In his recent “2012 Update from the CEO” Larry Page, co-founder of Google, addressed Google’s present and future. Google is essentially saying that personalization, identity and relationship will be the currency of the web. That’s the reason why signals such as anchor texts are become less valuable when compared to social signals.
He began his update by writing, “Sergey and I founded Google because we believed that building a great search experience would improve people’s lives and, hopefully, the world. And in the decade-plus that’s followed, we’ve been constantly delighted by the ways in which people have used our technology—such as making an artificial limb using old designs discovered online.”
He also says in his introduction that there’s much more planned for Google because of technology advances and that the company can achieve more, faster if it has an approach “with the passion and the soul of a start-up.”
He wrote that choosing that approach since last April has meant management reorganization, the closing or combination of products and the updating of others, including Google Search.
Looking at Google+
Part of creating a more intuitive experience for Google users means “products work together seamlessly,” Page wrote.
“People shouldn’t have to navigate Google to get stuff done. It should just happen,” he said in his letter.
This is where Google+ comes in for people to follow, share and recommend items, photos, articles, websites, videos and more with specific circles, or groups of friends.
“Well over 100 million users are active on Google+, and we’re seeing a positive impact across the Web, with Google users being able to recommend search results and videos they like—a goal we’ve had ever since we started the company,” Page wrote.
Google+ is also allowing people to better connect with and search for people they know, find out faster and more accurate search results and shop and compare prices for things like airline tickets or hotels.
“Truly great search is all about turning your needs into actions in the blink of an eye,” he wrote. “It’s all about speeding things up so users can get on with the things that matter in their lives.”
A Need for Speed and Accessibility
Page also wrote about the speed of smaller devices, including mobile phones. He wrote that he’s especially excited about Android and Google Maps and Google Wallet features. Products like Gmail and Google Docs can also be used across Android and desktop devices.
“As devices multiply and usage changes (many users coming online today may never use a desktop machine), it becomes more and more important to ensure that people can access all of their stuff anywhere,” Page wrote.
He reiterated that Google looks forward to working with more hardware partners in the future.
A Strategy That Works
Google places bets on the technology believed to “have a significant impact over time.”
“When we launched Gmail in 2004, most people thought webmail was a toy, but its accessibility—all your email from anywhere, on any device—and insane storage have made it a winner with more than 350 million people,” Page said.
Google faced skepticism when it acquired YouTube in 2006, Page added. Today, YouTube has over 800 million monthly users.
Google is seeing a positive revenue impact from mobile advertising, Page wrote.
“Our goal is long-term growth in revenue and absolute profit—so we invest aggressively in future innovation while tightly managing our short-term costs,” he said.
A Relationship with Users
Google’s direct relationship with its users is an incentive for the company to do the right thing, Page added.
Users place their trust in Google and Google has “always believed that it’s possible to make money without being evil.”
“We take pains to make sure that users know when something is paid for, and we work hard to make these advertisements relevant for users,” Page wrote.
Over one million businesses now use Google’s advertising products,” he added.
Google started with AdSense and has supported its partners by paying out over $30 billion since its launch over a decade ago. The same is true for technologies like DoubleClick for online publishers and AdMob for mobile developers, according to Page.
“YouTube also generates healthy revenue for Google and our content partners—in fact, partner ad revenue has more than doubled for the fourth year in a row,” he said.
Working with the Best
Page went on to write that Google’s goal is to hire the best and keep them. The company invests in employee offerings such as high quality medical care and cool workspaces but also believes that the workplace should be challenging.
“People are more motivated and have more fun when they work on important projects,” Page said.
A Bright Future
Page closed his letter by explaining that he finds it “easier to make progress on mega-ambitious goals than on less risky projects.”
“Few people are crazy enough to try, and the best people always want to work on the biggest challenges,” he said.
Projects that fail can often lead to something that was worth learning and later using, he added.
He mentions that last year, the Google+ team decided to integrate multi-person video into their efforts and Google+ Hangouts was created. Users can now “video chat with anyone, anywhere, even from the Great Barrier Reef,” wrote Page.
He closed his letter with optimism and a sense of responsibility.
“I believe that by producing innovative technology products that touch people deeply, we will enable you to do truly amazing things that change the world,” Page said. “It’s a very exciting time to be at Google, and I take the responsibility I have to all of you very seriously.