Google Labs

Is something wrong with Google?

February 17, 2011: 1:20 PM ET

It seems the company's best days are behind it, or that Facebook is eating its lunch. But maybe Google is so far ahead of the game that we're the ones who need to catch up.

By Kevin Kelleher, contributor

Google sign

What is going on with Google? Sure, today President Obama will be meeting with Eric Schmidt at a tech executive meet-up in Silicon Valley, but he almost seems an also-ran compared to the attention focused on two other confirmed attendees, Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. In fact, each month, it looks more like this is Facebook's world -- the world of the social web -- and Google is just growing irrelevant inside it. (Just today, Google made an announcement that it would do a better job adding social data to its search product, essentially admitting that's what users want from it.) Search, in fact, may be broken, as cunning SEO spammers outwit Google's once-formidable algorithms. Each new feature the company rolls out seems like another quaint addition to its museum of unmonetized innovations.

It almost looks like Google's (GOOG) best years are behind it only 12 years after its founding. The stock has moved sideways for the last three years. Top talent is defecting Google for Facebook, with some citing its "unwieldy" culture. The company has responded by spending more -- 10% raises, across the board -- and plans to hire thousands more. But a rejiggering of the "triumvirate" managing Google for the last decade came across as an acrimonious breakup. More

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