Case Study: An Analysis of Google Inc
A case study approach is used in analyzing the sustainability of effective staff training and development in the workplace. Google Inc was chosen as the case study subject because the company had been twice voted as ‘Best Company to Work for in America’ in the years 2007 and 2008 (Great Place to Work 2010). An examination of Google’s organizational culture, human resource policies, and employee training and development programs will help in analyzing the dissertation topic more concretely and concisely. This will also aid in meeting the study’s objectives.
1.1. Background of the Organization
In January 1996, Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google as a research project for their PhD studies at Stanford University (Google Milestones 2013). At that time, conventional search engines ranked search results by counting the number of search terms on the web page. Page and Brin introduced a search engine with a better mechanism that was based on the analysis of relationships between websites (Page et al 1999). They named the new search engine BackRub. This research project became the foundation of Google Inc. By September 1998, Google was incorporated as a privately-held company.
In June 2000, Google was recognized as the world’s largest search engine. By 2002, Google earned several awards including Best Search Feature and Best Design awards. The company gained success by continuously enhancing its products and services. The company also launched a free email account, called Gmail (Google Milestones 2013).
On August 19, 2004 the company has its initial public offering (IPO). The IPO earned Google USD $1.67 billion, which gave the company a total market capitalization of USD $23 billion (Elgin, 2004).
Google has achieved great success in growing its internet-related products and services. In line with this, it has acquired several small entrepreneurial ventures like Keyhole Inc, YouTube, Double Click, Grand Central, Aardvark and On2 Technologies (Google Milestones 2013). In recent years, Google has become a significant player in the telecom industry with its development of the Android mobile system. The company is also increasing its hardware business through its partnerships with major electronics manufacturers.
1.2. Corporate Mission and Organizational Culture
Google Inc has promoted its corporate mission of ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ The company seeks to empower individuals by providing its customers with the right products and/or services at the right time and by encouraging its employees to be innovative and productive. The company’s human resource policies are vertically integrated with this vision.
Despite its success, Denning (2011) criticizes Google’s corporate mission. Denning contends that Google’s mission does not truly reflect its core business. The company’s mission statement, which focuses on organizing the world’s information, describes the workings of a library instead of a web-based search engine. Denning cites the failures of Google Health and Google Power Meter, which were tools constructed from a library mindset and were designed to help people assemble information about their health and energy use respectively. Adhering to Google’s mission statement caused these business ventures to fail. However, supporters of Google believe that its mission statement has paved the way for the creation of innovative products and services.
Google is fundamentally built upon a culture of openness and sharing of ideas and opinions. This is primarily influenced by the company’s beginnings as an internet startup company. In line with this principle, the company has encouraged its employees to ask questions directly to top executives about various company issues (Google 2013). Google is a dynamic company wherein everyone’s ideas are respected and heard.
In a comparative analysis of Google vis-a-vis other information technology companies, it was observed that Google has a more employee-friendly working environment. The company also provides flexibility both in terms of working hours and work place in order to foster creativity and the flow of ideas (Business Teacher 2011).
Google’s organizational culture is built upon intrapreneurship. Employees are encouraged to be proactive, self-motivated and action-oriented, with the goal of developing new and innovative products or services They are motivated through the challenge of creating something new rather than waiting for their managers to provide them with next deadline or a prescribed project proposal. The vision of Google is to sustain the same level of devotion and enthusiasm among its employees as Larry Page and Sergey Brin themselves had when they were conceptualizing Google at Stanford University (Hammond 2004).
Google is also well-known for its attractive compensation packages, various on-the-job perks, and luxurious offices. These have been credited as motivating factors that encourage Google’s employees to be dedicated and hardworking. The company also utilizes training and development to maximize employees’ creative potential.
1.3.Human Resources as a Strategic Partner for Business
Google’s human resource development policies help the company to align its workforce with its vision. The company promotes its human resource department as a strategic partner of employees. Google values innovativeness and creativity in its employees. Innovation is very important for the long-term success and future growth of the company. To achieve this, the company encourages new ideas from employees and provides rewards/incentives to motivate them (Forster 2005). Furthermore, the company makes an effort to create a workplace with an atmosphere that is conducive to fostering creativity, imagination, and innovativeness.
The human resource department of an organization has the responsibility of keeping its work force motivated and helping the company to meets its targets. An important strategy in helping to achieve these goals is through the continuous provision of training and development in the work place. In line with this, the human resource department must ensure that resources allocated to the development and training of employees does not affect market dynamics in a negative manner. Human resource managers have to act as service providers to the organization’s workforce by rendering the employees as internal customers (Gupta 2005). Adhering with this line of thinking, Google’s work places provide various amenities to enable them to create and innovate.
