By allowing its engineers to spend 20% of their work week on projects that interest them, Google is able to tap into the many talents of its employees. The latest “20% project” to get released into the wild is Google Moderator.
While Matt Cutts didn’t work on the project, he does offer a simple explanation of what Google Moderator does:
What does Google Moderator do? When we have tech talks or company-wide meetings, it lets anyone ask a question and then people can vote up the questions that they’d like answered.
You can see a screenshot below.
OK, so this is kind of cool. I could see where this might come in handy–like once a year, or something. What concerns me is this.
Marissa Mayer suggests there’s a long, long way to go in perfecting Google’s search engine. Right? So, why are Google engineers focusing their free time on projects that don’t serve that goal? Are they bored with search? Is this a sentiment that is pervasive among Google’s top talent?
I’m a big fan of Google and, admittedly, use many of its products that would not exist if not for 20% time. That said, I’d much rather Google focus that 20% on making search a better experience for everyone, instead of becoming the jack of all trades, and the master of none.
Am I being too harsh? Chime in!