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Which Google Should Congress Believe? 428

theodp writes "In Congressional testimony last month, Google's VP of People Operations told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration that, due to limits on the number of H-1B visas, Google is regularly unable to pursue highly qualified candidates. But as Google stock tumbled in after hours trading Wednesday, Google's CEO blamed disappointing profits on a hiring binge and promised Wall Street analysts that the company would keep a careful eye on headcount in the future. So which Google should Congress believe?"
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Which Google Should Congress Believe?

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  • by bartyboy ( 99076 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:45PM (#19928693)
    The lack of qualified candidates doesn't mean that Google can't hire people with less/no talent.

    For all we know they hired 10,000 janitors and have trouble finding programmers.
    • by vfrex ( 866606 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:47PM (#19928729)
      I was about to hit the trigger on the same title. The two are not mutually exclusive, and this article is flame bait.
      • by Jeremy_Bee ( 1064620 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:49PM (#19928771)
        Thirded, (not a word I know). This article should be removed, it's junk.
        • by Retric ( 704075 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:09PM (#19929083)
          Yea, the article is junk but so is the H1B quota system. It seems like the simple solution is for the government to auction off H1B's.

          If Google really want's someone they can offer 50k but they can probably get local talent for cheaper. My guess is H1B's would balance out to around 25K a pop and most Americans would be fine competing on that type of playing field.
          • by dup_account ( 469516 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:17PM (#19929175)
            OMG! Finally someone has a bright idea on how to fix this! Please mod up as insightful.

            Also, I think them getting in on this side of the H1B argument goes against their "do no evil" policy. I may not seem so microly, but macroly it hurts everyone except those 70 people they want to hire.
            • by The Raven ( 30575 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @05:55PM (#19933279) Homepage
              Bullshit. It doesn't hurt those foreign workers who have lots of talent and want to get paid well for their skills. Nor does it hurt their families who get money home from Azheem.

              Oh... wait... to you, evil means 'slightly less good for me personally, or the people I identify with as a nation'. Being against protectionism isn't evil... in fact, if you're for the benefit of the human race as a whole, protectionist policies are evil. Free trade, without tariffs, may hurt some people, but it helps others... you're just whining because you happen to be neighbors with the people who might get hurt in the short term, and don't care about those other-skin-colored people who get a significant benefit in the short and long term from open border policies.

              Personally I'm gonna side with Google. I think nasty immigration restrictions are evil, and I support their push to increase H1B visas.

              Disclosure: I'm a white, 30ish male who works in IT and lives in flyover country. I won't benefit from H1B visas, nor do I know anyone who would. But I still think they're a good thing.
            • Google is evil. (Score:3, Interesting)

              by gumpish ( 682245 )

              Also, I think them getting in on this side of the H1B argument goes against their "do no evil" policy.

              You will observe that "Don't be evil" no longer appears in their credo.

     html []

              Sure, #6 says "You can make money without being evil", but it doesn't say that Google will itself refrain from evil.

              Once you go public, you answer to the shareholders, who are usually more interested in money than morals.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ucblockhead ( 63650 )
            You cannot find local talent in Silicon Valley for $50k.
            • Then either leave Silicon Valley -- there are plenty of lower-cost places in the U.S. with talented tech workers -- or pay more.

              Just because some company wants to hire programmers at $35k a year, while staying in a high-cost area, doesn't mean they have some magical right to do it.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by DudeTheMath ( 522264 )

              $50k is to the government. G^nP is suggesting that for top talent, the pay differential between Berkeley and Bangalore or Beijing is $50k, and that companies might be willing to concentrate more on finding (and paying for) America's Top Talent (that Silicon Valley reality show) for the same effective cost (lower salary, but auctioned H1-B) as an import.

            • I think the idea was that if a company really, really, really wanted someone, the bidding on a H1-B might average $25k or go as high as $50k. That just means local talent gets a "head start" over imported talent. Under that situation, if Google has a choice between paying a $50K salary to a visiting worker or $70K to a local, the additional cost of acquiring the H1-B at auction could give the local the advantage.
              • AFAIK, H1B visas have to be paid the same as other employees, and extensive documentation is required to show that this criteria is met.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  AFAIK, H1B visas have to be paid the same as other employees, and extensive documentation is required to show that this criteria is met.

