2011 bonuses for Google employees are reportedly being tied to how well the company fares in its efforts to integrate social elements across Google products. That’s according to two reports from Silicon Alley Insider — reports that say the news first spread in a company-wide memo last Friday from co-founder (and now new CEO) Larry Page.
There are also reports tonight that Page has promoted a half-dozen Google execs to new senior vice president roles; more on that below.
SAI has published a screenshot that it says is an internal Google FAQ describing a “2011 Multiplier” affecting employee bonuses. The screenshot 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.
(emphasis is mine)
Google’s missteps in the social space are well documented. Google Wave has already been shuttered, and Google Buzz has caused the company a number of headaches … not to mention lawsuits. Google bought services like Jaiku and Dodgeball, but later closed both.
Last September, Google began talking about a new plan: a social layer across its products. That plan has started to be realized in recent weeks with the expansion of social signals on search results’ pages, and last week’s launch of Google +1.
Page hints at the importance of Google Profiles when he refers to “identity” in the quote above. Most, if not all, of Google’s social efforts are dependent on getting searchers to create Google Profiles – and the company has been improving, promoting and emphasizing those for a few years now.
But for more and more Internet users, profiles belong to Facebook. Facebook gets about 25% of all US page views and was the most visited US web site in 2010. And it’s not just a US thing. Just look at comScore’s 2010 Europe Digital Year in Review, which reported that Europeans spend more time on Facebook than Google and showed Facebook’s dominant position among social networking sites in more than a dozen countries.
So the big question might be this: Do users really want Google to be more social? Or has that ship already sailed? Google employees may get an answer in their Q4 bonus checks.
There’s more discussion of this on Techmeme.
Meanwhile, the LA Times is reporting that Page also completed a major overhaul of Google’s management structure today (Thursday). The Times reports the following promotions to new Senior VP status:
- Andy Rubin to senior vice president of mobile
- Vic Gundotra to senior vice president of social
- Sundar Pichai to senior vice president of Chrome
- Salar Kamangar to senior vice president of YouTube and video
- Alan Eustace to senior vice president of search
- Susan Wojcicki to senior vice president of ads
(Larry Page photo from Jakob Mosur. Used under Creative Commons license.)