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May 11, 2007

Revelations From Google’s Annual Press Meeting

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There are lots of great tidbits and sound bites seeping out from Google’s annual press and shareholder’s meeting that was held Thursday. Lucky for us, Andy Beal is all over it and breaks the coverage into four bite-size, topic-centric sections. [1,2,3,4] Thanks Andy!

Some key things I took from the meeting coverage:

Google’s No Longer Just About Search

[Please look surprised. It makes me feel important.]

Everyone’s reporting that Google has a new tagline that better describes their mission for the future. The new motto is "Search, ads and apps". I’m not sure if this is meant to be the new "don’t be evil" or "organizing the world’s information" or if Eric Schmidt threw out a phrase and the press made it sexy by calling it "Google’s new tagline". We’ll see if Google starts throwing it around in product launches and whatnot.

About the new mission, Eric noted:

"The move is less a strategy shift than a new message – a way for Google to talk about its disparate initiatives in a way shareholders and the public can readily understand."

I like the new motto/tagline/mission statement/whatever the hell you want to call it. It reinforces that Google is first and foremost about search, with a little ads and apps thrown in to make lots of money for good measure. By increasing transparency and telling users what it’s about, it helps Google avoid the Chicken Little meltdown users typically have when Google starts straying from search and getting more into applications.

Google’s Feeling Confident

Historically, Google would snatch up small startups as a way of hiring new engineers but that’s changing somewhat. Eric says the Google of today is finally comfortable purchasing larger companies (YouTube, DoubleClick) in order to build out their portfolio.

That doesn’t mean Google is no longer interested in small, scrappy startups, though. According to Eric, Google continues to pick up small companies at least once a week. Kinda like an apple a day, I guess. Despite rumors, Eric promises that Google is not interested in buying Dow Jones, saying Google isn’t looking to buy businesses where they would own the rights to the content. That’s good. Can you imagine if Google broke from their "we’re not content producers" stance? Oye.

Stands By Censorship Decision

Despite the harsh criticism they’ve received, Google stands by its decision to abide by Chinese censorship laws and voted against a proposal that would have forced Google to not self-censor any of its products, as well as disclose any incident where censorship may have occurred. I commented back in October that I respected Google’s stance on this and I stand by that.

All in all, not a terrific amount of new information, but it’s nice to hear Eric Schmidt confirm what you’ve long believed about Google. Makes you feel less crazy.





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