Google hates clutter. If the company had a role in Neal Simon’
The re-design was a classic “Googley” move, and how it was redesigned is instructive. Google engineers tested to observe how actual users would react. They tried some 10 variations of the fade-in. They worried that the whole idea of first hiding the links might slow users down, if only by milliseconds. Or maybe people would use the page even more efficiently than those in the control group. (Yes, there was a control group.) “And sure enough,” said a blog post describing the testing, “that was the trend we observed.”
This redesign exercise is a pretty good metaphor for the company itself. Even as Silicon Valley companies go, Google is highly engineering driven. The company prefers austere front-ends, with plenty of the functionality just below the surface. Among the hyperlinks that fade in on the search page is one that says “more.” The resulting submenu has another hyperlink: “even more.” Keep clicking and you’
Google is a search engine, but it is also an infrastructure company, an online advertising company, a promoter of Web standards, a developer and co-designer of hardware, an voice and mobile applications company, and a cloud computing company. Google has well-known services like Gmail and YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006 for $1.
Google is also behind two different open source operating systems that give two different visions of the future. The first, Android, imagines the future as a set of mobile applications. The second, Chrome OS, envisions the online world as a set of SaaS services?the only client app you need is a browser with a media player built in.
So where is Google headed? The company has stayed pretty true to its core mission statement to “organize the world’
A quiet ascent into cloud computing
If Google were not so involved with search, you might think of it as a cloud computing company of a certain kind. Google has staked out a place in the cloud, but one that is distinct from others in the industry. Unlike Microsoft’
More recently, Google said it would launch an online store for third-party SaaS applications. Because many of these apps will be integrated with the Google Docs suite of office applications, the move will help Google better compete with Microsoft, whose client-based Office is firmly entrenched. The Wall Street Journal noted that Google sells its suite of SaaS applications to businesses for $50 a user per year, and has signed up some large companies, including Motorola and Genentech. “But many large corporations have been reluctant to migrate from Microsoft for reasons ranging from concerns about storing data online to complaints of missing features.”
Google is also taking on Microsoft’
All of these SaaS projects help explain Chrome OS, and its open source development counterpart, the Chromium OS project. Both are notable in that they support just one client-based application: the browser. That’