Another month, another glossy fashion magazine spread for Marissa Mayer, this time in Glamour. We get it, already: the Google veep is a computer scientist in Oscar de la Renta; a nerd invited to prom. Why embellish her achievements?
Mayer was employee number 20 and retains immense power within the Googleplex. But, as much as she likes to insinuate her vital early contributions to hits like GMail and AdSense, the VP for "search product and user experience" isn't quite the very bedrock of Google's success, as Glamour seems to imply in naming Mayer one of its "Women of the Year:"
We google about 7 billion times a month. And each time, it's like a trip into Marissa Mayer's mind. That sunny logo, blessedly spare interface and perfect list of links you get in response to a query are all pure Mayer.
Google's minimalist design and "perfect" search utility are "pure Mayer?" Google co-founder and Mayer ex Larry Page would take issue with that; he invented the algorithm at the heart of Google while a Stanford University PhD student. Co-founder Sergey Brin, part of the same PhD program, also contributed to the system. Google also had what was, by the standards of the day, a spartan homepage going well before Mayer joined in 1999, complete with a "sunny" if slightly fatter logo.
So while Mayer should continue to enjoy tonight's Glamour awards ceremony, relish her pretty pictures in the magazine (above) and stand proud of her accomplishments at Google, there's no need to give the competitive overachiever credit for every last innovation at the company.
Mayer discussing her award on Today this morning: