Sunday, December 7, 2008

Even Google is getting cautious

You do have to wonder what the state of the economy really is if even Google feels the need to tighten its belt. From an article in The Wall Street Journal by Jessica Vascellaro and Scott Morrison entitled "Google Gears Down for Tougher Times":

So with the U.S. economy in a recession, Google is ratcheting back spending and cutting new projects. "We have to behave as though we don't know" what's going to happen, says Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt. The company will curtail the "dark matter," he says, projects that "haven't really caught on" and "aren't really that exciting." He says the company is "not going to give" an engineer 20 people to work with on certain experimental projects anymore. "When the cycle comes back," he says, "we will be able to fund his brilliant vision."

I have to cringe when I read the words "When the cycle comes back" since they make it sound as if something extremely precious has just evaporated in front of our eyes and that maybe even Google is filled more with "hope" than a hard-core plan.

For some reason, this made me think of IBM, which thrived in The Great Depression since the New Deal government programs fostered a true renaissance for data processing equipment with all of those new social programs that needed to track people.

This leaves me wondering what "digital" technologies may blossom over Obama's first term. We do know that he intends to spend a lot on green power, alternative energies, and the Smart Grid. It will be interesting to see what happens with government spending on other, non-power "digital" technologies.

-- Jack Krupansky


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