Mar 19, 2005, 12:03am EST
Since I stopped reading slashdot a couple years ago, I never see articles until after comments are frozen. Anyway, back in January there was an article about Independent Developer Projects in the Workpace, aka Google’s 20% time and how one might implement it in other companies. I’m pretty dubious how successful it would be in other companies.
One of the reasons it works so well at Google is because there’s a lot of data. If you want access to the whole web, you can get it even if you don’t work in search. I’m not sure the same applies at other companies, including other companies in search. Does the MS Office team has access to MSN Search data? Would they care if they did?
There’s also lots of shared infrastructure making it relatively easy to process all that data.
Additionally, there are lots of smart people that you can work with or at least get feedback from on your 20% project. It’s the combination of these things that make 20% time a meaningful concept at Google.