or many years, Google was able to hire great people and pay them less than the competition. That worked when Google was the new "new thing."
But now, Facebook is a hotter property, and Google isn't adapting well to that change. Thanks to its dominance in search advertising -- it controls over 65% of that roughly $12 billion market (which is 47% of the estimated $25 billion in 2010 U.S. Internet advertising) -- it has thought of itself as the king of the hill. That mindset has enabled it to attract great people whose talent it too often squanders. Indeed, complaints from Google employees about poor management and lack of opportunities for advancement read like those of any other company.
According to a January 2009 TechCrunch post, there were plenty of 2008 emails from former employees that suggest some pretty serious management problems at Google. Google's HR
department set up a Google Group to find out why people left. According to the TechCrunch post -- which includes many emails from that group -- the top complaints include: "low pay relative to what they could earn elsewhere, disappearing fringe benefits, too much bureaucracy, poor management, poor mentoring, and a hiring process that took months.
The New York Times reports, no fewer than 142 of Facebook's employees came from Google.
Almost paradoxically, another reason people are leaving Google is because of its policy of allowing employees to spend 20% of their time on self-directed projects. It sounds great for creative programmers in principle, but in practice, it leads to more innovative ideas than Google can commercialize. People spend huge amounts of time on these projects because Google doesn't have a system for killing mediocre ideas and promoting the best ones, which leads to equally huge amounts of frustration. As one peeved Google product manager told The New York Times, "There's a lot of these cool features that are very hidden, and a lot of people worked very hard on them and they...