Every corporation has some form of philosophy whether they print it or not. Google posts their operational concept for the world to see at Corporate Information – Our Philosophy. Let’s take a look at the ten points that guides Google’s success.
"Focus on the user and all else will follow."
This is probably Google’s first rule of engagement. From the very beginning Google focused on results from a user’s viewpoint. Beyond returning pages of links based on keywords, they have made every effort to make those results relative to the searcher’s needs. They strive to keep the databases current, the technology at the leading edge and provide clear results as quickly as possible. Performance has often outweighed bottom line.
"It’s best to do one thing really, really well."
To quote the Google Philosophy page, "We do search." (see link above). Instead of building eBook libraries or video collections, Google works to find better ways to search the Internet for content. They seek to find new areas of information to mine. Recognizing that knowledge is power, they continually develop innovative ways for people to search for the information they need no matter where they are.
"Fast is better than slow."
Besides efforts to be the best search tool available Google also considers the value of the user’s time. It is not enough that the search is the most relevant; it has to be fast. Whether you are looking for the proofs to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity or the latest video from Roots, Google wants to present the results to you in nanoseconds. One way they do this is by constantly reassessing code and trimming excess wherever possible.
"Democracy on the web works."
The Internet is constantly growing. As new sites appear others link to them. With each new back-link there is another "vote" in support of that site. The more sites that link back to a site the more votes it gets. These votes are used to determine the reliability and relevance of the information on the site. The more votes, by weight, pushes the site closer to the top of the results list. The process is self refining as more links are found. This also helps maintain the currency of the searches.
"You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer."
Android was developed as a response to our mobile world. Google recognizes that many thousands of their users may not be at a desk when they need an answer. With that in mind they provided Android as an open source platform to deploy applications for mobile devices. This is part of what allows you to Google something from your smart phone.
"You can make money without doing evil."
What a concept! Google sells advertising but they don’t sell placement. Advertisers pay to have their ads displayed with results that are relative to their business. Google’s AdSense package ensures that the ads you see relate to the topic you are searching. If you are searching running shoes you are not going to see an advertisement for potato chips. Since AdSense is so effective corporations are willing to pay good advertising dollars to be included in the Google world.
"There’s always more information out there."
This concept drives Google to find ways to search more than HTML and META TAGS. Once they had searching HTML figured out they started looking at what other kinds of information should be identified. The fruit of their efforts is Image Search, Maps, Business Directories, PDF files and many others. It is just a matter of time before they start mining the deep web. In some cases they have already started digging and are developing new tools to make the exploration more effective.
"The need for information crosses all borders."
More than half the searches launched on Google come from outside the United States. In response to this, Google has developed and continues to develop active page translators. The search interface is available in more than 100 languages. The list keeps growing. Just think, add a speech interface and you have a Universal Translator right out of the science fiction genre.
"You can be serious without a suit."
This concept strikes a balance between productivity and fun. Actually, it could be considered an ongoing, brainstorming session where everybody has a part regardless their primary function. An inspiration can arise during a conversation in the hall and the open corporate culture can tap the diversified resources to bring it quickly to reality. The team is celebrated and the pace is fast. The casual atmosphere encourages communications across departments and managerial levels.
"Great just isn’t good enough."
While many companies set achievable goals, Google sets goals that are beyond their current reach. This pushes them to discover new techniques and technologies that might have been missed otherwise. The mindset is one of anticipating what the user may need or do. Maybe the user is a poor speller. That thought led to the development and implementation of an excellent, interactive spellchecker. The same thought process led to the ability to add or remove layers from a map.
These ten philosophical concepts can be summed up in a single sentence. Google does not rest on their laurels, they reach for the stars ignoring the concept that the sky is the limit. – bkc