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Google founders keep 'Top 100' list of new ideas
Updated: 2004-03-01 16:56

Google Inc., which provides lists of Web search results for users around the world, relies on its own brainstorming list to keep innovation at the top of the firm's agenda, Google's co-founders said.

Google's co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, addressing a technology conference in Monterey, California, on Saturday, said they encourage their employees to pursue their own ideas and projects. The company tracks the results with an internal list known as the "Google Top 100," they said.

"For 20 percent of your time, if you're working at Google, you can do what you think is the best thing to do," Page, 31, said.

Google News and Orkut, a recently launched online social network, are two products to have emerged from the top 100 list, said Page, who was speaking at the TED conference, an acronym for technology, entertainment and design.

Other initiatives include the Google deskbar, a small application that leaves Google running on a computer so that users can search without opening a browser, and Google answers, a pay-for-use question and answer service.

Google, which has been widely expected to sell common stock in an initial public offering this year, faces increasing competition in Web search from both Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. On Thursday, Page said he and other Google executives have "made no statements about an IPO."

In their presentation, Page and Brin shared some photos intended to show something of the celebrated informal and collegial culture of Mountain View, California-based Google.

Google meeting rooms have silent projectors built in to the ceilings to avoid the hassle and time of setting them up. At the meetings, employees use a Google meeting software to email meeting notes immediately to anyone who could not attend, they said.

Unlike most of Corporate America, Google allows dogs in the office. Its company cafeteria features the cuisine of chef Charlie Ayers, who once cooked for the legendary band, The Grateful Dead. Google also provides laundry machines for staff use and offers an annual ski trip to Lake Tahoe.

Google's own Web site says the firm prefers "high density clusters" for its engineers "with three or four staffers sharing spaces with couches and dogs. This improves information flow and saves on heating bills."

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