Posted January 8, 2009 8:58 am by with 27 comments

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As internet marketers we tend to concentrate on Google and its product set. Makes perfect sense considering Google is google-logothe undisputed King of the Online World.

What’s interesting to see is what Google does as a business. The Yahoo! news site ran an Associated Press story that says the AP ‘obtained’ a copy of the regulatory filing that Google filed December 15, 2008 and it revealed some interesting things about the company and what is going on there.

First, it’s  interesting that it was filed in paper form only. This practice avoids the online aggregators of these public records from being able to post the filing through their normal channels. I suspect these folks will have it sooner than later but the intentionality of Google providing the filing this way is curious. Trying to fly under the radar? Who knows.

The area of biggest speculation is what Google is doing to navigate the economic doldrums we find ourselves in. Google’s Sergey Brin noted back in October that the company had roughly 10,000 interns, contractors and temporary workers in its ranks but this filing only talks of 4,300. Some conjecture circles around whether there have been large cuts on this side of Google’s workforce. Google spokeswoman, Jane Penner has said that the 4,300 number is just a subset of the 10,000 so it would be incorrect to see the difference in these two numbers as a trimming of staff and workers. Spin, spin, spin.

One thing that Google has assured everyone is that they will not be cutting back on research and development. In fact some of the document was not made public due to its contents containing trade secrets. That’s good to hear. Unfortunately for the ‘Googlers’ in Mountain View that has come at the expense of many perks that Google has become famous for including company-wide cash bonuses (the poor staffers had to suffer through a free Android phone gift this year) and some food services.

From a pure business perspective the other area that the company is seeking to improve in is what to do with the $14 billion in cash they currently have. Right now, Google is not exempt from using its money in ways that other big players like Microsoft and Yahoo! are. Google is looking for the ability to use their money in ways that can provide greater returns without being considered its own mutual fund.

While Google is the best and the brightest (for the most part due to their tremendous influence) in enabling people to do business and make a living it is still a company. I think it might be to all of our benefits to remember that and watch what they are up to in that role. Maybe we’ll learn something.

  • I would not be surprised if there were some major staff reductions at Google that we haven’t heard about yet.

    Dan London’s last blog post..Don’t Judge a Person by Their Twitter Profile

  • It’s not surprising that they could have job cuts. Google is a company like any other as you noted. When economic times are tough, they have to cut back on things like internships. This doesn’t mean that they are not still growing and making new innovations.

    Patrick’s last blog post..Pays to Live Green Up for 6 Months!!!

  • I would bet on acquisitions when prices are low.

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  • Yeh, Google probably has had cuts. I mean, every other company – yahoo, microsoft, etc.. – are all announcing job losses. By having temporary workers, Google has an advantage. Temporary workers or interns have short contracts. So when those expire and you decide not to renew them, that isn’t a job cut even though the job no longer exists.

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see how they navigate in this dismal economy.

    Shirley’s last blog post..Google Maps’ Street View Helps Fight Crime!

  • Just because it’s not publicised doesn’t mean Google aren’t laying people off surely?

  • If not staff reductions they’re definitely on a hiring freeze and huge benefit cuts i’m sure.

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  • well google is a Giant, let us face the fact… ok they are big and they got lot of googlers, but at the end of the day its true that they are a company and they have to abide by the global system…. but as soon things got back good they will be offering more than what they were offering….
    i believe they are having lot of plans for ppl to make money in this hard period…

    jean ghalo

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  • Ahhh…the life of a public company…’ve got $14 BILLION in cash, yet you’re cutting back on things to appease wall street? Crazy.

  • i believe that Google fire some its staff. Because when we look at the technological improvements .Staff requiretments musn’t be needed more.

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  • Google is already equipped with some of best technologies, staff cutting may a strategy to survive in this recession period, cutting of some staff is really a tragic, but by this way they can retain LARGE part of other staff & continue to invest in R&D to remain top.

  • Google will reduce its stuff for sure,because all the companies cut their wastes in hard times.

  • Whoa, this is interesting. For some reason I just assumed that Google would not be hit the same way as these other companies have been. It just seemed as though they would blast ahead as normal. People may not buy as many luxury goods in tough times, but I thought search and online advertising were going strong.

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  • It’s only logical to believe that a company wants to spread its roots to other markets just to up the value of their stocks. Horizontal marketing seems smart. The question should be, why didn’t Google start with this sooner?

  • Hmmmm. Interesting the lengths they went to trying to not make this information easily accessible. This would indicate some fire where there is smoke, IMO. This would be symptomatic of the recession starting to bite, and it is quite scary that not even the mighty Google is above all these economic rumblings. I was really of the opinion that there would’ve been a marked swing to online, with traditional businesses suffering the most.

  • Yea, that 14 billion in cash reserves sounds pretty alluring. But they’ll likely always hold onto that.

    Im curious if cuts have been done there. Times are tough so it’s not a shock if they have.

  • Pingback: Google SEC Filing Fuels Speculation | Al Carmona, Online Marketing Info()

  • When Google starts worrying about me I’ll worry about them.
    I remember when AOL was the Top dog look em now
    Google can fall just like the rest of em
    2009 will be the year to watch

    John Sullivan’s last blog post..The real deal in Blogging

  • 2009 will be a strange year. Interns and contractors can probably be let go without to much public announcement.

  • PS3

    With so many business suffering or struggling, it almost seems obscene that someone could have so much money available. To be fair, you have to congratulate Google.

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  • Not urprising that Google is being hit by the recession.. Well, not really surprising..
    Truth be told, I feel that they’ll slow down in the next year or two, but they’ll survive and bounce back as strong as ever when the wheel turns full cirlce and the economic situation is looking a bit better

  • Due to today economic malaise even such powerful giant as Google has to decrease the amount of his employees. However, even in such hard times Google will go ahead and will continue developing new and new technologies, innovations and such.

  • diversification and fully optimize the resources, what’s next monopoly even on the offline world.

    John’s last blog post..Busby SEO Test the hard way

  • All I know is that they will never go out of business, the company monopolizes internet advertising because they are the “go to” place that everyone knows about for internet marketing. If I ask a realtor, doctor or a kid on the street where to advertise their business online – somehow almost all of them know about Google Advertising

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