                  Supposed to be, yes. In reality it almost never is. They cook the numbers as badly as any movie studio.
                • by Copid ( 137416 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @04:04PM (#19931789)

                  AFAIK, H1B visas have to be paid the same as other employees, and extensive documentation is required to show that this criteria is met.
                  I don't totally disagree with you on this point, but it's not usually difficult to manipulate systems like the one you're describing and get away with whatever you need to. Auctioning off the visas would (at least, market wide on average) do away with any incentive to hire H1Bs simply for salary reasons. Sure, there'd still be the decrease that comes with an increase in supply, but if there were any systematic underpayment going on, it would be accounted for in additional costs for the visas. We could then do away with any unnecessary salary documentation and investigation.
      • And the drop-off in stock price was in after hours trading Thursday Night/Friday Morning. NOT Wednesday! Flamebait and inaccurate article should be removed. Or "buried", as my friend says.
    • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:49PM (#19928755) Journal

      For all we know they hired 10,000 janitors and have trouble finding programmers.
      Or because of a lack of real talent to recruit, they had to hire 10,000 PoS programmers instead of 3000 good ones, hence high payroll and emplyee overhead expenses. Could be used as more fuel for their arguments to increase the H1B visa cap.
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:58PM (#19928907)

        Or because of a lack of real talent to recruit, they had to hire 10,000 PoS programmers instead of 3000 good ones, hence high payroll and emplyee overhead expenses.
        Surely the people at Google have read The Mythical Man Month and are smart enough to know that 3 programmers of lesser talent do not in any way equal 1 programmer of greater talent. Just as 9 women can't make a baby in 1 month, adding more people to a project rarely speeds it up and almost always slows it down.
        • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:06PM (#19929029) Homepage

          Just as 9 women can't make a baby in 1 month, adding more people to a project rarely speeds it up and almost always slows it down.

          Just remember, though -- while 9 women may not be able to make a baby in 1 month, they most certainly can make 9 babies in 9 months, while even the most talented woman would have a hard time producing more than 2.

          • by eln ( 21727 ) * on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:17PM (#19929171)
            Sure, but then you have all of the additional overhead costs associated with maintaining 9 babies instead of just one.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by PCM2 ( 4486 )
              Not if they're foreign babies! Clearly, the high cost of American babies is the problem here, not procreation in general.
          • So what are you saying? I need to have sex with 9 women this month in order to optimize overall baby production?
            • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:42PM (#19929591) Homepage

              So what are you saying? I need to have sex with 9 women this month in order to optimize overall baby production?

              Not exactly. The Mythical Man Month teaches us that when you're having woman problems, throwing more women at the problem is never the solution.

              The formula is n(n-1)/2 ... that is, for each group of women n, the number of channels of communication in the group is equal to n times n-1 (where the 1 is you), divided by two.

              Because of this, Fred Brooks recommends that you not engage any baby-producers until the overall system of women is well architected. Note that this process can take an incredibly long time. Another solution is to employ women with off-the-shelf babies, which often come with a third-party support contract.

              • Sounds good. But the reference to a "well architected system of women" seems obscure. And the solution of employing women with off-the-shelf babies seems to be presented with bias as it does not take into account the difficulties associated with getting a 3rd party produced/maintained baby to obey your commands.
            • No, not at all. Given average conception rates, you'd probably have to sleep with at least a different one each day.
        • by darkonc ( 47285 )
          This is true -- but this isn't like the mythical man-month situation where they're trying to add programmers to an already backlogged project. Google's problem is that they have more projects than they do capable programmers, and -- for some of the most lucrative projects, the people who would be best for the job are unavailable because of H1-B problems.

          As such, Google is finding itself hiring lots of people, some of whom are sub-optimal for the jobs they're doing.

          This problem is a good part of why Micr []

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by SerpentMage ( 13390 )
            >>Canada's lighter immigration restrictions apparently allow them to have more of the best people that they can find (overseas), but still have them 'close to home'.

            This is why the immigration debate is so screwed in America. Canada's immigration system is not lighter. Canada's immigration system is hard, but if you have the skills you can immigrate! There is a big difference between what America does, and what Canada does. Yet people seem to confuse the issues.

