What percentage of Google employees are Indian?

A full working day a week just to develop your own projects? For Google employees, the "20 percent time" has been part of their everyday life for years. The engineers and programmers can use a fifth of their weekly working hours to develop their own ideas for a new Google product. "It enables employees to be more creative and innovative," Google wrote in a letter to potential investors before going public in 2004.

Most projects fizzled out, Google admitted at the time - but "others succeed and become good business". Well-known examples of such successful niche projects are, for example, the e-mail service "Gmail", the news aggregator "Google News" or the map service "Google Maps". Google's "AdSense" program was also created almost on the side. Today, nearly $ 3.3 billion in affiliate ad business accounts for about a quarter of total revenue.

But the successful regulation for employees of the Internet company is apparently about to end. Like the news site Quartz citing sources in the company reported that the "20 percent time" basically no longer exists. For some time now, employees have had to get their superiors to approve side projects. Recently, the company also apparently requires its managers not to allow requests for "20 percent time".

The possible end of the arrangement could be part of a strategic reorientation that co-founder Larry Page has been implementing since returning to the helm in early 2011. A few months after taking office, he announced that instead of countless small ideas, he would only pursue a few more promising projects in the future. In the course of this, the company discontinued the Google Labs platform, on which many of the side projects were published.

But the Internet company from California will not simply stifle the ideas and innovative strength of its developers in the future. Instead, the company is apparently focusing its future strength on a smaller number of more outlandish projects. Google engineers are already working on the “Google X” project, which is shrouded in mystery, for example with the “Google Glass” glasses, a self-driving car, and wifi balloons that are supposed to supply Africa with the Internet.

Users fear for innovation

The list of failed Google projects is indeed long. Google Buzz, Wave, Froogle, Video or Google Reader are still the best-known services that the search engine provider has discontinued. That Page now apparently wants to crush the source of such ideas with the "20 percent time" may be surprising, after all competitors such as Apple or Linkedin copied the concept and also gave their employees time for their own ideas.

The reactions on the net to the alleged end of the program are varied. Some users fear that Google is now losing its innovative strength. Other commentators who say they work for Google paint a more nuanced picture. Accordingly, the "20 percent time" is not completely dead - but as good as.

According to one user, the reason is a measure called "stack ranking". This measures the performance of the employees. Anyone who finds themselves at the end of this performance ranking must expect consequences. This leads to the fact that many Google employees prefer to concentrate on their actual work. In order to still be able to pursue their own projects, the employees simply worked longer. "To simply call the 20 percent time 120 percent time would be appropriate," writes one user.