At Google, the process of employee development starts from recruitment. As such, it is important for the company to hire the right talent that fits comfortably within Google’s organizational setting. Google prioritizes hiring employees who are willing to work as team players, with an attitude of looking for new solutions, and are capable of leading small creative projects (Horn 2011). Google hires employees who are willing to continuously train and develop themselves both as individuals and as part of larger groups within the company. As an organization, Google can shift the burden of learning to employees because it focuses on hiring individuals who already demonstrate a passion for self-directed learning (Sullivan 2011).
1.4.Training and Development
After hiring the right talent, the company, led by the human resource department, has the responsibility of enhancing and sustaining its talent pool through further training and development. Similar to other information technology companies, Google has one of the youngest work forces with a median age of 27 years (Great Place to Work Institute Inc. 2008). Sustaining such a young work force can be challenging as this age group is usually characterized by a quick change of associations. Google sustains its young work force by providing ample opportunities for learning and development.
Professional development opportunities at Google include trainings for individual and team presentation skills, business writing, content development, delivering feedback, executive speaking, management and leadership. Google also sponsors free foreign language classes (i.e. French, Spanish, Japanese, and Mandarin) for all its employees. Every young product manager is also assigned with career and management coaches/mentors, who teach them various skills and encourage them to establish their own start-up venture. Such mentoring and coaching is believed to have engendered a lot of loyalty among employees (Walker, 2012).
Google also pays particular attention to its engineers by providing them with unique development opportunities. For instance, ‘EngEDU’ is a highly specialized training and development program in which Google engineers conduct internal trainings to other engineers within the company. Additionally, the company has several leadership programs aimed at developing the company’s future leaders.
Google is able sustain its highly talented workforce through its training and development program called ‘GoogleEDU.’ This initiative is aimed at formalizing learning for managers and executives. It relies on data analytics to understand what kind of training is needed by employees. It uses employee reviews of managers in suggesting the right courses for managers. All these training and development efforts are made to sustain the company’s talented workforce, especially in the face of stiff competition from other internet and social media companies.
A 2008 survey conducted by ’Great place to Work‘ revealed that more than 90% of the company’s employees mention that they were provided with adequate training and development to enhance their potential. Moreover, 97% of employees believe that they were provided with all the essential resources to perform their jobs. Google provides its employees a minimum of 120 hours of training and development each year. This figure is almost thrice as much as the IT industry average in North America (Great Place to Work Institute Inc. 2008).
1.5. Google Inc: A Learning Organization
A learning organization is one that seeks to create its own future; that assumes learning is an ongoing and creative process for its members; and one that develops, adapts, and transforms itself in response to the needs and aspirations of people, both inside and outside itself (Navran Associates Newsletter 1993, p.1).
An important characteristic of learning organizations is that they do not strictly dictate their employees’ functions. Employees are instead provided with adequate flexibility to pursue their interest based on the premise that they are strategically aligned with the organization’s goals. By doing this, employees play an active role in shaping the organization rather than passively following prescribed routines. Employees are encouraged to express ideas and challenge themselves with new targets, which consequently contribute towards an improved work environment. Such active employee participation is a paradigm shift from the traditional authoritarian management, which was deemed less potent at harnessing greater human potential. Learning organizations can ‘create the results they truly desire and where they can learn to learn together for the betterment of the whole’ (Rheem 1995, p.10).
Through its strong commitment towards learning and development, Google has thrived as a learning organization, which provides its employees with a work environment based on openness and creative thinking. As a learning organization, Google embraces the idea that the solutions to the challenges and ongoing business problems reside within its employees. Google taps into the creative base of its workforce by giving them the ‘ability to think critically and creatively, the ability to communicate ideas and concepts, and the ability to cooperate with other human beings in the process of inquiry and action’ (Navran Associates Newsletter 1993, p.1).
Google’s management and leadership style is critical in enforcing such a learning organizational culture. Google values the common wisdom of its employees and considers freedom, flexibility and information sharing as vital for organizational learning and bringing out the best ideas to the table. The company’s former CEO and current Chairperson, Eric Schmidt, mentions that ‘in traditional companies, the big offices, the corner offices, the regal bathrooms, and everybody dressed up in suits cause people to be afraid to speak out. But the best ideas typically don’t come from executives’ (Manyika, 2008).
Google encourages learning and development at all levels of the organization. It follows the ‘70-20-10’ rule, wherein its employees spent 70% of their working hours on core business activities; 20% on assignments related to the core business activities; and 10% on projects that are not directly related to Google’s core business activities. Schmidt himself followed this policy during his tenure as CEO by spending his time in the prescribed manner in three different rooms (Battelle, 2005). This strategy is based on the company’s view that managerial oversight is counter-productive for exploratory research and that ‘new ideas emerge with freedom from thinking about obligations’ (Manyika 2008).
