And now, with the soaraway online advertising market threatening to stall, comes news that Google's software engineers are going to get less time to spend on pet projects and are being told instead to hunker down and work on money-making tweaks to the core business.
Depending on how serious this is I can't see this is a good idea. 20% time is Google's brilliant distributed research and innovation project. Killing it off a) makes Google stupider, and b) pisses off all the people who are currently emotionally invested in their projects.
Far better for Google to cut other perks (free food, toys) or even salaries than cutting 20% time.