Google’s Influence in the Digital Age

It’s a rare occasion that a company grows to have as much prowess over multiple industries as Google has. Since their launch in 1998, their mission has been “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” By launching products and services centered on this purpose, Google has grown to set the world’s standard of information and how it’s managed. What can your business learn from them?

Cultural Influence
Google” has become an everyday term in the English vocabulary, as both a noun and a verb. Many times in our conversation, “Google” is synonymous with “search the web”. For example, you may say to your friend, “I’m googling how to grill steak,” instead of, “I’m searching the Internet about how to grill steak.”

Aside from our speech, Google has infiltrated our daily routines with its products and services including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even financial organization solutions. Through these devices and offerings, Google has influenced culture in a way that very few companies throughout history have. This is largely due to powerful strategic marketing tactics and campaigns that catch attention and drive sales. Google has not only learned how to market through various online mediums, but has even caught the attention of niche markets offline. For example, Google has reached culture through film, by being featured in movies such as The Internship, a movie centered on the unique company culture that Google offers its employees.

Technological Influence
Google’s determination to change the way we access and use information is epitomized through their technological innovations. Most recently, Google Glass, a groundbreaking technology, combines Google’s software services with day-to-day application. This product introduced the world to the possibility of wearable technology, as users are fed a constant stream of digital information via a mini screen that is fixed on a pair of glasses.

In the software realm, Google has pioneered online tools like Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive and more that get widely used at work and home alike. Google’s Android operating system is also the most widely used smartphone software in the world, further emphasizing their technological dominance in mobile computing markets.

Corporate Influence
Google’s influence spreads far past cultural and technological influence, as many former Google employees left the company only to influence other corporations around the world. For example, the world of social networking would not be the same without Google (aside from them launching their own network, Google+ in 2011). Google’s former Vice President of Global Sales and Operations, Sheryl Sandberg, is now the COO of Facebook. Furthermore, Dick Costolo, the current CEO of Twitter, was previously employed by Google when his startup company, Feedburner, was purchased by Google. Another former Google employee, Kevin Systrom, is now the CEO of Instagram. Former Google employees are CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, and COOs of social media outlets like Pinterest, Buzzfeed, Snapchat, search engine companies like AOL and Yahoo, and technology companies like Square. This kind of influence is remarkable.

In fact, these companies and more actively seek to hire former Google employees in hopes of capitalizing on the Googliness of these individuals, and many have. Conversely, it seems as though companies in direct competition with Google have taken a stand against hiring their former employees, including Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple.

Lessons from Google
Ultimately, it appears that one of Google’s strongest attributes is the quality of their employees. Obviously, any company’s employees are responsible for the success of that company, and Google seems to have capitalized on the best of the best. Here are a few takeaways that can be applied to any business:

Google hires the best people in their field. While you likely don’t have the resources to hire the best of the best around the world, you can certainly be intentional about your hiring process to make sure you are onboarding excellent employees.

Google is intentional about creating an open minded, creative, and pleasant work environment. This one is easy. As a business leader, think about the conditions you like to work in, and make sure they’re available to your employees as well. Listening to the wants and needs of your employees will go a long way here.

Google employees are constantly interacting with game changing personnel. The key here is continued training. This doesn’t mean you have to take a company field trip to hang out at the Googleplex to bump shoulders with Larry Page, but you should be actively looking for opportunities to support your staff with more training and experience.

Whatever your opinions are about Google, you can’t deny their influence on the world around us. By combining product innovation with supreme marketing, Google has risen to the top of their market, and earned the right to be corporate, technological, and cultural influencers.