What Google's Larry Page Needs to Do to Succeed as CEO: Top 10 Things

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What Google's Larry Page Needs to Do to Succeed as CEO: Top 10 Things

by Clint Boulton

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Go Social

Page and Brin need to do a full-court press on social software. What's that? Already in progress with Google +1? Great, but let's see it. Facebook claims to know exactly what you're doing. Now give the world a peek.

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Get Out and Do Your Own Socializing

Stop hiding out at the Googleplex, dreaming about self-driving cars and space travel and start meeting and greeting folks outside Silicon Valley, especially the politicians that are gunning for you. As we discussed last week, Schmidt has cultivated at least a somewhat candid aura for Google. But Googles data collection practices remain secretive and could use more illumination. Page should get out and become more public, minus the foot-in-mouth privacy jokes Schmidt has let slip. Kind of like how Dries Buytaert did here at DrupalCon with Drupal contributor Jeff Robbins and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams.

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Capitol Hill

That means touring Capitol Hill. That's right; it's no stretch for Gary Reback, Consumer Watchdog and other anti-Google hounds to walk the halls on the Hill to lobby for a congressional carpet call. Why not head them off at the pass by having informal discussions with politicians concerned enough to listen? Sit down with the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department to hear their grievances. Apologize for Street View and satiate the advocates. In other words, lobby and hobnob before you get called under oath for violating privacy or anticompetitive practices.

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Tour Europe

And while you're at it, go to Brussels and make nice with the European Union's European Commission, that antitrust watchdog that so vigorously pursued Microsoft and Intel and sued them for billions. This is a real threat to Google's ability to offer its Web services. If Google fails to appease Europe and the commission sues for violating the spirit of competition, expect the DOJ to follow suit in the United States.

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Fix Search

I often find what I'm looking for on Google and I suspect so do most of the 1 billion regular Google searches that helped Google gain 66 percent market share in the United States and even more in some places overseas. But an increasing number of tech-savvy power searches are fed up by the spam and they are complaining about it. Content farms such as Demand Media are partly to blame and Google's Matt Cutts and his team are working hard to crack down on content farm. But the declining search quality is the reason Hunch, Blekko and every other search startup think they can make a living in Google's world.

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Improve Android

Market fragmentation in Android is poor, but the billing capabilities suck. Apps found and installed in Android Market may be billed on T-Mobile and AT&T. But how can you not nail down Verizon Wireless' support when the Droid line is the leading platform for Android phones. And why can't my Droid X update to Google Maps for Android 5.0? Too many app updates break. That's not cool.

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Push Google Apps

Google Apps has been coasting, adding 1 million customers a year. But when was the last major customer win that wasn't a government agency such as the General Services Administration? There hasn't been a major killer adopter for Google Apps for awhile. That opens the door for Microsoft Office 365 and even IBM LotusLive Notes, not to mention the raft of smaller cloud collaboration software providers.

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Get Chrome OS Out

Chrome OS is promising as a Web OS, but it's late getting onto actual computers that will be sold in stores. Moreover, the early iteration of Google Cloud Print is laughable because we still need Windows-based machines to run the app. We shouldn't need a machine with an old-fashioned, on-premises-based OS to print documents via the cloud.

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Integrate Google Voice

Google stitched Google Voice into Gmail. Why not weave Google Voice throughout Google's Web services to make it one giant, free calling platform? Skype would hate it, but users would love this and it could keep people in Google longer. That would create the Facebook-type user engagement Google craves. Combined with social software features, it could create a killer app.

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Stop Chasing

Stop chasing the hottest company, such as Groupon, to buy. You'll only invite more antitrust scrutiny by giving the appearance that you want to own the Web.

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