Google CEO Schmidt steps down, but is not out

After last week’s shock announcement that the Google CEO of ten years, Eric Schmidt, was to step down, he has declared he expects to spend another ten years at the company.

Schmidt, who will be replaced by Google co-founder Larry Page in April, told the DLD media conference in Munich on Tuesday: “I’m very personally excited about my next decade at Google.”

Schmidt oversaw Google’s meteoric rise to juggernaut status, and his ‘demotion’ signals big changes at the search engine – to accompany the announcement he tweeted: ‘Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!’

In a post on the Official Google Blog, Schmidt explained that the previous structure, in which the triumvirate of himself, Larry Page and Sergey Brin took collective decisions, had slowed down decision making, and said the new roles would encourage “clear responsibility and accountability at the top of the company”.

Schmidt’s new role will be as Executive Chairman, where he will focus on adding value as well as being an advisor to both Larry (who will lead product development and technology strategy as CEO) and Sergey (who will work on strategic projects and new products under the title of Co-Founder).

So it’s all change at the top, but what does this actually mean for the future of Google?

Larry Page’s PageRank algorithm was the basis for Google’s search engine – he’s a well-known character and, according to ex-Google Advertising Sales Executive, David Scacco is :”a tireless champion for improving users’ experience.” Watch out for the following under Page’s watch:

Social Media

Page is taking over as Google is working to expand and vary its revenue streams beyond internet search advertising, as it faces increased competition from the, now scarily large, Facebook.

So far, Google’s social networking service, Google Buzz, has failed to create, well, a buzz. What doesn’t bode well is that Page also played a role in Orkut; another social networking project that didn’t exactly take off.

But when asked about the social media possibilities at Google’s 2010 fourth-quarter earnings conference call, Page said: “We are only at the very, very early stages of that, and I’m incredibly excited about the possibilities.”


The future of Google Apps, managed by Google Enterprise, looks uncertain since Schmidt’s departure.

While Google Apps isn’t necessary struggling at the moment, it’s not exactly lighting up the sales charts. While Schmidt was an enterprise-minded CEO who was well-groomed for pushing Google Apps, Page’s interest is focused more on the consumer market; leaving Google Apps’ to potentially plateau or drop off the agenda altogether.

Way of life

In Schmidt’s announcement of his departure, he touched heavily upon the impact Google has had on people’s way of life. He said:

“When I joined Google in 2001 I never imagined—even in my wildest dreams—that we would get as far, as fast as we have today. Search has quite literally changed people’s lives—increasing the collective sum of the world’s knowledge and revolutionizing advertising in the process. And our emerging businesses—display, Android, YouTube and Chrome—are on fire. Of course, like any successful organization we’ve had our fair share of good luck, but the entire team—now over 24,000 Googlers globally—deserves most of the credit.”

At the conference call, Page provided a more cryptic look into the future, saying: “I could not be more excited about moving us forward,” and added: “We are really only at the beginning.”

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