Google gets the bumps

Anyone using Google today (and that’ll probably be a fair few of you) may notice the sweets cascading from the search engine’s logo. That’s because the uber-trendy internet brand is celebrating its ninth birthday. As a present to itself it is getting a makeover, at least in Europe.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The company is planning to expand on the continent in a bid to avoid being seen as an aggressive American multinational simply out to make cash. First up is its plan to hire several thousand engineers to create an R&D team to match the size of the one it has in the US.
The fact that Google is facing up to such problems is a sign of its phenomenal growth. In nine years it has done what used to take companies two or three decades. From start-up to hero, and it has already tasted the bitter fruit of maturity. Look at the flak over its co-operation with the Chinese government in suppressing free speech, or over its approach to data storage, which many see as an invasion of privacy. It has also fallen under the radar of the competitions watchdogs following its purchase of DoubleClick, the digital marketing agency. All of which clashes with its unofficial corporate ethos – ‘Don’t do evil’.

Yet Google still apparently receives a CV every two seconds, so there would seem to be plenty of gas left in the tank, and the European expansion can only help. We're sure the tales of lava lamps, beanbags and bike-riding in the brightly-coloured offices haven’t lost their youthful appeal. Still, soon enough the company will hit double-figures. What will happen then? Perhaps a midlife crisis by the age of 13.

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