After nearly 10 years as Google’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt hands the job over to cofounder Larry Page on Monday. Schmidt will continue to serve as executive chairman and an advisor to the company, and will handle matters such as business deals and government outreach. A decade is an eternity in the Internet age, so it’s no surprise that Google has done lots of big things with Schmidt at the helm. Here are Google’s ten biggest accomplishments under Eric Schmidt.
When Google bought YouTube in 2006, it was already a popular site for streaming video–but naysayers questioned the acquisition’s $1.65 billion price tag, and for years the site was shedding money. Not anymore. Although it isn’t clear whether YouTube is profitable, the site is reportedly a big revenue maker thanks to 3 billion ad views per week.
Google Maps isn’t a big moneymaker, but it is the backbone for other important services such as Latitude, Places, and Maps Navigation. As Google goes local with offerings such as Hotpot and a possible Groupon competitor, it’s crucial for the company to have its own mapping service.
While not exactly an accomplishment, the September 2002 institution of “20 percent time”–working hours during which employees may do whatever they like–has led to countless other projects, such as Google News, Wave, and Reader. Of course, not all of these services have been hits (Google Wave flopped after a year).
Google’s initial public offering was a bit screwy, using an auction that was supposed to determine what the company was really worth. It arguably didn’t have that effect, but before the IPO, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin were earning low-six-figure salaries. Going public lined their pockets with billions of dollars in company stock.
Google Chrome, which launched in 2008, still lacks market share compared with Internet Explorer and Firefox, but it sets the agenda for Google’s vision of Web-based computing with developments such as the Chrome Web Store and hardware-accelerated 3D graphics. Chrome is also the basis for Google’s upcoming Chrome OS and existing Google TV platform, and it’s a fine Web browser to boot.