When Geeks Get Carried Away...
One of the cornerstones of Google's innovation is the freedom given to their engineers: 20% of their time may be spent on anything they wish to develop. However, as Google get's bigger and badder, there's some speculation this privilege may be going away:
Here's some fuel for your fire: a couple weeks ago, at a regular engineering all-hands, Larry Page went on a half-hour rant that left the entire engineering team wondering if he's gone nuts. He spent a long time lecturing everyone about how we're not smart enough to pick the right projects to work on, and he singled out a couple of projects (in front of hundreds of engineers) to complain about because they weren't using shared infrastructure components.
Then he announced that he doesn't want people to use 20% time to work on new ideas -- yep, Larry has suddenly decided that the only good way to use 20% time is to work on someone else's project. So don't expect to see any products like Google News coming out any time soon.