Likewise, Google encourages its core engineers to spend 20% of their time pursuing new projects that interest them in the absence of any formal regular duties. This is referred to as ‘Innovation Time Off’ (Battelle 2005). This strategy proved to be very productive as more than half of new product launches originated from this scheme (Mayer 2012). Furthermore, in its efforts to boost learning and development, Google adheres to a very flat organizational hierarchy, where employees do not obey managers just because of their titles without having them make a convincing case (Walker 2012).
Google’s approach towards fostering a learning and development environment is unique because it not only encourages ambitious ideas but also supports them by limiting bureaucracy and approving viable ideas of employees within days rather than months (Sullivan 2011). Employees at Google enjoy a very informal organizational culture and have access to several on-site amenities such as gyms, massages, pool, volley ball courts, and ping-pong tables, as well as stocked snack rooms and other recreational amenities (Google Culture 2013).
The learning and development efforts of Google and its overall human resource practices have yielded impressive results for the company. One of the most remarkable of these results is in terms of employee productivity. The mean revenue of each Google employee per year is estimated at more than USD$1 million. Google’s productivity metric is an efficient indicator of how the organization leverages its employees (Sullivan 2011).
Hout (1999, p.161) contends that ‘the invisible hand of the marketplace should displace the visible hand of the manager. The markets can determine where one team or initiative or company ends and another begins. Managers interfere at their peril.’ This signifies the importance of a talented, learned and flexible workforce. It is only through commitment to effective development and training that an organization can tap the collective wisdom of its executives and all of its employees in order to yield bright ideas and solutions that can be translated into the company’s success. Moreover, providing proper training and development can help to keep employees motivated and enthusiastic about their work.
Google is a good example of a company that is able to sustain its highly talented work force through its open organizational culture and effective training and development policies (Carlson, 2009). Google’s organizational culture, which has its roots from the internet start-up business model, encourages direct communication between employees and company executives. Google fosters an informal, friendly atmosphere among its employees. The company’s founders promote independent learning and encourage its employees to challenge conventional wisdom. Moreover, its offices are designed to cultivate creativity, innovativeness and imagination (Walker 2012a; Anurag 2009).
Over the years, Google has continuously enhanced its employee training and development programs. These programs are aimed at improving employees’ skills and to help them achieve better work performance. One of the company’s most recent initiatives is GoogleEDU, which is a way of determining what training programs are needed by employees based on data analytics and other statistical measures (Walker 2012b).
In 2011, Google provided classes to a third of its global work force and offered 186 different classes, ranging from presentation skills to marketing and advanced negotiations. The company regularly retools its classes to ensure that employees get the right training. In an effort to make its training and development courses more effective, Google has also offered specific classes based on an employee’s work area and career stage. The company also promotes knowledge sharing among its employees through its coaching and mentoring programs. Moreover, it provides in-house training provided by some of its employees (Walker 2012a). Google also hires external experts for its training programs.
Google uses innovative human resource approaches in achieving its goals. It decentralizes the training, development and learning effort and eschews traditional training methods. The company provides the necessary tools for development but places the responsibility of learning to its employees. In this regard, it hires individuals who demonstrate the ability for self-directed learning (Sullivan 2007).
Google allocates as much as 30% of an employee’s time for learning. Based on a 70-20-10 time allocation model, 10% of work time is allocated for ‘innovation, creativity, and freedom to think; while 20% is for personal development that will ultimately benefit the company’ (Sullivan 2007, p.1).
Google is able to sustain effective staff training and development in the work place through the support of top management combined with the efforts of the human resource department. The company’s open organizational culture allows for the integration of the company’s business goals with human resource practices. Moreover, Google prioritizes the well-being of its employees through the implementation of various training and learning programs, the provision of highly attractive compensation packages, and offering of various on-the-job perks because the company believes that its success is due to its people. Google recognizes that having great employees contribute significantly to the company’s success. Thus, it ensures that its training and development programs are sustainable and effective (Cope 2012).
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Ethics Paper (Google)
Individual Paper Google: The Quest to Balance Privacy with Profits Amanda Green MGT 308 Professor Vidal March 19, 2013 Background Since its birth over a decade ago, Google has been on the cutting edge of internet technological innovation, and more recently, consumer electronics and productivity tools. Many faithful Google users praise the company for the ease of use of their products, and for the number of free virtual products the company offers (Google. com, Google+, Gmail, Google Docs, Chrome, Youtube etc…).
In order for Google to offer a variety of “free” virtual products, they must sell ad space to other companies to be featured within Google products, such as their free search engine Google. com. In 2000, Google introduced a new way to capitalize on its advertising revenues by using a different way of selling ad space, AdWords. With this method of advertising, companies only pay when a user actually clicks on their advertisement. The users’ searches can also be tracked and advertisements related to the search words will be displayed to the user.