            What America has done and this is the da
      • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:10PM (#19929095)
        Or maybe they hired 3000 great people, but just wish they didn't have to pay so darn much because investors want them to spend less money []. See? No contradiction.
        • by dup_account ( 469516 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:23PM (#19929271)
          This is why our stock market driven economy is so messed up. Gee, they didn't make super numbers this quarter because they were building for the future....

          I love this quote "Investors wanted less spending, more growth".... And I'd like someone to leave a pound of gold on my doorstep every day.... Hmm, ain't happening. I better punish Google stock for it.
          • by cyngus ( 753668 )
            The great part about Google is they don't give much a shit about Wall Street.
          • by servognome ( 738846 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @02:09PM (#19929969)

            This is why our stock market driven economy is so messed up. Gee, they didn't make super numbers this quarter because they were building for the future....
            As opposed to the DotCom era where spectacular losses made the stock rise because companies were building for the future.

            I love this quote "Investors wanted less spending, more growth"....
            Yes that's a pretty generic statement, most likely there were some specific expectations investors had that weren't met.
      • Janitor jobs at Google are at the $50k mark, dang! Where where they when I was fresh out of high school?
    • by eln ( 21727 ) * on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:50PM (#19928795)
      Maybe they're having trouble because the best programmers know they can get hired anywhere they want and don't have the patience to deal with Google's ridiculously long and convoluted hiring process.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Or because they've hired all of the Stanford PhDs they seem to prefer and the rest of the best programmers who don't have PhDs don't want to be treated like second class citizens.
        • Torn (Score:2, Insightful)

          I'm torn between two options:

          (the humorous option) "You just think there's some big conspiracy to keep you down because you're an arrogant substandard programmer who thinks you deserve to be paid six figures"


          (the honest option) "Yeah... I know exactly how you feel."
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by spencerogden ( 49254 )
        FWIW, the Google interview process I was involved with was much quicker than I expected. 3 phone interviews and an on site in the span of about a month. From first contact to job offer was about 6 weeks. It is surprising how quickly their workforce is growing.
    • by jd ( 1658 )
      The lack of qualified candidates doesn't mean that Google can't hire people with less/no talent.

      For all we know they hired 10,000 janitors and have trouble finding programmers.

      You mean, they got 10,000 employees to transfer from Microsoft? Now we know Google is doomed.

  • Stupid question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Verteiron ( 224042 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:45PM (#19928699) Homepage
    Whichever one makes the larger campaign contribution.

  • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:45PM (#19928703)
    Seriously, just because Google says they hired too many people doesn't mean that they don't also believe there's a shortage of qualified people because of immigration. There are a lot of other jobs at Google that don't involve development, and their statement to wall street might make sense if you view it as, "yeah, we hired too many people, including under-qualified developers."
    • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:57PM (#19928887) Journal
      While that's theoretically true, it's funny to see everyone here rushing to embrace the "American programmers are incompetent! We need more immigrants, now!" position if that's what it takes to defend Google's honor.
      • by mi ( 197448 )

        American programmers are incompetent!

        Whom are you quoting here? Can we, please, have a link to anything like this and the evidence of it being "embraced by everyone here"?

        We need more immigrants, now!

        We do. American programmers are qualified alright on average, but there aren't enough of them.

        • by djones101 ( 1021277 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:19PM (#19929221)

          American programmers are qualified alright on average, but there aren't enough of them.
          Personally, I'd disagree with that statement. The lack is qualified programmers that live in the tech-rich areas of the country. I've met certified programmers who could make code practically sing, putting others in Silicon Valley to shame. The difference was they didn't want to live in LA, or Houston, or any other tech-rich area. They enjoyed their smaller cities where you don't fight a 2-hour backup in the morning for a 15-minute drive. The qualified programmers are out there, the companies just need to learn that they need to look beyond the silicon corridor and the outsourcing countries.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mi ( 197448 )

            I've met certified programmers who could make code practically sing

            You have? That's called "anecdotal evidence". Anyway, those people you met (whoever "certified" them) are already gainfully employed, aren't they? Which means, if Google were to hire them, their current employer would'be short. Which just reaffirms, what I said: "There are qualified programmers, we just don't have enough of them". And I like that personally as a programmer (although Google chose not to hire me for some reason after 3 inte

