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Question:

Google is a company that has created a road map for what IT companies should be like; explain how Google can be considered to be one of the world’s best companies and at the same time one of the world’s most secretive organisations.
 
 

Answer:

Google Inc is a US based MNC, which is predominantly tech firm deals with internet based services and products that has revolutionised the world. It was founded in 1998 that aimed to organise the data of the world which should show universal usefulness and accessibility to the aspect of information accessibility.  Headquartered in California, it has been instrumental in shaping the internet and defining new products that has helped daily lives to be benefitted immensely. Looking back the chronological events, its is evident that the key to become an aggregator was the coding behind the search results which was much sharper and relevant than that of the nearest rival. In this essay we try to decipher as to how Google grow fast and big, as one of the IT’s most admired firms while it is also too secretive in whatever it does. The company started as a search company enabled the products and services to evolve over a period of time (Arundel, 2001).

The success of Google existence is the search engine which was its first product to the world. This required coding and the ability to translate into ten different languages was a strategy which unified the Google users. This platform of search was later on improved with stickiness factor by Doodle that depicts an icon for any event in history. Gmail an advanced brand of email from Google also connected the people and opened up communication and free services offering chat and few innovative features which other email providers did not have. Most of the innovation by Google is addressing the user based needs and more international in approach that allowed the company to penetrate and play as the only integrator for the whole world. Google personalisation and customisation at the mass level showed that innovation in digital platform helped to segregate the markets and yet offered them the customisability in whatever they wanted to do online (Steiber, 2013). The company initially offered standalone products while most of them were path breaking which disrupted the online world. The company emerged as an IT firm, which had charted the growth of internet keeping the needs of the users in mind. It became mass producer of content, news at one stop becoming the internet enabled company to stamp its identity. It was clearly finding its way in shaping the organisation but is secretive as the launch had competition which it was wary of. The Google’ approach to launch had the official launch date with the company or product head describing the usage benefits are the standard patterns (Teece, 2010). This however, is a closely guarded secret as its numerous idea incubation teams in Google adopted the concept to deliver a more secretive affair. Much of it is due to the nature of online applications that had to be tested and beta testing was launched. This shaped Google’s ability to understand the coding phase and testing phase which needed to meet the user expectations at global level (Goswami, Mattoo and Sáez, 2012). The secretive nature however is more on the lines of Google’s ability to understand the target population their demand patterns which should reflect in the promise of the new venture (Jean, Chiou and Zou, 2013).

The second game changer development that helped Google to foray ahead is ‘Google Adwords’ that is a self service programme which enabled users to pay online, and choose key words that are used for the huge internet customer based for targeting. It also offered Google analytics and performance feedback that helped to understand the viability of what pays. This changed the way the internet evolved as Google gradually become a power player in defining the web architecture and how the documents, photos, media will be shared with the different programming languages with the integration of Google APIs. The above invention was first of its kind which shows how product driven architecture in Google gave its way to services. This is more users based and closely linked to the Google search engine of tag words. Google’s ability to design content or information with the tag words therefore is a surprise as it evolved as more of a solution centric breaking the trend of the product centric image. This makes Google’s think tank outshine the nearest competitors and its innovation created user stickiness while no other competitor could imitate. Google thus is able to shape and control the internet dependency from the varied users groups like IT developers, content and the structure. This was path breaking and disruptive in its class that rendered the users to realise what and how they wanted to use the Google platform. This was a long kept secret as the ability to link the tag words into the Google search system and bring out the effectiveness in output required Google algorithm which kept on changing over the years. This was a more of an emergent need of the users which was offered while Google kept this project under wraps until the concept and coding and output matched to what it wanted. There is a need to secrecy which Google realised as this is a monetising model that is what users wanted and is the game changer of how personalisation of search content, visibility is being controlled (Mühlbacher, Leihs and Dahringer, 2006).