Great Power; Greater Responsibility? Being one of the most valuable brands in the world, Google has an inherent responsibility to use their power to improve the lives of their many stake holders. These stake holders include employees, investors, advertisers, and most importantly their consumers. Because of their unique work environment, Google employees seem to be a pleased stakeholder group. Google has gone above and beyond many companies to create an unmatched work environment and benefits for their employees.
With many perks such as a massage every other week, free gourmet lunches, an outdoor volleyball court, roller hockey, tuition reimbursement, bring your pet to work, and discounts on solar panels, it is obvious that Google is a place anyone would aspire to work at. But a happy employee does not necessarily mean a happy consumer. Google profits from user satisfaction and loyalty to their services and products. Recently this user satisfaction has been over shadowed by user doubt and concern. In fact, 52 percent of Google users have some concerns about their privacy on the site.
The Balance between Consumer Privacy and Corporate Profitability Due to a rapidly developing technological world, many tech companies are being faced with issues concerning consumer privacy and safety. With every advance in technology there comes a risk. In Google’s case, they have been able to collect consumer information, most of the time without the consumers’ knowledge, and use it to their advantage in selling ad space to advertisers. Google holds strong that this information is kept confidential and over time becomes anonymous.
Although Google does take its users privacy seriously, some users still think it is unethical for Google to use their personal information and internet browsing habits for profit. Perhaps, one of the best ways Google could work to create a balance between privacy and profit is to allow users easy access to the information that Google has collected about them. This way users could know exactly what information is being used my Google for advertisement profits.
If a consumer is uncomfortable with this, they could opt out of using Google’s services. Google could also provide a service in which consumers could pay a low monthly fee to insure that their personal information and internet activity is not tracked or collected by Google. In any situation, Google should continue to contribute large amounts of their resources to security innovation, in order to insure that users’ personal information is kept safe from computer hackers. Effects of Government Internet Privacy Regulation
As Google experienced in China, government regulations can be detrimental to not only their profits, but a contradiction to Google’s key principles. When Google was forced by the Chinese government to censor certain internet sites, Google felt this was against their key principles. So in 2012 Google decided to provide a warning for users when a search term might encounter censorship. The Chinese government did not approve of this, so Google moved on to Hong Kong and lost their major market share of Chinese internet users.
The Third Party Doctrine and the United States Patriot Act is a governmental issue that has caused weariness for users. Under the Patriot Act, the U. S. government could, by law, subpoena the personal information Google has collected about its users, even though Google assures its users that their information is kept confidential. Other governmental policies Google is facing are privacy audits done by the FTC. These audits could actually prove to be a positive opportunity for Google to improve on their privacy controls and regain faith of their users.
However, it will be essential that Google takes ethical steps to regain faith, trust and loyalty of their consumers. In the rapidly changing world of technology, Google will need to find ethical ways to be ahead of the game, rather than bending and pushing the internet privacy rules. References Sawayda J. (2012). Google: The Quest to Balance Privacy with Profits. Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative. Retrieved from http://danielsethics. mgt. unm. edu/
Google Case Study Critical Essay
1. What’s it like to work at Google? What’s your assessment of the company’s work environment? Ans: Google has a reputation for being a fun place to work, full of toys and intelligent people working on world-changing projects. To look at the company’s brightly coloured campus images, you could be forgiven for thinking that working at the company is all about ball pools, gourmet canteens and bumper bonuses. But what’s life really like inside the secretive search company? When we asked Google to discuss campus life and daily routines for workers it declined; the majority of former employees are equally coy. However, we’ve spoken to people that have worked on campus, and trawled former employees’ disclosures to uncover what it’s actually like to work at the company with the “don’t be evil” mantra.
Part of Google’s image as an energetic company stems from almost college-like campuses where everything is laid on, with young employees and, indeed, founding staffers enjoying a riotous time, particularly in the early years. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin created an image of a hip company willing to work hard and play harder. Folklore includes tales of company ski trips, TGIF meetings and other junkets that became the stuff of legend. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin created an image of a hip company willing to work hard and play harder In his book, I’m Feeling Lucky, Douglas Edwards, Google’s 59th employee, described some of the debauched parties that staffers were expected, rather than invited, to attend – even at the expense of domestic unrest.
“When I let Kristen [his wife] know that Google required my presence on the slopes at Lake Tahoe for an employee-only bonding trip, what she heard was: ‘Please stay at home with our three children while I head out with a bus-load of adrenaline-charged, hormone-drenched post-adolescents for three days of bacchanalian binge-drinking, substance abuse and room-key swapping.’ She got it mostly right,” he wrote. Edwards tells of a ski-trip bar stocked with $75,000 of booze – “and an ample supply of other social lubricants” – and naked frolics among staff. However, as the company grew, and the economy started to turn sour, many of the travel perks were slowly withdrawn; the hell-raising culture has certainly become more corporate over time. The culture may be more sober, but many of the perks that drew some of tech’s brightest minds to Google remain.
