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Larry Page Sums Up a Year as Google CEO

Making money still isn't evil, and user data is crucial


One year after he replaced Eric Schmidt as CEO at Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Larry Page posted a 3,459-word letter on the company’s investor relations Web page. Page originally served as CEO during Google’s start-up days, surrendering the role before the company went public in 2004, the Los Angeles Times noted.

“Last April, I began by reorganizing the management team around our core products to improve responsibility and accountability across Google,” Page wrote. “I also kicked off a big clean-up.” He noted that he had shut down or consolidated more than 30 Google products. “Google is a large company now, but we will achieve more, and do it faster, if we approach life with the passion and soul of a start-up,” he wrote.

Moving to counter the popularity of social media giant Facebook, Page launched Google+, the company’s own social media website last year. In nine months, Google+ has amassed more than 100 million members, the Los Angeles Times said. Facebook counts about 845 million members.

Public officials and media analysts have expressed worries about how companies like Facebook and Google collect and sell user information. These concerns led Google to implement a revised privacy policy in March regarding the collection and marketing of user personal data and online behavior.

Bloomberg noted that the privacy policy changes had provoked the wrath of several state attorneys general and produced at least three class actions, filed last month. Despite the rhetoric, Bloomberg said the new policy simply consolidated the separate user information collection and privacy policies of separate Google units, like YouTube, Gmail and its eponymous search engine – and added few significant changes to what the company had always done.

Page sought to address such concerns in his letter, noting that Google had always tried to be a “responsible steward” of user information. “The recent changes we made to our privacy policies generated a lot of interest,” he wrote. “But they will enable us to create a much better, more intuitive experience across Google — our key focus for the year.”

The company, famous for its “don’t be evil” philosophy, has come under criticism as it has grown. “We have always believed that it’s possible to make money without being evil. In fact, healthy revenue is essential if we are to change the world through innovation, and hire (and retain) great people,” Page observed.

He pointed out that more than a million small enterprises benefited from Google advertising programs. “At the heart of our business model has always been the belief that we’re better off if we can create a larger pie for our partners,” Page explained.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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