Is Google The New Microsoft?

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New York Times: Now a Giant, Google Works to Retain Nimble Minds: “At Facebook, I could see how quickly I could get things done compared to Google.” .... Google, which only 12 years ago was a scrappy start-up in a garage, now finds itself viewed in Silicon Valley as the big, lumbering incumbent. Inside the company some of its best engineers are chafing under the growing bureaucracy ..... Omar Hamoui, the founder of AdMob who was vice president for mobile ads at Google .... Much of Silicon Valley’s innovation comes about as engineers leave companies to start their own. ...... a short step from scale to sclerosis .... The company’s attrition rate for people it wished would stay has been constant for seven years ..... “There was a time when three people at Google could build a world-class product and deliver it, and it is gone,” Mr. Schmidt said .... Google has given several engineers who said they were leaving to start new companies the chance to start them within Google. They work independently and can recruit other engineers and use Google’s resources ....... Google is considering opening a start-up incubator inside the company ..... 20 percent time .... The company tries to limit groups of engineers working on projects to 10.... in reality, engineering groups quickly swell to 20 or even 40 .... new products created during 20 percent time are less likely to get anywhere these days..... Popular Google products like Gmail grew out of 20 percent time .... engineers say they have been encouraged to build fewer new products and focus on building improvements to existing ones .... Part of Google’s problem is that the best engineers are often the ones with the most entrepreneurial thirst. ..... said he knew it was time to leave as the number of people he had to copy on e-mail messages ballooned. .... Google says 80 percent of people who get a counteroffer stay put.... According to résumés posted on LinkedIn, 142 of Facebook’s 1,700 employees came from Google. .... “We hire more people in a week than go to Facebook in its lifetime.”
I am not the first to ask this question. And I have tried to answer this before. But this is not a question that is about to go away. On the one hand you have people who think Google has already become a monopoly. I beg to differ. On the other hand you have people who are worried not every cutting edge technology is coming out of the Google shop. Those are not opposing views. Those are two weird poles of views.

Search is still a big deal. It is a very big deal. It will stay a big deal. Android is a big deal. The coming decade belongs to the mobile web, and Android has quite a position there. Android's future is looking great. The Chrome OS will be big. Those two alone put Google on the cutting edge.

And Google has done the uber smart thing of moving into far removed sectors like wind farms and smart cars. If web tech is the only thing you focus on, you end up with a pile of money, and no companies to buy. Often a great way to grow the money for a company Google's size is to get into not the next big thing, but the next next big thing. And Google is doing that better than any company I know.

Now that Google is a big company, it should focus on tackling big problems. One would be to declare war on the inbox. Another would be to get into wireless broadband - 100 MB - supported by ads.

The day I know Google feels bad it did not come up with Instagram, I am going to think the company has lost its way.
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