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1/21/2011
03:22 PM
Gina Smith
Gina Smith
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Dear Larry. A Personal Note From Byte.com To Google's New CEO

Gina Smith sends a note to Larry Page -- urging him to not be evil and please, start building stuff again!

Dear Larry,

Congrats on your new gig at Google. With all due respect, here are a few of the things I hope you'll keep in mind as you fill Eric's large shoes in coming weeks and months.

1.) Don't be evil. That's Google's official motto, right? According to your own investor docs, the phrase "don't be evil" means "providing (users) unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that (Google) can. But it's also about doing the right thing more generally -- following the law, acting honorably and treating each other with respect." Google's words, not mine. It's a great aspirational goal. Love it. Please stick to it -- don't destandardize things to suit your needs, don't kill competitors for the fun of it -- act out of the intent that your motto embraces.

2.) Do more developing, less acquiring. Sure, your acquisition strategy at Google has been whizzy. But it's been years since we've seen a Google-grown product from you people. Turn that around and make Google a place where great things are built again. Buying 30-plus companies is cool and all. But build something, goldangit!

3.) Admit to yourself what everyone already knows. Users are spending more time with Facebook and making Facebook their homepage. You need to focus harder on Facebook -- again, good luck with that -- while at the same time, doing no evil. (See request No. 1, above.) If this isn't high on your to-do list, call Eric Schmidt and ask why it wasn't on his.

4.) Pick up the phone. Let users (and reporters!) get ahold of you, and don't push us behind hordes of PR and flashy pre-prepared soundbites. You can reach me right here at gsmith@techweb.com. And while you're picking up that Android phone of yours, remember that Apple is going to come at you hard and fast to try to defend its marketshare. Keep the Droid hot. And again, BUILD something. (See No. 2, above.)

So, Larry, congratulations and yeah, you've got your work cut out for you. The industry will be watching you closely and that's a tough position for any new CEO to be in. Eric Schmidt, in his comments yesterday, certainly seems to have faith in you. Don't be evil, stay on track, bring innovation back to Google and keep up the momentum with Droid, and the industry will have some faith, too.

For InformationWeek.com and the upcoming BYTE.com, I'm Gina Smith.

p.s. Let's do lunch. LOL. No, really.

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