Google: Cracks in the Facade

March 13, 2014

In The Google Legacy (now out of print), I identified some weaknesses that would signal the decline of Google. One of the points I made concerned the working relationship of the founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. I wrote in 2004 that management at Google was a challenge for Messrs. Brin and Page. I pointed out:

Whether one embraces the Greek tragic flaw or cuddles next to the Seven Deadly Sins, Google has an ego problem. Messrs. Brin and Page make clear that Google is a smart operation, maybe the smartest company ever. Too much ego can work like insect killer on picnic ants. (Source: The Google Legacy, page 11)

A decade after I wrote these words, I read “O.K., Glass: Make Google Eyes.” In that article about the quite personal affairs of Mr. Brin, I spotted this passage:

News of the Wojcicki-Brin split finally broke on August 28, quickly followed by online speculation about Brin’s relationship with Rosenberg. “It was inappropriate,” says the source close to the situation, of the relationship. “Larry is so ethically strict. . . . I heard Larry was insanely upset by this whole situation and wasn’t talking to Sergey” for a time. [Emphasis added]

If the statement is accurate, has the team of Larry Page and Sergey Brin taken the first step down different paths? How do the investments in medical and health technology factor in to the Google product portfolio? What’s more important the DNA and synthetic biology initiative or equipping doctors with Google Glass to read QR codes of patients?

Worth watching.

Stephen E Arnold, March 13, 2014

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