        • Hospitals are facing a massive shortage in RNs. There are plenty of qualified candidates. Hospitals spend massive amounts on staffing services (with everyone getting their cut), while their nurses have to do double shifts with too many patients. The stress chases off RNs, so the hospital spends more money on staffing services and the bureaucracy that comes with. It's a vicious cycle, one we're beginning to see in the tech sector. They offer crap wages and benefits so they need to go abroad, making the wages
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
        You don't have to believe that American programmers are incompetent. Google want to hire the top n% (for the sake of argument, let's pretend n=1). A significant proportion of this group may be in the US, but I can't believe that they all are. Of those that are, a great many are likely to already have jobs and not want to move. Once Google have hired all of the developers who are American, in the top 1%, and unemployed, or willing to change jobs, then they have to move on to people who only match two of
        • by Otter ( 3800 )
          Sure, I get that. I just thought it was funny that the people who fly into a frothing racist rage at any mention of India are suddenly cheerleading for immigrant programmers when their beloved Google comes into question.

          But since you're insisting on having a thoughtful discussion of this instead: I submitted a story [] a few weeks ago on what I thought was an interesting response to Google -- auction off H1-Bs. If the issue is *really* ultra-specialized positions that can't be properly filled with Americans, t

          • by jcgf ( 688310 )

            I just thought it was funny that the people who fly into a frothing racist rage at any mention of India

            I don't see many actual racist comments on slashdot that aren't modded down beneath everyone's threshold. Perhaps you are confusing resentment over one's job being lost to someone else with racism.


            "Man, I lost my job to some guy in india. Now people I still know at the company complain about 12 hour delays in communications as well as overhead of having to do everything via emails with no face to face." = a complaint that is not racist

            "Man, those pakis ought to go back to their mud shacks

      • Actually, I'm going to say that American programmers are generally not going to fit the needs of google. In the job market I'm in right now, there's a shortage of developers of any kind, not just good ones. This can lead to developers not getting as much education as they would have otherwise gotten. However, I also know a programmer from Russia who's getting a master's degree to be able to get a work visa (he's already got an educational one). When he's done, he'll fit the profile of a google developer bet
  • I'm pretty sure they're still allowed to hire as many Americans as they want. They were in front of congress saying they couldn't hire all the foreigners they wanted due to current immigration law. Seems to me to be apples and oranges.
  • Qualifications (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pyramid ( 57001 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:46PM (#19928711)
    And by "qualifications", they mean, "willing to work for pennies"

    • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:48PM (#19928739)
      Actually, by "qualifications" they mean "people who have Ph.D.s"; they're similar to what you were saying, I know, but the difference is there.
      • Re:Qualifications (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pyramid ( 57001 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:58PM (#19928901)
        No. I meant what I meant. Ph.D. or Devry graduate is irrelevant. Generally, most companies complaining they can't find qualified American candidates really mean, 'We can't find qualified native candidates for the paltry compesation we're offering". No wonder considering the cost of higher education these days.

        I work at a huge company with plenty of H1B holders. The ratio of talented to useless slob H1B holders is roughly the same as "home grown" employees here. It's just that the H1B folks COST LESS.

        • Re:Qualifications (Score:5, Interesting)

          by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:46PM (#19929653) Journal
          I have to disagree completely on this point, at least in the programming industry. In our company, we are looking for good people; those who know how to self-manage and have strong programming skills, or at least the ability to grow into strong programming skills. If we are able to hire two people a month then we are really happy. We run into people who have these kinds of problems:
          1. They are applying for a job they are clearly not qualified for. Maybe they studied system administration for two years at DeVry and then apply for a programming job.
          2. They can't program at all. "Well, it looks like on your resume you have 6 years programming industry experience in java. Could you please write on the board a program to swap two variables?, something like that...." (I did not make that example up, she literally did not know how to swap two variables).
          3. Once a month or so we run into a highly talented programmer who has been in the industry for a long time and really know what they are doing. These guys are always interesting to talk to so I love doing interviews with them because I always learn something new. Unfortunately they are looking for a short term consulting gig and we are looking for people to stay with us in the long term.
          And this is all BEFORE we even talk about salaries. We are willing to pay enough, we just can't find the people. Furthermore, I don't know anyone who can't find a job. Recent college graduates might have a little trouble, but it's because they don't know how to look, not because there are not jobs. Try looking at smaller companies, they generally treat their employees better, have more potential, and are easier to get hired into than giants like google. If you are a good programmer and can't find a job, then let me know because first of all I won't believe you and second of all I want to hire you [].
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by kisrael ( 134664 )
            my favorite bit of hiring dumbness: []

            it is ASTONISHING at the low quality of people you can interview. Degrees are only super-loosely correlated.

