AdSense now brings in about one-quarter of Google's annual revenue and Gmail is the world's largest email service. But if it weren't for a Google perk giving employees the opportunity to spend 20 percent of their time on side projects, those products wouldn't exist.
Now, it looks as if the 20 percent time perk is no longer a priority for Google. While the perk isn't officially dead, it seems to have turned into more of a 120 percent policy, where employees are free to use Google's resources on their off hours, not company time, to work on independent projects. As Christopher Mims points out at Quartz it's just another example of Google putting less of an emphasis on its innovation roots:
The end of 20% time at Google fits with other moves made by CEO Larry Page since he took over in January 2011. Six months after he took the reins, Page announced that Google would adopt a “more wood behind fewer arrows” strategy that would put more of Google’s resources and employees behind a smaller number of projects. This meant killing off Google Labs, which had previously been Google’s showcase for its experimental projects—many of them products of employees’ 20% time.
The policy might not be right for Google anymore, but that doesn't mean the policy isn't having an impact, it's just having an impact at other companies.
Read more: Quartz
Photo: Flickr/Stuck in Customs