How an Endangered Google Policy Got Results
- By BRIAN M. CARNEY and ISAAC GETZ
Published reports in recent weeks indicate that Google has been cracking down on employees’ “20% time”—the policy of letting Googlers spend a fifth of their time working on whatever innovative, maybe even crazy, projects they wished.
The news was a shocker. Google had widely touted its 20% time as a cornerstone of its “innovation machine.” Larry Page and Sergey Brin also cited 20% time as leading to many of Google’s “most significant advances.” These include Gmail, Google News and Adsense—and that last one accounts for a quarter of Google’s $50 billion-plus in annual revenue.
Founders Page and Brin, together with ex-CEO Eric Schmidt, reportedly used 20% time personally. Google’s current top brass seems to have forgotten, or to have misunderstood, the reasons for the company’s success.
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