            BTW, w/ swap two variables... could they use a third place holder, or was it meant to be more clever than that?
          • by Pyramid ( 57001 )
            If you are interviewing a large number of unqualified candidates, then clearly your screening process needs to be fixed. It isn't that unqualified forign workers are being culled before reaching your doorstep while "the locals" aren't, is it?

            Consider this:

            Let's say there *is* a shortage of talented American IT professionals, regardless of income requirements. You are a politician hearing from companies about this shortage. Do you A) Go for the long haul and try to fix the education system to increase the nu
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I am sorry, but if you want to attract top talent, you need to pay top money. "enough" isn't enough.

            You are very arrogant if you believe that your company is so special that people will want to work there over other companies just because you pay "enough"

            I GUARANTEE you will have all the qualified candidates you want if you start offering 2X the salary that you are offering right now.

            Oh, you are not willing to do that? Well, then be satisfied with hiring two people a month because that is all you are

        • by homer_s ( 799572 )
          'We can't find qualified native candidates for the paltry compesation we're offering"

          Jut like people want to but the lowest priced shoes, TVs or oil for the lowest price, companies also want to buy labor for the lowest cost. What is wrong with that? You don't have a right to be employed by someone.
      • by br00tus ( 528477 )
        Yes, most of the H1-Bs I met had PHDs - not. One H1-B I knew had never touched a computer before coming to the US. If we were just giving our H1Bs for PHDs from IIT, we wouldn't be handing out tens of thousands of them a year
    • Yea, cause everyone knows Google hires people for pennies.

      Get a clue.
  • by Renaissance 2K ( 773059 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:48PM (#19928737)
    I didn't realize IT companies weren't allowed to hire American workers.
    • by WED Fan ( 911325 )

      Next step from the Pro-H1B Lobby is to get hiring American workers made illegal.

    • IT Companies can hire Americans - if they can find any that aren't employed already... The unemployment rate is way down, and if you've tried to do any tech hiring lately you'd know how hard it is to find qualified candidates. Espeically in places like the Bay Area!
  • Looks like (Score:4, Funny)

    by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:48PM (#19928747)
    Google spent oodles of boodle hiring the entire kit and caboodle while the managers went feudal.

    If they think congress will buy both stories, they lost their noodles!

  • Maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <> on Friday July 20, 2007 @12:48PM (#19928753)
    Maybe they couldn't get the smart A+ guys, and hired two A- guys to compensate?

    I'm not defending Google here, I'm just pointing out that the two statements are not totally contradictory. Technically, all the google blog said is "There exist candidates that we can't hire (but would like to) because of immigration laws".
    • Maybe they couldn't get the smart A+ guys, and hired two A- guys to compensate?

      Two mediocre employees do not equil one good employee, in fact just the opposite.

  • I know! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Etrias ( 1121031 )
    The first one. Wait! No, that second guy. I don't know! Third base!
  • Obvious (Score:2, Funny)

    by thegameiam ( 671961 )
    The one that isn't evil, duh!
  • Google lies (Score:4, Informative)

    by athloi ( 1075845 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:05PM (#19929023) Homepage Journal
    There is no shortage of IT workers, especially good ones, but companies make more profit off of young workers and foreign workers they can treat like slaves. See To H1-B or not to H-1B? []. And in the minds of many experienced project managers, quality of worker's intelligence and experience are more important than having 10,000 interchangable drones as Google seems to want. See Smart and Gets Things Done [].
    • ...quality of worker's intelligence and experience are more important than having 10,000 interchangable drones as Google seems to want.

      Then why do you object to them hiring the best and the brightest, no matter where they were born?

      To illustrate: Google's founder [] used to be a Russian citizen; should he have stayed at home instead of stealing the American jobs (from ?)

