Chapter 9. Google Grows Up
In less than a decade Google has gone from guerrilla startup to 800-pound gorilla. In some ways, the company is a gentle giant.... But that doesn't reduce the fear factor and Google knows it.
—Kevin Kelleher, Wired
How does the Google of today compare to what it was 10 or 11 years ago? For Sergey, it is about getting more sleep:
One thing is that we have [10,000] to 20,000 people to help us. Certainly I am not pulling all-nighters all the time like we were when were in the garage, when we were only three to four people doing everything.
Without question, Google grew up faster than any company in recent history. In adulthood, it now faces difficult and many-sided questions. Like other grown-ups, Google looks at its responsibilities, its customers, its employees, and to society as a whole. It also must continually refine and redefine itself if the company hopes to continue its leadership role in the Internet world.
Professor Joel West of San Jose State warns that Google grows more like its rival Microsoft every day:
Google is growing up, but it also is gradually bureaucratizing. Can it get past the bureaucracy and still be effective? This happened at Apple and Steve Jobs had to come back and break the culture. Will Google be like Microsoft, dominant for ten years, or like Toyota, dominant for 30 years? I don't have a crystal ball to tell me that.