“From the beginning, the founders wanted to provide employees with free and good food,” says Annika Steiber, an innovation management expert who has been interviewing Google employees for almost a year as part of a Chalmers University of Technology study. “The company wants to take care of them and reduce their stress about things outside work – whether it’s a doctor’s visit, haircuts, getting the dry cleaning done or help with daycare. Google wants to provide this so people can focus on the job. My interpretation is that Google truly cares – it really didn’t feel like it was just a message.” Alongside working with hyper-intelligent colleagues, the perks are still held in awe by staffers. “I had access to plenty of perks and more privilege than I’d ever had before, and it was all free – free meals, free gym, free electric scooters to ride around on; it was all very cosy and comfortable,” says Andrew Norman Wilson, who worked as a contract Google video producer until last year. Employees are also impressed with the work-orientated facilities.
“All conference rooms are wired for everything you need to make your life easy,” says Google Analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik. “In companies I’d worked at prior to Google, I had to reserve a projector and carry around my power bricks and Ethernet cables. At Google, all the power adapters you need are in the conference room – Apple or ThinkPads; there are two projectors; and most have high-bandwidth videoconferencing.” The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate The fabled Friday afternoon company-wide TGIF meetings are also still going strong, with a weekly catch-up offering workers a chance to mingle with management. “The TGIF meetings were quite relaxed, with people eating and drinking,” says Wilson. “It was part celebration of the company, part a weekly catch-up meeting and a way of breaking down the business-social divide.”
Time to grow up
Yet as Google has grown, it has lost some of its adolescent enthusiasm and unruliness – the inevitable consequence of maturing into a company with almost $12 billion in profits in 2011. Indeed, some former employees believe the company’s culture has transformed beyond recognition. “The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate,” reads a now-infamous blog post from James Whittaker, a former test director with the company. “The Google I left was an advertising company with a single, corporate-mandated focus.” Such criticism by former employees does, of course, require an element of scepticism.
Trawling forums shows that most staff genuinely enjoy working at the company, and Google has tried to create an environment where people want to work hard. In 800 ratings from current or former employees on recruitment site Glassdoor, Google scores 3.9 out of 5, which is stronger than the scores of both Apple (3.8) and Microsoft (3.4). It does rely on finding the right sort of person to begin with, however. Unhealthy work hours?
To the outsider, some of the hours that people are willing to put in might seem unhealthy, but Google selects people who will fit into a culture of working hard, and who believe that doing so can make a difference to the company and its users. “The semi-structured organisation works when you have a certain kind of person; the people in Google are selected through a very long recruitment process,” says Steiber. “They put in a lot of investment to pick the right people. Qualities of the Google person include being self-organised and self-driven; these people usually don’t need leadership, they need mentorship. “They need a visionary to pinpoint the priorities, but then they want the leaders to back off and not micro-manage. These people are highly intelligent.”
However, to progress, workers need to make an impact, and that often comes at the expense of long hours. Google workers at its major campuses are often on site earlier than necessary – in time to pick up a free cooked breakfast – and leave late, having stayed behind to get their free dinner, too. The food on site is without fail championed by staffers: healthy, fresh, inventive dishes are served up daily. However, Google isn’t providing free food out of mere charity. Communal eating means many people work an extra hour in order to pick up their food, and there’s a feeling workers are still on the clock even while eating. “Google wanted people to meet in a natural way, since it believes in a sharing of knowledge and experience – in a campus restaurant, staff could meet a number of different people, and functions and groups,” says Steiber.
“They have tables with signs saying ‘if you want to share interesting thoughts, sit here’. Most employees were in their mid-20s – these kids don’t have a life yet so they spend all of their time at work “The kind of knowledge they share is very tacit – it’s hard to code in a knowledge management system; hard to write down. It’s easier and faster to share in face-to-face meetings, so the restaurant could be such a natural meeting place.” Eating free food and sitting talking with like-minded colleagues may not sound like hard work, but from Google’s point of view it’s productive. Although Google might not actually demand staffers put in long shifts, there’s certainly a suspicion that staying online – both at home and in the office – will be recognised in appraisals and rewards discussions.
Remember, this is the company that gave all of its staff a free Android phone for Christmas, and invented Google+, the most compelling feature of which was videoconferencing tool Hangouts. “Most employees were in their mid-20s,” says one former Googler on the company reviews section of the Glassdoor recruitment website. “These kids don’t have a life yet so they spend all of their time at work. Google provides nearly everything people need, from clothes to on-site healthcare, dental care, laundry service and a gym. “Imagine going from college to this environment and you can see how much everyone works. People are generally in the building between 10am and 6pm every day, but nearly everyone is on email 24/7 and most people spend their evenings working from home.”
