read at Search Engine Watch (SEW): "Forbes just published a piece about 'Google as Economic Barometer'. It has some merit and a lot of details. Basically stating 'Investors searching Google's fourth-quarter earnings may see clues about the state of the Internet ad business, the economy and the future of the company itself.'
Dropping various products like Print Ads, its Twitter-like application Jaiku, and Lively a Second Life clone, reflects a tightening of its bottom line. Firing 100 recruiters (and the implied drop in future hires) and the closing of its offices in Sweden and Norway, as well as a newly opened one in Austin, Texas are also the actions of a company trying to improve its numbers. The cutting of 20 engineers cuts a little to the heart of the company's operation."