While the whole world seeks information in the form of news, Google timed its Google News that managed to tap over 4000 new sources to start and now have reached over 50,000 sources giving a boost in online readership, new websites and web pages that are reaching to billions of readers in different countries and languages. This is a key integrative feature which Google recognised for the digital world. It also segregated the scholars and launched a search engine for research domain in any subject along with the Google books that had excerpts of e-books for users to read before buying offline or online. The news also allowed Google to foray into digital media where it controlled and adorned the aggregator which compelled different stakeholders to be a part of the search for news. The company hence was emerging more of an application oriented IT firm rather which exploited the online platform. This was a more streamlined version of what other search engines offered but the ability to aggregate globally with all countries and across language domains showed the capability of the IT engineering prowess. This gain showed how Google strategy was inclusive of variety of people, their needs and had to adopt a carefully adopted strategy to launch the application to the world stage. It led them to do continuous innovation and also be the one of most open in terms of accepting ideas inside the firm. The organisational culture of the IT project teams working in multiple projects showed the need to be open in terms of communication, project viability, testing till the final launch. This whole approach however is a closely guarded secret as Google’s foray needs to be tested online which tests the reliability and validity of the new application intended for the user based satisfaction. 

 

The strategy of Google to penetrate search engine market also led to creation of Google toolbar a plugin which made the search possible even without the Google home page (Teece, 2010). The social media boom was coming, so the need to integrate and offer people to people platform using ‘Orkut’ and later on ‘GooglePlus’ was born. The trend of the Google’s foray into each of the above technology platforms are interlinked to the user based demands while few of them addressed the latent needs of the users that did not exist before.  Over the years, Google’s delivery and launch in providing search email led to higher level of communication on the internet which is blogging. The company did acquisition as it had received rounds of funding and its model had monetisation capability which other search engines did not offer. It was aware of ‘usenet’ and ‘blogging’ as the content becoming more organised and a part of the daily transactions. It also launched Picasa that consisted of sharing of picture albums, along with the textual content. The trends in the internet emerged fast and with its team, Google’s closely guarded secret is spawned in the backyards. This led to the creation of the empower teams who did incubation of idea which is very unlikely in American corporation when compared to Japanese management. Google’s strategy to offer technical advanced cutting edge tools online is a blend of the user based habits and feedbacks. This became predominantly a key (Gilligan and Hird, 2013).  

The Google R&D labs therefore showed that it wanted to aid businesses with corporate emails that are customisable (Savoia and Copeland, 2011). It has also integrated with other software applications like Microsoft office as Google Docs, followed by Google Excel. Therefore Google’s ability to do collaborative invention that allows users to use the features of the PC to be used on smart phones is a revolutionary innovation. The company showed the capability of computing by showing that it is committed to the invention that led to opening up of offices in UK, Germany, China and India. Most of the innovation like ‘Google chat’ emerged as an email add on, when Google employees used to interact at personal level (Sofka et al. 2012). The firm level diverse thinking and open culture led to innovative ideas and offers to design more intuitive tools that were enablers of user functions. Gradual development of the Google’s offerings tend to integrate the mobile based interfaces, applications in smartphone ‘Apps’ which are the changing face of the technology shaping the user lifestyle. GooglePlaystore similar to the Appleplaystore challenged the Apple and Blackberry domination and its foray into designing Android OS (operating system) showed the mobile industry to be the initiator and facilitator status. It allowed manufacturers of the smart phones to take advantage of the Google’s OS, to be a based and offer Google Playstore to download ‘Apps’ paid or free as per requirements. Google understood that the knowledge of the employees who are able to collaborate are spawning now more innovative ideas that are solution centric software applications (Steiber, 2013). There is a gradual shift of the product to software application centric developments. The trend in internal research previously had the monetising approach in Google that now has been modelled in such a manner which is leading to greater idea generation and multiple projects running at the same time. 

 