That isn’t to say the workaholic lifestyle doesn’t meet with the approval of the hungry young minds who work for the company. “You get a free shuttle to work, use available vehicles to run errands, and grab a coffee and gourmet breakfast before starting work with some of the most interesting people around,” one employee writes on Glassdoor. “During the day, you visit a tech talk and learn something new, have lunch with a colleague and grab an espresso on the way back to your desk, before collaborating on a new project with someone in a different working group. Back to your own work, then it’s time to grab dinner starting at 6.30pm and woah, it’s late – time to grab the 8.30pm shuttle home.
Of course, not everyone wants to work in that environment and, while concerns weren’t ubiquitous, employees did question the work-life balance, particularly as they got older. “You’ll be way older than most of the people you work with, and your manager may or may not understand family commitments,” says another Glassdoor contributor, while another complains that “yes, I am motivated, but don’t want to work on weekends to get a promotion.”
Despite Google’s flat management structure and rapid growth, a common complaint is that there’s no obvious career progression, and recognition and feedback from management varies greatly between departments. The “fairness and respect” category on Glassdoor ranked a relatively lowly 3.6, with reviewers complaining it was impossible to work on high-visibility projects, and that promotion could often boil down to a popularity contest. Office politics, it seems, are just as prevalent in Mountain View as they are elsewhere. 20% time
Despite several high-profile research projects, such as Labs, being closed down in recent months, Google remains a company that touts itself as a centre of innovation, focusing on the 20% rule: workers can explore other projects during 20% of their working time. There are conflicting opinions, however, on whether staffs really have the time to work on non-core projects.
“The truth is that while every Googler has the opportunity to take 20% of their time to work on whatever they wish, it isn’t carte blanche to take Fridays off and play on the Xbox,” says Chris Smith, a Google software engineer in a blog. “Having a 20% project doesn’t mean you’re responsible for 80% of your job; more like you’re volunteering to put in 120% effort.” The ability to work on side projects will inevitably depend on whether somebody is on top of the day job. “At Google, performance is measured by impact – benefit to Google and its customers,” says Smith.
“If an engineer is able to have a big impact, then spending some cycles on a 20% project is no big deal. However, if someone was having difficulty meeting expectations as-is, then contributing to a 20% project would be a poor decision.” Other employees are more enthusiastic. Innovation management expert Steiber found that the 20% time scheme had a positive effect on innovation in the company. “The 20% projects were something people I spoke to talked about a lot,” she says. “First, it’s actual time to work on a new idea. Second, the 20% rule is a symbol that the company will give you freedom to try your own ideas.
There’s therefore an embedded expectation that you should do some creative stuff.” Looking for extra work will suit some workers more than others and that, in the end, could dictate what it’s like working at Google. As it’s grown up, Google has evolved and staff – like everywhere else – are expected to get through their work regardless of the pool tables or other distractions. Free-spirits and cynics may hate the corporate-centric campus culture and almost institutional enthusiasm, but others with drive and a less weary outlook may find the immersion motivating. “I knew people, and still do, that are really into it,” says Wilson. “There were other people for who it was just another job, another company, and they might consider moving on. There were also people who were very clever and capable, but were critical of the ways things were done and the corporate culture.”
Of course, as Google moves increasingly to the beat of shareholders, its decisions may make even the evangelists think twice about its direction, such as the Microsoft defector who fell out of love with the company. “Recruiters often asked me to help sell high-priority candidates on the company and… no-one was more surprised than me when I could no longer do so,” Whittaker wrote. “In fact, my last three months working for Google was a whirlwind of desperation, trying in vain to get my passion back.”
2. Google is doing a lot for its employees, but obviously it’s not done enough to retain several of its talented employees. Using what you’ve learned from studying the various motivation theories. What does this situation tell you about employee motivation?
Ans: Google, Inc.’s founders believe that successful organizations thrive by dreaming big and providing people with resources to implement their ideas. Google Inc. is described as a university where employees work in small groups to collaborate, dissent, and debate their ideas and projects. What other employees can show up to work anytime they want, can bring their dog, wear pajamas, eat gourmet food for free, enjoy a free fitness center and trainer, see the onsite doctor if sick, wash their clothes and partake in free espresso at each corner of their “office”?
This relaxed, fun environment has worked well for Google, Inc. because it provides a psychological benefit to encourage employees to be more committed, more creative, and more productive. Google Inc.’s method of job design is staying away from monolithic hierarchies that stifle and distract creative ideas. When highly motivated and highly capable people have a common vision, they do not need to be micromanaged. Google, Inc. relies on the feedback from peer to peers, not peer to middle managers. Schmitt states “If employees want complete control then join the Marines.”
