Saturday, April 09, 2011

Google ties bonuses to 'social' success, showing concerns over Facebook

Neither Apple (Ping) or Google has been successful at their attempts at entering the social space dominated by Facebook. Google is apparently so concerned about Facebook, that it has tied employees' compensation to success in social.

It's a radical change. Previously, it had been made known that Google was going all out to keep employees at the company with some generous retention bonus plans. But that was under then-CEO Eric Schmidt.

Office Depot
Google co-founder Larry Page just took over the reins as CEO this week, and things are a-changing.

Here's what the memo, obtained via screenshot by BI, says in part:
For Googlers on the Company Plan, the multiplier has both an upside and a downside. It can range from 0.75 to 1.25 depending on how well we perform against our strategy to integrate relationships, sharing and identity across our products. If we’re successful, your bonus could be up to 25% bigger. If not, your bonus could be as much as 25% less than target. We all have a stake in the success of this effort and this multiplier is designed to reflect that.
This includes those not directly involved in social. In fact, those not directly involved in social have a responsibility to help, as well. As BI also points out, all employees must test the products and give feedback. They must also try to push the products onto friends and family.
"When we release products, try them and encourage your family and friends to do the same."
Google’s struggles in social are well-known in the industry, but perhaps not among the public, which is why they failed: no one tried them, or at least, no one stuck with them. Google Wave has already been shut down, and Google Buzz has caused the company a number of headaches, and not as much positive Buzz as it might have wanted. While Google bought services like Jaiku and Dodgeball, it later closed both.

This internal FAQ shows, although not explicitly, that Google has serious concerns about rival Facebaok.

In addition to the above, several promotions were made, in an attempt to streamline product development. Those promotions include Andy Rubin, now senior vice president of mobile; Vic Gundotra, now senior vice president of social; Sundar Pichai, now senior vice president of Chrome; Salar Kamangar, now senior vice president of YouTube and video; Alan Eustace, now senior vice president of search; and Susan Wojcicki, now senior vice president of ads.

These moves are consistent with the company's stance when it was announced Page would take over as CEO. When Google announced Page would become CEO, the company was also clear that Page's priority would be to create clear lines of communication, accountability and responsibility across the company.

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