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Google's 20 per cent concept still alive and well

Gesture search for Android - fast turn-around
Gesture search for Android - fast turn-around

Google's much admired 20 per cent time - where engineers are allowed to spend a portion of their time on their own projects instead of their day jobs - has not been eroded by the company's explosive growth.

Product manager Aparna Chennapragada, who is moving from Google Labs to work on video search at the company, insisted that the concept of engineers taking on their own side-projects for a fifth of their working week has not diminished.

"The culture is still pervasive although the company has grown along with the range of people," she told TechRadar

"But it's very much present and the 20 per cent task gives people a chance to take a break from their day jobs."

Android gesture search

Although many of the projects gather big teams, like Google Goggles for instance, some or the projects arrive on Google Labs and even as final products due to a single person.

"The gesture search mobile app for Android took under two months to become a final product," explained Chennapragada.

"A single researcher had this idea of gesture recognition and he obviously had a background in human computer interaction.

"So he converted those ideas into a prototype in 20 per cent time then he contacted the Labs team and it took just two months to launch."