Google Inc.’s radical decentralized approach to management structure is due to Google, Inc.’s founder’s belief that breakthroughs come from questioning assumptions and smashing paradigms (Hamel, 2007). Their motto is “Do not do something because someone told you to do so.” To question authority is not an anarchist bumper sticker, but an innovator’s imperative. There is no time for middle managers or type “A” personalities (Hamel, 2007). Group interaction is the fuel for Google, Inc.’s ideas. The decision making process is highly consultive not the traditional control and command. Google, Inc. thrives in a “I think I can” culture, not the traditional “no you can’t” bureaucracy. Just Google It!
Contemporary companies and start up companies can learn from Google Inc. by implementing change to create mechanisms to attract top talent, retain top talent, and motivate top talent for maximum performance. Companies are wise to put front line employees first because without them, there would be no customers—no company. Google, Inc. has changed the landscape and raised the bar on how companies should treat and reward their employees. Many companies talk about treating employees well and creating a culture where employees can grow and thrive; however, Google, Inc. put its money where its mouth is and invests in their most valuable assets—employees. Google, Inc. is unique because it focuses on noble missions and has convinced its employees to believe in their mission to change the world.
Their employees believe that they are a part of something big that is a conduit for world peace and an agent of change. More that creating unique perks and extrinsic rewards, leaders must create intrinsic rewards and create vision that employees believe in. Leaders must understand that a new generation of young entrepreneurs have emerged, ready to conquer the next big challenge and create the next big start-up. Thousands of students are thinking about huge ideas in basements who are going to come out with the next blockbuster product. Google, Inc. is trying to attract those young people.
Companies can learn from Google, Inc. by changing their management structure, working environment, and the way they treat employees in order to attract and retain talent and to succeed in the next decade. Talented people do not want to be told what to do; they want to interact in small intimate groups, they want feedback and challenging projects, they want time to work on their creative ideas, they want a genuine effort to promote improved personal life, they want a cool place to work in, and they want food. The Google, Inc. formula is a good glimpse for what employees are looking for in organizations; therefore, leaders must lead in finding the best methods in finding what rewards motivate employees.
Google Hacking Abstract: Google hacking is the term used when a hacker tries to find vulnerable targets or sensitive data by using the Google search engine. In Google hacking hackers use search engine commands or complex search queries to locate sensitive data and vulnerable devices on the Internet. Keywords: hacking, hack, Google, Google hack, hacking techniques, attack, ethical hacking, search engines, search engine hacking What is Google Hacking? Google hacking is the term used when a hacker tries to find vulnerable targets or sensitive data by using the Google search engine.
In Google hacking hackers use search engine commands or complex search queries to locate sensitive data and vulnerable devices on the Internet. Although Google hacking techniques are against Google terms of service1 and Google blocks wellknown Google hacking queries, nothing can stop hackers from crawling websites and launching Google queries. Google hacking can be used to locate vulnerable web servers and websites which are listed in the Google search engine database.
In other words, hackers can locate many thousands of vulnerable websites, web servers and online devices all around the world and select their targets randomly. This kind of attack is most commonly launched by applying Google hacking techniques to satisfy junior hackers. It is obvious that the Google hacking procedure is based on certain keywords, which could be used effectively if they are used by some internal commands of the Google search engine. These commands can be used to help hackers narrow down their search to locate sensitive data or vulnerable devices.
Nevertheless, the success of Google hacking techniques depends on the existence of vulnerable sites, servers and devices. However, we should not ignore the power of the search engines in providing information about the targets to the hackers in the reconnaissance phase. Beyond Vulnerability Malicious hackers can use Google hacking techniques to identify vulnerable sites and web servers for known vulnerabilities. In addition, they can look for error pages with the help of technical Page 1 of 8 nformation or retrieve files and directories with sensitive contents such as databases, passwords, log files, login pages or online devices such as IP cameras and network storage. Google Proxy Hackers can use the Google Translate service (http://translate. google. com/translate_t) as a proxy server to visit a website or translate the contents of the website or URLs without leaving any footprints. Figure 1: Google Translate Service. Google Cash Google copies the content of a website in its database. This function helps users to access the content of the website if the site is not available.
However, a hacker can use this function to access and visit a targeted website without leaving any footprint and in complete anonymity. Figure 2: The red cycle indicates the link to access the Cached page. Page 2 of 8 Directory Listings Web server applications such as Apache and IIS provide facilities that a user can browse and navigate website directories by clicking on the directory name and links such as Parent Directories. The directories and their content can be listed if directory listing or directory browsing are enabled by the administrator.
This vulnerability gives an unauthorized access to the files and it may help hackers to gain access to the information which can help them to hack a website or a web server or download its contents. Directory listings make the parent directory links available to browse directories and files. Hackers can locate the sensitive information and files just by simple browsing. In Google it is easy to find websites or web servers with enabled directory listings because the title of the pages start with the “index of” phrase so we can use index of in the search box to find the directory listings-enabled website.
