves at the forefront of the technology market. Their spending power allows them to buy small niche businesses, but only when the small businesses have a stronger offering than the in-house google staff could produce, has helped them to stay relevant and dynamic. Examples of this include WhereTo and ZipDash, which has been integrated into the Google Maps portfolio, and Picture sharing websites Panoramio and Picasa. The google search engine continues to have its algorithm developed and improved upon, for it to stay well ahead of Bing and Yahoo.
Despite strained relations between the US and China, most noticeably, the Huawei debacle, in which an executive order was granted to ban the sale of Huawei products in America, Google could re-enter the Chinese market soon. Google had a failed venture into China, and in 2006, google.cn launched. But at that time, Google was a new kid on the block, worth less than a quarter of what its market value is today, and the Chinese government did not like the idea of a company, despite the option to heavily censor it, potentially introducing a facility to expand the minds of the communist Chinese people.
The idea of Google re-entering the Chinese market through the Google search is possible, as the current Chinese workforce in the knowledge business (teachers, engineering, science etc), are in a constant need for up to date news and research , and Baidu, the Chinese version of Google Search, is notoriously bad at turning up relevant results for pages outside China.
The possible method of re-entry could be through an entirely different route. By the time Google was ousted from the Chinese market, it was in the age of desktop computers, and the mobile phone market was in its infancy. Currently, China have a strong interest in AI, for surveillance, military strategies and social governance. Google are one of the world leaders in the Artificial Intelligence field, due to their acquisition of DeepMind On January 26, 2014. DeepMind describes itself as having the ability to combine the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build general-purpose learning algorithms. DeepMind’s first commercial applications were used in simulations, e-commerce and games.
In the last few years, Google have continued to leave their mark behind the scenes in China, for example, allowing the Chinese to use TensorFlow, a google created AI library, and establishing the Beijing AI lab.
Opposition to Googles own Dragonfly Project, which is a censored search engine, designed by Google to be used in China, has drawn criticism from many quarters, including from within their own ranks. In August 2018, 1,400 employees signed an appeal to company heads, looking for more information about this project, as they felt they had been left in the dark about the progress of this project, and they felt that morally and ethically speaking, they could be walking a very tight rope, as this web search engine would be able to block searches for human rights, up and coming or past protests, and other ethically minded searches, all of which would rancour with the Chinese government.
On Friday June 7th, 2019, Googles motion to have a case for unfair dismissal against them thrown out, was rejected by the judge in charge of the case. James Damore was an engineer working in Googles Mountain View complex, and while on his flight back from China in 2017, he wrote an internal memo to fellow colleagues, mentioning the gender and racial diversity bias, stating that googles push for equality and diversity in the workplace was essentially unnecessary, and that the reason why more men were in positions of higher power, was mainly because of biological differences. He also stated that, Googles campaign for more racial diversity, essentially lowers the bar, as it helps to increase a false negative, and the efforts of the gender or racial diversity programs, put in place by Google, can also be perceived as giving the white people, or males in the workforce, an unfair hill to climb, as they dont have the easier route to take, which leads to a bias in the other direction.
On receipt of this memo, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, who himself is a first generation Indian, cut short his holiday with his family, to deal with the leaked memo. He fired Damore immediately and said that to infer that workers have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.
Despite this, according to the Reputation Institute, the CSR RepTrak, which surveyed almost a quarter of a million individuals in 2018 and analyses the best corporate responsibility social reputations policies from the biggest companies worldwide, Google came out on top. The Reputation Institute says that Corporate responsibility is quadrilateral between social, fiscal, employer and environmental responsibility. That is the new rubric for success.
This was a resounding victory for Google, as the hangover from the James Damore debacle still was to the fore.
Google are renowned for their creative employees, and their minds have created Gmail, Google Maps and Twitch, a live streaming video platform, popular with video gamers. Little do people know that all these projects listed, among others, came about from Googles 70/20/10 rule, which is where Google allows its employees weekly to spend 70% of the time on their main core work, 20% on work with another team, essentially brainstorming, and finally, 10% of their time on blue sky thinking. In fact, Google have managers keeping an eye on the rule, ensuring its being followed. By allowing their employees to pursue other projects while on paid Google Time, Google have been able to add many more innovations to their portfolio.
Their motto is Dont Be Evil, which lends itself to the notion that a less stressful environment to work in, leads to higher staff retention and a higher productivity output. The perks of the job contribute to Googles positioning as the employer of choice. Google offer free constantly changing and healthy gourmet food for its staff daily. As multiple staff members come together to sit for their lunch or dinner, the building of new rapport with colleagues is seen as developmental for the business. The break room contains bean bags, pool tables, video games, and even a rock-climbing wall for the employees to use.
The google death benefit is lauded as the most generous on offer by any company. If an employee dies while working for Google, then the spouse or partner receives a cheque for 50% of their wages for the next 10 years. Also, the child, or children of the deceased will each receive 1000 per month up until the age of 19, or 23 if the child proceeds to attend college.
Maternity and Paternity benefits are equally lavish. Paid paternity leave for up to 7 weeks, and paid maternity leave for up to 22 weeks is offered, while a little cash bonus is also thrown in for good measure.
Googlers are also able to use the onsite gym, get a massage from the in-house masseuse, or pop into a decompression pod for a quick nap if theyre feeling tired.
There are showers on campus, coffee and juice stands dotted all over the Googleplex, Googlers can avail of the free creche, and even dogs can be brought to work