      • by athloi ( 1075845 )
        I don't.

        But as the articles you didn't read pointed out, they're not: they're hiring 10,000 drones because they're cheap and interchangable, not because they're smart!

        Before you accuse others of something they didn't do, try understanding their point of view. It really works!

  • Both.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pickyouupatnine ( 901260 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:06PM (#19929027) Homepage

    Like any public company - Google's learning to deal with keeping a steady growth in-order to keep its stock healthy. While they may have hired too many people recently - those are too many VERY WELL PAID people compared to what they could get for the same money if they could bring in H1-B workers. The H1-B worker is looking to come to America and start a new life - he/she is willing to sacrifice a few years worth of inferior pay inorder to get settled with a Greencard.

    So yes, Google CEO blamed their hiring binge - what he really meant was "We're paying too much in wages and salaries - more than we'd like to anyway".

  • Hirgin binge could be happening by gutting employees of other companies... cough.... cough... yahoo. Which means that there are few companies fighting for the same employees but unable to fill all the positions they have available -- the highly qualified ones. So both statements (the one to the Congress and the one to the shareholders) can easily be true.
  • I'm beginning to hate Slashdot!
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:20PM (#19929227) Homepage Journal
    Of course both are the same Google - and its not talking out of both sides of its billion-dollar mouth. If Google could hire more H1B workers in its "hiring spree", then it would cost less, and therefore profits on the same (or even somewhat less) revenue would be higher.

    Google, like other American corporations, wants to hire H1B "guest workers" because they're cheaper than citizens or fulltime residents. Guest workers subsidize their American work time by spending more time back home in their foreign country, which usually costs less to live in than the US. So they can ask for lower pay than their American competition, who have to live here full time. With our higher cost labor protections, environmental protections, and overall higher quality of life - for most everyone - with its higher cost.

    So Google wants to build its brand and infrastructure on the vast, longterm American investment in the Internet and creating most of its indexed content. It wants to tap the PhDs that Americans have invested in producing to make a less-valuable foreigner workforce more productive. And it wants to charge American corporate customers the money with which it pays them, while pitching expensive equity to mostly American investors. All underwritten by foreigner labor, even though there are plenty of Americans available, though at a higher price.

    I'm not surprised: that's business. It's also kinda evil.
    • by Onan ( 25162 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @02:12PM (#19930009)
      (Disclaimer: I do work for Google, and do occasionally provide input on the hiring of individual candidates, but I have no unusual insight into our nation-level hiring strategies. I'm not speaking for them in any official sense, just opining about what I've seen of the culture.)

      Everything that I've see of Google's hiring practices indicates that their primary goal is acquiring the absolute best, most brilliant people possible. I'm sure at some point cost is a concern, but it's not a primary thing that drives the decision of whether to hire particular engineers.

      Finding and hiring fantastic people is an astonishingly hard thing to do, and we invest substantial resources into doing it. We absolutely never have as many extremely-gifted candidates as we'd like, and probably never will. But every single hiring process discussion I've heard has been about "how can we find better candidates" or just "how can we find more candidates". I have definitely never heard anything even vaguely like "how can we find cheaper candidates".

      If you posit that exceptionally talented engineers are equally distributed among all populations with access to at least a moderate level of technology, then probably about half of them in existence are non-American. (And even if you believe that they are unequally distributed, it's hard to dispute that at least some nontrivial number of them are non-American.) I believe that Google's interest is in getting access to that additional set of exceptionally talented engineers, not just getting more engineers of the same talent for less money.

  • So which Google should Congress believe?"

    The one under oath, rather than the one issuing a press release.
  • Is this a new era for Google of "Do as much harm as you think you can hide", like other companies I could mention?

    Note to Google top managers: If you are adversarial, you are showing that you are incompetent.
  • satellite branching? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MoFoQ ( 584566 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:36PM (#19929485)
    I wonder if they can't set up a satellite office/company in a country that is more friendly in terms of worker visas (Cananda or maybe Google's own island-country) and then "out-source" all their development to that other "Google" company.