If we want to get better result from our search we can use this combination in the search box intitle:index. of or we can use intitle:index. of “Parent Directory”. Figure 3: The result of using intitle:index. of “Parent Directory”. It is obvious that with the first command we used the Google search engine to search in its database for the websites which have been listed with the title of “Index of”. In the second command we used Google to search for sites with the directory listings and with the keyword which is often found in the directory listings.
Specific Directory Hackers can locate specific directories by using the directory name in their search queries. For instance to locate an “admin” directory in addition to directory listings, the hacker can use these commands: intitle:index. of. admin or intitle:index. of inurl:admin. Page 3 of 8 Figure 4: The result of using intitle:index. of. admin. Specific File It is possible to search for a certain file by directory listings. For instance, to search for the password. mdb file, this search query can be used: intitle:index. of password. mdb .
Figure 5: The result of using intitle:index. of. password. mdb. Specific File Extension Google lets users search its database for a specific file extension by using the filetype: command. For instance, if you want to search for pdf files, then you can use the query filetype:pdf in the search box. Server Information It is possible to use Google hacking techniques to determine the version of the web server application along with directory listings. This kind of information is vital to an attacker because it will © Ali Jahangiri www. alijahangiri. rg Page 4 of 8 help him or her to use the best way to attack the web server. For instance, hackers can use the search query intitle:index. of “server at” to find the web sites with vulnerable directory listings which are operated by an Apache server. Figure 6: The result of intitle:index. of “server at”. Different versions of Microsoft IIS servers have wide usage all around the world. It would be easy to find the servers which are operated by Microsoft IIS 6. 0 servers, which are listed in the Google database by using the query “Microsoft IIS/6. server at” on the Google search engine. Error Pages The error pages and warning pages are informative for hackers because these pages could be used to determine the vulnerability of the target. Most of the time hackers use the error messages as keywords or search phrase to find their targets. For instance, if you use “Syntax error in query expression ” –the in the Google search box, you can find the websites which have this error message as an Access error message; this message can display path names, function names and filenames which are helpful for the hackers.
Page 5 of 8 Figure 7: The result of “Syntax error in query expression ” –the. Hackers may use Google to locate vulnerable servers by searching for the error pages of web servers such as IIS. The queries intitle:”the page cannot be found”and “internet information services” can be used to search for IIS servers that present error 404. Default Pages Default pages are major sources of information about targets for hackers. They use Google to find live servers which are on the default page; most of the time, these servers have default configurations with many vulnerabilities.
Login Pages The login pages can be use for brute force attacks and gain unauthorized access to the target. In addition, the login pages can be useful to provide information about the target server. For instance, if we use the search query allinurl:”exchange/logon. asp” in the Google search box, we can find the login page of the Microsoft Outlook Web Access. For the typical login page in the web applications or portals which have been programmed by ASP, you can use inurl:login. asp or inurl:/admin/login. asp.
Figure 8: The result of allinurl:”exchange/logon. asp”. Locating CGI-BIN Common Gateway Interface (CGI) is a standard protocol for interfacing external application software with web servers. Hackers can use Google to locate the CGI-BIN applications or pages to target. For instance, the search query inurl:/cgi-bin/login. cgi locates the login pages base on CGI-BIN. Online Devices It is possible to create special search phrases to locate online devices such as IP cameras, network storage and printers with Google.
In this technique hackers use the default pages or the application names which vendors used for hardware and that have been supplied by vendors. © Ali Jahangiri www. alijahangiri. org Page 6 of 8 For instance, if you want to locate AXIS Network cameras then you can apply the search phrase inurl:indexFrame. shtml Axis to find online AXIS cameras. Here is another example: to locate online Linksys network storage with the GigaDrive Utility, you can use the search phrase intitle:”GigaDrive Utility” in the Google Search box. Figure 9: The result of inurl:indexFrame. html Axis. Google Hacking Database There is an unofficial website (http://johnny. ihackstuff. com/ghdb. php) which acts as a database for hacking of Google. This database has been used since its creation in 2004 by the Google hacking community. You would be able to develop your own Google hacking database by studying the behaviour of the equipment and identifying the pages, page titles and files which can be called and accessed by user and which will be listed in Google. Disclaimer: ? This document is to educate, introduce and demonstrate Google hacking.
You should not use the information which has been presented in this document for illegal or malicious attacks and you should not use the described techniques in an attempt to compromise any computer system. Ali Jahangiri operates a policy of continuous development. The information which this document contains reflects his understanding at the time when presented. Ali Jahangiri reserves the right to revise this document or withdraw it at any time without prior notice and states no obligation to update the data included in his document. The contents of this document are provided “as is”. No warranties of any kind, either express or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of solutions and instructions for a particular purpose, are made in relation to the accuracy, reliability or contents of this document. Under no circumstances shall Ali Jahangiri be responsible for any loss of data or income or any special, incidental, consequential or indirect damages howsoever caused.