The essence of the Google’s approach to employee diversity which is helping to do innovation lies in the fact that talent is the key. It has been able to control and shape the online world as innovation holds the key while it has been able to foray from IT Company to a media firm (Mayer, 2008). The ability to integrate and address diverse needs and the role of facilitator and be solution centric allowed the firm to reach greater heights in the consumer perception. The clear cut strategy of Google chronological events show that it has been able to show domination of web events though the competition is stiff, it has consolidated the users in a manner that compels them to stick to use one or more services. The Google’s approach to the development from idea stage is closely guarded secret as most of the teams in Google work separately. The feasibility of the new application or product developed are found to be similar, and based on previous platforms (Mulgan, 2012). The Google’s approach to development seeks to address the gaps in the technology ecosystem which has taken internet world by storm and now mobiles to adapt OS which is free. The approach to the online world therefore shows distinct traits, of secrecy during development which is only leaked after testing phase is over. Google builds on the user expectations and makes the users wait till the final launch date is decided at the HQ. It is a standard practice but Google’s take on Apple, Blackberry being an IT company required them to understand the broader technological impact it will make in the world. This reflects the Google’s approach to organisational culture and entrepreneurship coupled with the ambition to dominate the world (Finkle, 2012). The current Google’s offerings are motivated by competition and the redefining it with more options. The ability to do it differently is a secret research which Google needs to guard in order gain to take on the competition headlong. The issue of succeeding in the technological world where things change in three months, need to prepare as a company. Hence the secrecy mode and ability to understand the customer nerves of technology adaptation in their lifestyle. There is also the fear of failure as Google’s approach to differentiate in the technology world depended on its ability to differentiate IT offerings as much of them are improvised and improved versions of existing competitor products (Kultti et al. 2006). Comparing Google Maps and Google search engine, the former shows innovation while the latter shows the Google’s technological ability to upgrade the Yahoo search engine’s structure. There is higher degree of innovation in each of the innovation that Google has engaged into which speaks about the passion that had secrecy to ward off competition (Bos et al. 2015). It wants to guard the rate of innovation and its scope which is mostly disruptive in this technological world as higher stakes are embedded in it. It is a common feature even in the manufacturing world where the NPD (new product development) has many failures and prototypes until the final version is tested for launch. There is also a monetary angle as all the efforts in man hours committed also needs the walled approach to NPD (Gassmann et al. 2010).

Hence, most of the Google’s innovation is perhaps the passion to improve the existing competitor’s offerings, while Google has changed it by designing new IT projects which are disruptive to the core. The strategy is to leave the competition at bay and move ahead in technological and concept superiority which leaves a large gap between the followers and Google. All of these show that Google does not want the company’s information of NPD to be divulged. Secrecy forms thus a potent weapon to one of the key organising principles for the creative process of innovation. This is evident in the whole process of how Google has been able to shape the online world, mobile applications or foray into driverless car integrating GPS, Google maps and electronics to embed the Google technology (Iyer and Davenport, 2008). The Google’s approach to work methods through employee diversity is a openness in a closed walled approach from outside competitors is enabling to disrupt the innovation continuum in this world. It has been able to successfully launch top secret projects with precision and deadline that has shows the importance of employee knowledge leading to firm success. 

 

References

Arundel, A. (2001). The relative effectiveness of patents and secrecy for appropriation. Research Policy, 30(4), 611–624.

Bos, B., Broekhuizen, T. L. J., and de Faria, P. (2015). A dynamic view on secrecy management. Journal of Business Research, 68(12), 2619–2627.

Finkle, T. A. (2012). Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Silicon Valley: The Case of Google, Inc. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 36(4), 863–884.

Gassmann, O., Enkel, E., and Chesbrough, H. (2010). The future of open innovation. R and D Management, 40(3), 213–221.

Gilligan, C. and Hird, M. (2013). International marketing. Oxon [England]: Routledge.

Goswami, A., Mattoo, A. and Sáez, S. (2012). Exporting services. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.

Iyer, B., and Davenport, T. H. (2008). Reverse Engineering Google’ s Innovation Machine. Harvard Business Review, (April), 58–69.

Jean, R., Chiou, J. and Zou, S. (2013). International marketing in rapidly changing environments. Bingley, U.K.: Emerald.

Kultti, K., Takalo, T., and Toikka, J. (2006). Simultaneous model of innovation, secrecy, and patent policy. In American Economic Review 9 (6), pp. 82–86.

Mayer, M. (2008). Innovation, design, and simplicity at google. Proceedings of the 39th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education - SIGCSE ’08, 199.

Mühlbacher, H., Leihs, H. and Dahringer, L. (2006). International marketing. London: Thomson Learning.

Mulgan, G. (2012). Social Innovation: Blurring Boundaries to Reconfigure Markets: Palgrave

Savoia, A., and Copeland, P. (2011). Entrepreneurial innovation at Google. Computer, 44(4), 56–61

Sofka, W., Shehu, E., and de Faria, P. (2012). Appropriation in Times of Open Innovation: Does Secrecy Still Work? Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings.

Steiber, A. (2013). A corporate system for continuous innovation: the case of Google Inc. European Journal of Innovation Management, 16(2), 243–264.

Teece, D. J. (2010). Business models, business strategy and innovation. Long Range Planning, 43(2-3), 172–194.

References
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