The Google Shareholder Meeting: Tidbits

Yesterday, I took some time out of my day to attend the Google annual shareholder meeting.

This meeting is more of a formality than many such meetings held by public companies.  As of the record date, the officers and directors held a total of 70.2% of the voting power of the company — so, obviously, everything has (or should have) been decided before the meeting.

Perhaps because of this, the formal portion of the meeting was a dry speed-reading session of various folks reading their portion of the Proxy Statement out loud.

In contrast, the complimentary on-campus lunch on the patio and the product demos prior were a big hit with those in attendance, as was the informal presentation and post-vote question and answer period.

Eric Schmidt’s presentation included a great Chrome ad, and some fun Internet facts, such as:

-10 years ago, there were 300M users on the Internet, today there are 1.2B.

-Today, there are 800 exabytes (1 EB = a billion GB) of information on the reachable Internet.

-Every minute there are 24 hours of video uploaded to YouTube and about 1/2 of those videos receive comments

-Eric said, “If you’re not using Chrome, you need to try it — everyone else is starting to use it.”  I chuckled internally when I heard this, since I was sent to building 43 to print my shareholder proof, and the browser they presented to me was Firefox.

-Google Translate is translating 160M pages/day.  And Larry, when asked by the man behind, said that he thought translate was the Next Big Thing. (Note — for more info check out this Play-by-Play post on the meeting)

Other than that, several folks took the microphone to give heartfelt praise and thanks to Google for their stance in China, and several others took the microphone to denounce and complain about the horrid handling of the proxy materials (Eric Schmidt asked  Patrick Pichette to personally meet with each of the grumpy folks after the meeting — I bet that was fun).

My favorite microphone participant was the very excited woman from Frederick, MD, who drove all the way across the country in her Google-themed car (with a brief stop in Topeka) to make a personal plea for Frederick, MD (with a second request on behalf of Topeka) to win the Google Fiber-Optic City contest.

All-in-all, it was a great way to spend a couple of hours.  Given that it’s down the street from my office, I think I may take the afternoon off to attend next year as well.