Marissa Mayer's career with Google
Marissa Mayer wanted to be a neurosurgeon, but landed up becoming the first female engineer at then-start-up company, Google; she became its 20th employee in June 1999. With significant contributions towards designing its now-famous search interface, Mayer is credited with being one of the reasons behind Google becoming the world’s most preferred search engine today. Interestingly, a job at Google was not her first choice, and it took an 8 hour conversation with a friend to convince her that taking a chance with a startup was a worthy endeavour.
During her 13 year stint with the company, Mayer made distinct changes towards the search engines physical appearance and ensured that her eye for style served its purpose. The homepage is white, with the now-iconic “doodle” or the custom logos which commemorate various special events and holidays. The minimalistic, clean and user-friendly interfaces of Google web search and Gmail are all part of Mayer’s contribution, along with Google Maps, Google Earth, Street View, and Google News, all of which have benefited from her insight. Also significant are her contributions towards product management efforts on Google’s search products, namely the Google toolbar, Google labs, and Google desktop.
She also made it a point to internationalize the site by adding over 100 language translation options to the site, and by contributing towards the creation and development of orkut, a social networking offshoot of Google, which was one of the first social networking sites to develop. While it is no longer popular post existence of Facebook, it still boasts of a loyal following of 33 million registered users.
Much of what Marissa Mayer did for Google is being repeated for Yahoo, the company for which she became CEO in July 2012. While drawing parallels between her 13 year contribution towards Google while it was a start-up and her current goal to rejuvenate Yahoo is not the intention, one cannot help but notice the similarities in her leadership style.
As per her plan of action with Google, one of the first steps Mayers took upon assuming her position at Yahoo was to clean up the search page interface. The often haphazard and crowded interface has since been replaced with a minimalistic, customizable interface which will only contain information based on the user’s preference. Her eye for design and detail is therefore prevalent while looking at the search engine interfaces of both companies.
Also existent, are her plans to make the company she is part of, the best workplace possible. She is known for organizing weekend movie and picnic outings for employees and their families while she was at Google; her current job at Yahoo has entailed numerous benefits and provisions for families and expectant mothers.
Mayer’s overall contribution towards Google is testimony to her abilities as an efficient leader, planner and visionary. The fact that much of Google’s current success and appeal is attributed towards her contributions, will give one an idea of the positive things which are in store for her present company, Yahoo, which looks to rival Google with her at the helm of affairs with its fresh new layout, new acquisitions, and youth-centred programmes and applications.