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February 15, 2005

Google news — that is, news about Google


This wonderful company, which makes bookofjoe possible and furnishes endless hours of amusement, fascination, education, and diversion for me as well as hundreds of millions of other people — free, amazingly — always has lots of stuff going on.

But lately, since they've gotten so dominant, powerful and, above all, gone public, there's a lot more about the company that's in the public domain.

Last Thursday's Wall Street Journal had an article by Kevin J. Delaney which contained all manner of interesting information.

The highlights, in no particular order:

• Google can't grow nearly as fast as it would like to because of a personnel bottleneck: they simply can't find enough qualified employees.

Co-founder Sergey Brin told several hundred analysts last week that though Google now has over 3,000 employees, up from 2,292 last June, the company cannot hire the quality and quantity of people they want.

• CEO Eric Schmidt for the first time revealed how Google allocates its resources: 70% to its core search and advertising services; 20% to other search-related products like Google News, Froogle and email; 10% to projects unrelated to searching, such as Orkut, Picasa, Keyhole, and developing wireless applications.

• Schmidt said that in fourth quarter Google had 227 advertisers from the Fortune 1000 list, up from 156 a year earlier.

Google's stock closed last week near $191, up significantly from its IPO price of $85 a share.

The New York Times noted in its story on Google's first-ever (since it went public last August) presentation to analysts that the company continued to do things its own way.

For example, Mark S. Mahaney, an analyst with American Technology Research, said, "They had a formal presentation by their chef but not their chief financial officer. I've never been to an investor day when the C.F.O. didn't speak."

Indeed, Google's top chef, Charlie Ayers, spoke to the assembled investors and analysts at length about the lunch he had prepared for them, featuring entrees like grilled pork tenderloin.

The Financial Times report on the analysts' conclave addressed criticisms that many of Google's products were still in beta.

Tim Page, Google's other co-founder, said that this was a sound approach for the company.

"It's part of our branding strategy, that we underpromise and overdeliver and being in beta is part of that," he said. "You don't expect it to be perfect. For our engineers, it's in beta if you'd be proud to show it to your mom once you have made one or two major changes."

That's the best definition of beta I've ever come across.

The company reported net sales of $654 million in the fourth quarter, more than double those of a year earlier; net profits for the quarter were a record $204 million.

You GO Google!

February 15, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink


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