Larry Page takes over; Google Offers coupon service leaked; and Google Reader changes

A look at some of the major deals the Web giant has made or attempted in an effort to expand its reach.
Friday, January 21, 2011; 11:50 AM

Technology company Google is making a change in leadership. As Jia Lynn Yang and Ian Shapira report:

Google's Larry Page is taking over as chief executive of the firm he co-founded after dropping out of graduate school a decade ago and helped build into one of the most dominant companies in the world, the tech giant said Thursday.

The unexpected announcement marks the ascent of Page, 37, once considered too unseasoned to steer Google's operations, and comes as the company tries to maintain its dominance online in the face of growing rivals such as Facebook. He takes over for Eric Schmidt, 55.

"I am enormously proud of my last decade as CEO, and I am certain that the next 10 years under Larry will be even better!" wrote Schmidt in a post on Google's official blog. "Larry, in my clear opinion, is ready to lead."

Page will take over April 4, with Schmidt taking the title of executive chairman, in which, Schmidt said, he will focus on building relationships with customers, business partners and the government.

The company followed up the change with a new product:

The company's desire to get into the coupon business is well-known, especially since Groupon turned down a $6 billion buyout offer from Google.

Google has all but confirmed that the new feature is real, telling Mashable, "Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program. This initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with customers in new ways. We do not have more details to share at this time, but will keep you posted."

And Post Tech finds one more Google tidbit this morning:

Gmail link change angers users: Google's also taking some heat this morning for taking the link to its Reader service off the top links in Gmail. The link has been replaced with "Photos," and moved to become the first item on the drop-down menu. Upset with the change, TechCrunch reported some users have taken to Twitter to complain about being unable to customize that portion of the Gmail menu.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company