Brilliant Sharing Starts Here

100 million stars and 200 million Galaxies are visible on Google Sky, there are 1 billion searches per day, 48 hours of video uploaded to youtube every minute, 550,000 Android Activations per day – I guess everybody knows of whom I am talking – Google. The international company once began small in 1998, when Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded  it, but has now transformed into one of the biggest and most known companies in the world.
Since I was visiting a Google presentation on Monday in Berlin, the two presenter raised my interest for the methods of this popular company especially in regards of their sharing methods, due to my current research of the sharing economy and how they adjusted the concept of “Mine Is Yours” to their way of working.

 


Sharing products successfully


Google, in contrast to its competitors, quickly recognized the potential of sharing and modified it in a way it works for them. According to Amit Singh, VP of Google Enterprise “The Google Apps story has always been about collaboration”
Isn´t that true? Google is sharing data, docs, videos and many more with us.

This assertion is supported by Singh explaining: “Really, the core principle behind these things is sharing–sharing on the Web, from any device. The power of Docs is more obvious when the focus is not on fancy formatting or advanced spreadsheet manipulation but on collaboration around a document, particularly the kind of realtime group editing Google Docs pioneered. That’s the feature that still tends to wow people who have never seen it before.”

The numbers speak for themselves. According to figures from www.downloadsquad.switched.com “Google Docs gained about 5%, which matches the 5% loss shown by Microsoft Excel. In total, 79% of users use the range of Google Apps, while only 52% are using Microsoft Office.”
Regarding the development of both curves in this diagram it is obvious that MS office will only hardly recover itself after those crucial losses. Whereas, as far as I can evaluate, the track record of Google will continue.

 


My office is your office

Of course to develop new collaborative products this entire sharing-way-of-living has to be internalized by the employees as well.

“We’re a highly collaborative culture,”  are the words of Karen Godwin, the office’s online sales and operations manager, to describe Google´s corporate culture.

I listed only a few facts from a blog of how Google is offering sharing opportunities for their employees:

  • Double rooms (few single offices!) with three or four team members.
  • Foozball, darts, assorted video games, pianos, ping pong tables, lap pools, gyms that include yoga and dance classes.
  • Health food at a wide variety of cafés, and outdoor seating for sunshine brainstorming.Social groups of all kinds, such as meditation classes, film clubs, wine tasting groups, and salsa dance clubs.
  • Snacks and drinks to keep Googlers going throughout the day.

This sounds really fantastic, doesn´t it? However, I asked myself if this system really works out. Does this working-heaven improve productivity? Do they have time to work when playing video games or stretching at yoga lessons?

Kevin Ryan, a vice president at SearchEngineWatch.com, puts it this way: “The Google culture is probably one of the most positive, influential, all-encompassing, productivity-inducing environments the world has ever seen.”

Besides that Google has consistently reached one of the top five ranks of Fortune magazine “Best Companies to Work For”, which vanishes possible concerns about the productivity of Google.


“Hyper-intelligent computer wizards”

These are the words of  Barry Adams, senior search marketer at Pierce Communications, an opponent of Google´s seemingly perfect behavior in regards of product development and corporate culture . Saying that “The problem is that these geeks, on the whole, are not in touch with the real world in any meaningful way. Yes, the guys who build these cool Google products are all hyper-intelligent computer wizards. They’re a company focused too much on maintaining (and funding) their geek campus, and keeping their geek wizards churning out cool stuff. Cool stuff for other geeks, that is. Not so much for the rest of mankind. So a company founded and run by those types of geeks, with its focus on hiring more geeks and doing whatever it can to make them geeks happy and productive, is bound to become a company that loses touch with the real world, with real people and their real needs.”

 

Having visited this Google presentation on Monday, I would, in contrast to Barry Adams, claim that not all Googler´s are geeks, because the 2 young men I met where just as you and me, friendly, open-minded and humorous. In my opinion Adams is exaggerating by saying that Google is creating a little geek world where productivity will decrease in the longterm. Moreover, the numbers are displaying that Google with an annual revenue of $37,905 million and a growth rate of 29% in 2011 does not have to worry about the future.


Considering all these aspects, there is no doubt that Google seized the opportunities the sharing economy bears and sould be taken as a role model of many other firms.
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2 thoughts on “Brilliant Sharing Starts Here

  1. Nice post, Helena!
    I especially liked the personal twist you gave your post by incorporating your own experiences and contacts with Google as a company. Moreover, your post is nicely structured and the stats and figures you chose to pretend illustrate your arguments well.
    However, I missed a few critical arguments concerning the culture of sharing. For example you mentioned youtube – what do artists think about the sharing of their work?
    Still, all in all, good work!

  2. Pingback: “The only way to make a men trustworthy is to trust him” – the trust question in Collaborative Consumption « Curiosity Killed The Consumer

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