When Google was questioned by employees, the two founders seldom appeared this year.

 When Google was questioned by employees, the two founders seldom appeared this year.

According to BuzzFeedNews, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin almost missed the companys weekly TGIF conference in 2019. TGIF stands for ThankGodIts Friday (todays Friday). Employees can celebrate the coming of the weekend at the event heartily.

Since the founding of Google, Page and Brin have been absent from these meetings for the longest time in the companys history, as Google is busy dealing with all kinds of tough questions raised by employees, ranging from harassment to censorship. The TGIF conference provides an unlimited opportunity for Google employees to ask leadership questions, which is also a key element of Googles transparent corporate culture.

Over the years, Page and Brin have either participated alone or attended meetings together, facing questions from ordinary Google employees about the company and its direction of development. When asked when they last attended the TGIF conference, Google declined to comment. But an employee at Google said: They never missed a few meetings in a row, and certainly not both of them. They would have at least one person present.

According to Google sources, Pages and Brins absences were not entirely unexpected. When Alphabet was restructured in 2015, the two co-founders planned to withdraw from Googles day-to-day operations. Alphabet is now a holding company with other investments in areas such as Google and Waymo, a drone subsidiary, as well as companies focused on life sciences and anti-aging.

The move is supposed to allow Sundar Pichai, Googles chief executive, to maintain his leadership during turbulent times. However, the two co-founders are still actively involved in other bets.

In a post announcing Alphabets establishment in August 2015, Page wrote: We and the board know that its time for Pichai to become CEO of Google. I feel very lucky to have someone as talented as him to manage a slightly slimmer Google, which gives me time to continue to expand our ambitions.

But several current and former Google employees said it was the longest time Page and Brin had been absent from the TGIF conference since at least 1999. From October 2015 to most of 2018, the two men continued to attend the TGIF meeting. The reasons why Page and Brin failed to appear in 2019 confused many within the company. They believed that they should continue to stand up and perform their duties to their employees on a regular basis, especially at this critical juncture.

Google is addressing a variety of challenges internally. The company is still negotiating an employee strike last autumn, in which about 20,000 Google employees left their offices to protest the leaderships handling of internal sexual harassment. In addition, Google faces an internal rebound for its involvement in the U.S. Department of Defenses Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Project Maven and is accused of silencing conservative voices within the company.

Over the past year, Googles transparent corporate culture has been tested. Many employees resigned after details of the companys contract with the Pentagon were revealed. In response to some of these mistakes, Google established the Advanced Technology External Advisory Committee (ATEAC), but announced its dissolution less than a week later, as more than 2,500 employees signed petitions demanding the removal of a member of the organization. As tensions intensified, employees leaked details of Googles staff meetings to reporters, including full videos.

Now, the records of Googles TGIF conference will no longer be available to Google employees in a few weeks. Coupled with the absence of co-founders at such meetings, many employees doubt whether Googles traditional open culture will continue. Google declined to comment on the matter. (small)

Source: Responsible Editor of Netease Science and Technology Report: Wang Fengzhi_NT2541