diberry - 5:04 pm on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)
why should a company pay thousands of its employees 20% freetime, when they could just get them to work on it anyway? its a waste of money.
It's an unfounded assumption that those products would have been made with or without the free time. People work differently during time that is defined as their own, to get creative and do what THEY want and not necessarily what will impress the top brass. Some astounding ideas can come from this type of free time - stuff the top brass never would have thought of. They can't "get them to work on it anyway" if they don't think of it.
There is incredible value in encouraging employee creativity and an escape from groupthink. But Page was brought in to make more money, because apparently shares at $5-600 isn't good enough for some stockholders. In the short run, the company IS making more money, so Page is doing what he was asked to do. In the longterm, I think these changes could kill what made Google great... but if search's lifespam is already limited, there may not be a longterm for Google as we know it, so perhaps it's smart to cash in as best they can while waiting to assess how they need to reshape things for the future.