CNET writes Google is cutting spending and coming down to Earth to fight the impact of the slowing economy. The search engine giant is curtailing perks such as abundant free food, dropped projects like Lively and SearchMash and pared back 10,000 contractor employees. They also added ads to Google Finance and are giving less resources to the famed 20 percent of their time Google engineers are allowed to spend on projects that interest them:
The more telling items in the piece, though, are that Google is requiring research projects be financially justified, expanding data centers more slowly, tying hiring to revenue, and seeking to diversify its revenue beyond search ads.
Programmers doubtless appreciate free food, but the more serious issue for a relatively engineer-centric outfit such as Google is the freedom to pursue in-house projects while on the clock--Google's famed 20 percent time. There's no indication that's falling by the wayside, but in practice, revenue-generating projects are getting the resources.
"To better manage projects in development, top executives asked engineering vice presidents to rank the 20 most promising projects within their units; those that made the lists were granted the bulk of the resources, say former Google product managers. Projects not on the lists were far less likely than before to get technical support," according to the report.