Wednesday, December 13, 2006

So are We All Employees of Google?

I saw a headline for it in the Chicago Tribune first and then noticed a link on Digg from the Google Blog. Okay. I'll bite.

We all know Google is an innovator in any category, and most famously in the area of search. Google made waves in the financial industry when it decided to do its IPO its own way instead of following standard conventions. Google didn't divulge standard information for IPOs, citing proprietary information but the SEC wasn't having it so Google had to make some concessions, but just enough to get the SEC to shut up and let the IPO proceed. If you want to read about it, pick up "The Google Story". That'll be the only deep look inside the company any of us are ever going to get now.

Anyway, so there is this post on the Google Blog about Google's new employee stock option change: transferable stock options. It details what Google employees can now do with their Google stock, and how Google strives to keep the best and brightest blah blah blah.

OK. Great. does this have to do with me, a consumer of Google, an average citizen but not necessarily a Google employee? Giving perks is great for Google employees, but why is that a piece of information I need to know?

Of all the cool things Google does, I'm not understanding this need to put HR-related information on the Official Google Blog for all the world to see. If Google is going to tell us about its new employee stock information, why not post the Google employee hand book? Why not give the rest of the world an update on its health care benefits, retirement packages (if it has such a thing) and other HR-related information? Wouldn't that be just as useful as the transfer stock options for Google employees?

Or, again, is this Google's back door way of challenging the status-quo of standard business practices? Sort of like the Teach-for-America blog post, letting the world know that life is great if your a Google employee, leading one to think that life must really suck if you're not a Google employee.

You know, if Google is going to be so open about it's HR, why can't it be just as open about other facets of its inner workings? Oh. Wait. Right. I forgot, Google likes to contradict itself. It will concede ground to the Chinese government without blinking, but it wouldn't hand over information to the US government, even when compelled to by a subpoena. Google will fight the US government, but it will concede to China?

So where exactly are Google's priorities? And is it going to be it's own nation-state, follow whatever rules from whatever country it decides it likes best at that particular point in time?

We all do seem to have a blind faith in Google. That will be one hard fall if and when the wool is removed from our eyes.

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