    If you think about it....allowing more H-1 visas would actually help to save more American jobs as those foreign hi-tech workers will live here and buy things, eat at restaurants locally (it's not like they will be flying back to their country of origin just to grab a bite to eat), buy services (phone, TV, etc.) locally as well as pay American income and sales taxes which gets pumped right back into the community.
    If not, companies will have no choice but to out-source or move those specific projects overseas if they can not find enough qualified workers locally, and that means the govt loses on tax income.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Dear United States Congress,

    I'm finding that I'm unable to pursue high quality search results.

    I propose that Google's patented search technologies be licensed to foreign competitors at fixed rates (far below the current market value).

    This may affect Google's ability to earn profits, but all I care about is getting high quality search results.

    Thank you,

    A Concerned Citizen
    • I am confused, are you somehow implying that as a citizen, you have a right to be employed at Google? Some kind of a job patent perhaps?

      The only country where citizens had such work rights was Soviet Union. You'd like all that here in America?
  • Believe both (Score:2, Redundant)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 )
    Google wanted to hire cheap H-1B people, instead they had to hire US Engineers. That is the reason for the salary costs that Wall Street was so concerned about.
  • Google need only hire as many wonks as it needs in the Great White North. Canada has very liberal immigration policies compared to the US. All you really need is a job offer, English and French language skills, no criminal record. Weighted salaries are about the same as the US but you needed worry about bottlenecks and shortages either.
  • by JRHelgeson ( 576325 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:50PM (#19929723) Homepage Journal
    How is this a serious question? As a business owner, my business is expanding. I'm seeking qualified individuals from within the USA and from overseas. Good talent is hard to find. I am also hiring 2 low-end employees for each 1 high-end educated employee desired. The two I do hire will only produce .75 of the expected output of 1 good employee. This sucks.

    It saddens me to say this but work ethic is sorely lacking in America today. The college professors I interact with on a daily basis confirm that the kids entering college today have not recieved a proper education, their brains are mush. THey aren't stupid, they just have never been challenged and grown and developed their brains. They can tell you about Global Warming, yet nothing about American History. They have been seriously ripped off by an educational system that has constantly lowered standards in order to get everyone passing the standardized tests.

    To a large extent, kids these days are seriously lacking critical thinking skills. You want proof? Well, lets just watch the replies to this post and see how this gets moderated.

  • by curunir ( 98273 ) * on Friday July 20, 2007 @01:53PM (#19929755) Homepage Journal
    Google is being entirely consistent. In one case, they argued that there should be more H1-Bs so that they can hire more qualified people. The other, came in response to questions from analysts that wanted to know why Google's net profits only increased $204m (to $925) while gross profits rose $1.41b to $3.87b. Quick math will show that the gross grew by a much larger percentage than the net. Analysts have gotten so used to Google thoroughly beating expectations that when their net results only met expectations, they wanted an explanation. Google gave it to them, saying that they hired lots of people. Nowhere did they say that they hired too many people or that they shouldn't have hired those people.

    The two messages can be combined to give the message that Google wants to hire even more people which will hurt their numbers in the near term but lead to a healthier and more profitable company in the future. There's nothing inconsistent about that message.
  • google hired an infinite number of monkeys instead.
  • Not only is there no contradiction between the two claims, one causes the other. Given the need to hire a certain number of employees, being unable to hire as many foreigners as they wanted meant they had to spend more to hire U.S. citizens.

    That said, I'm a Google stockholder and I think they've been careless in their hiring and acquisitions. Their claim that they've been making only superb hires is dubious at best.

  • Google has been opening up offices in Prague, Australia etc etc. So they could be on a hiring binge while still not hiring enough in the USA. That gives them a lot of benefit of the doubt though...

    Its always in these companies interests to have a larger pool to pick from, so that they can get more qualified workers cheaper.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @02:39PM (#19930381) Homepage

    Google's main search engine doesn't take that many people to implement, extend, and run. About 50-60 smart people really make Google search go. A few hundred more take care of the software systems that support search. It's not that big an operation.

    Most of the new hires at Google aren't on the search engine technology side of the business. Take a look at Google's job openings. [] Only a few of those jobs [] are anywhere close to the guts of the search engines.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday July 20, 2007 @03:21PM (#19931127)
    Google was unable to hire sufficient numbers of qualified (i.e. third world minimum wage) programmers. As a result, they were forced to employ overpaid local talent who spent most of their day posting snotty remarks on /.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus