Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Google vs Microsoft on the browser, cloud, and mobile platforms

Google is an amazing company, even more so from the inside. To the outside world Google is just search. But Google has made three big bets on the future of computing; Chrome (browser), Google Apps (cloud), and Android (mobile) that will change everything.

Vibe –
Google is a high energy environment. Lots of smart people with big ideas. Everything is data driven. Decisions are made based on data that has been analyzed, and going forward everything is monitored and measured based on the data. Opinions and “gut feel” are considered too, but in the end, results are measured by data. Even things like travel expense caps for airfares and hotels are data driven. They keep track of every trip taken and the actual costs for airfares and hotels, then establish the caps based on the data.

The Google campus is beautiful, funky, and efficient. There are bicycles everywhere for people to use to get between buildings. In some ways it feels like a college campus, but the intensity level is much higher. Most people sit in open cubes with four or more people in a pod. Offices with doors typically have 2 or 3 people in them. People work in groups and there is a real sense of teamwork everywhere you look.

Perks – Free breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the gourmet cafes in each building. The food is awesome!! The 401K match is 50% of your contribution up to $8,250. Health plan is pretty good, but not as good as Microsoft’s plan. MSFT pays for everything, no co-pays, no deductibles. Google really caters to employees needs. Onsite dry cleaning service, car washes, Oil changes, ATM, Fitness Centers, Haircuts, Massage, and Concierge services.

Meetings - 30 minutes is the standard, start on time and end early if possible. Video Conferences are pretty standard since the company is geographically distributed. Nearly every conference room has video conference equipment. Everyone uses Google Docs to capture meeting notes, a true example of real time collaboration.

Gmail –
The Gmail you all use as consumers is the same email all Google employees use internally. Threaded conversations are a HUGE time saver and help keep things organized. I didn’t really appreciate that feature until my departure from Microsoft when my email inbox was flooded with messages many with the same subject line.

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