Archive for the ‘Google’ category

If Google Made A Car

December 31, 2010

By now, most people have heard Google is testing cars that drive themselves. Which, is kinda cool. But, consistent with my earlier post on “If Apple Made a Car” I’d like to explore the allegory of a Google Car. So, here goes:

  • You don’t buy a gAuto. It is strictly by referer only.
  • Right off the bat, the gAuto is a stark white box. No visible seams, tires, nothing and only one very plain point of entry. Also worth noting, there are no Windows. Just lots of Chrome.
  • Don’t be fooled. The gAuto is deceptively complex. Only PhD’s can tinker under the hood.
  • The only known mechanic is one “Matt Cutts”. Identifiable by the “I’m not Matt Cutts” t-shirts he wears.
  • On the inside is wraparound seating with one BigTable in the middle.
  • The ignition starts with one of two buttons “Drive” or “Feeling Lucky” (I strongly suggest the “Drive” button for most occasions)
  • The gAuto goes from stock still to your final destination (no matter how far) in 0.24 seconds. They’re constantly working on acceleration. (It’s the breaking they have a problem with.)
  • The navigation is simply Voice activated. Arriving at your intended destination is dependent upon how specific you can be with your input.
  • Insurance for your gAuto is provided on a daily basis by whoever has bid the most for the privilege.
  • Traveling outside the magic triangle is discouraged.
  • Don’t forget to plug your gAuto in at night… it’s an all-electric jalopy after all.
  • Mileage is all relative.
  • The Owner’s Manual is quite specific, “Objects in the mirror are nowhere as big as we are.”
  • And, every gAuto has the same license plate: “B.E.T.A.”

Have “Big Table” Expertise?

February 13, 2008

Would like to talk shop with someone with “Big Table” expertise. Call me at the number on the masthead above please?

Calling All SEOs…

January 29, 2008

See the neat, tidy little stack of links? I like this. I need to do this on some things.


Can someone teach me how to accomplish this same effect? For instance, perform a search on… “Om Malik” or “John Battelle” or “Seth Godin“.

I’m thinking Google’s Webmaster Tools might tell me how it’s possible to accomplish this. But, if someone could just point me to the “how to” I’d be very appreciative.

“Time Spent” vs. PageViews

July 9, 2007

Interesting. Nielsen NetRatings has officially declared pageviews a worthless metric in light of AJAX and more multimedia rich sites coming on in strength. ComScore apparently didn’t get the memo.

On the one hand… Google is the undisputed heavyweight champeen of the the dub dub dub. Think they give much care to how long someone spends on the Look how much revenue they make sending people ELSEWHERE! I’d think, like a call center, they’d want to move that person on their merry way as quickly as they possibly could. On the other hand, Google also has YouTube where time spent on the site = goodness.

Looks like there will be some cases where duration of stay will matter. Others… better be making a ton of cash moving people down the queue.

(Hat tip to Mr. Rubel)

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Scaling Ruby On Rails

June 26, 2007

There are a few really good slide shows over at SlideShare on the topic of scaling Ruby on Rails. I’m also interested in scaling MySQL and large scale architecture if you have any particularly crisp presentations in your sights out there.

I had hoped to go to Google last week and participate in their Scalable Computing workshop/presentation. Other arrangements fell through. Ah well, Dare Obasanjo has some really good notes

Google’s GPA

June 22, 2007

I read a couple of weeks ago about a fellow who interviewed with Google a few times and just yesterday read Mr. Andreesen’s Hiring Smart people post.

It occurs to me that if Google is SO-o-o-o-o-o fixated on hiring PhD’s that the fact they’re “hiring” us dummies by way of acquisition kinda taints the gene pool n’est pas? I totally agree hiring the absolute best you can is the way to go. But, do you NOT acquire a company because of lack of PhD’s or GPA? I doubt it. So, why hire that way?

Far be it from me to second guess the Googlenaut. Just seems weird to dilute the GPA by way of acquisition buy not through organic hiring/firing processes.

Crouching Leopard. Hidden Features.

June 16, 2007

No, this is not a spoiler posting. I’m pondering what other of the hidden features might leap out at us. What they might (or hopefully, might not) be. The role of Apple’s Developers and how that could change in the near future based on things like Google Gears. The real gem of my screed is at the very end.

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First up? Everyone’s favorite (and hopefully, first) non-Apple app they run to when they buy a new Mac… QuickSilver. Apple has this quirky habit of glomming onto other people’s REALLY good ideas and making them, well, their own. I’m specifcally calling to mind things like Watson (aka Apple’s Sherlock), Konfabulator (aka Widgets) or VirtueDesktop (aka Leopard Spaces). I’m sure there are more which are not top of mind. I can only hope Apple doesn’t do to Black Tree’s QuickSilver or Delicious Monster what they’ve done to these other of their innovative developers.

Have to plead ignorance here… Do Sun, Microsoft or Linux pull these kinds of stunts with their OS builds? Swiping from their developers I mean…

The flip side of that is Apple does do right by some of their developers. CoverFlow for instance. Which seems to be taking more and more prominent positioning in their lineup with the new CoverFlow powered Finder.

Second up – Open Sourcing. When Apple’s not being strongly influenced by the innovations of others (pat on back, nicely politely put) they’re doing some MARVELOUS stuff with open source bedrock. CalDAV. Mongrel. SquirrelMail. Ruby. Java. Blojsom. Some of the Teams components in Leopard Server we’ve been told in the public forum are based on lots of open source goodness. So, please, despite all my dissing on Apple this week… I can diss my own family. Someone else pulls that crap and I’m all over them 🙂 I LOVE Apple. I simply want to see them do right by their developers. I recall someone suggesting Apple’s coming up short in this regard (must look at my CoComment threads – yep, it was The Scobleizer). I happen to think that’s spot on the money.

Which brings me to the third and final point. I’ve been an Apple Developer since I left Apple in 1994. Before that I was firmly in the camp of Apple’s internal developers as one of their “Systems Engineers” (what a GREAT job during such a DARK period… jogs self back to present). Ahem. We were secretive then and that was under Spindler and Amelio. I can only imagine how things have changed under Mr. We Will NEVER Do A Video Ipod. That’s all good and fine and I can certainly appreciate the mystique that promotes. Still, when you’re a developer and you’re trying to build the next best thing to page swapping… well, secrets kinda crimp your style.

This is one of the dirty little secrets of the Mac developer community. We have to route around Apple. Read another way, we have to route around the damage. On the one hand they say they love their developers. And, to a degree I believe them. But, then they do things that don’t match up with their declaration of love. The big example I wave around is probably the most important. I’m not the worlds best coder. I’m largely self-taught. Once upon a time I was among the first hundred or so Newton Messagepad developers. Even then (much as today) there has not been a place for Apple’s Developers to swap experience outside of the WWDC meeting. (EDIT: appears I didn’t finish out the thought… Apple is putting their developers in a position to go akimbo to their NDAs by talking outside of channels)

Why, in this day and age, can’t Apple break off a nice little chunk of their Web Crossing Forum software and make a petri dish for us? That way the conversation is contained in a hermetically sealed space. Apple can control the inning and outing of information. And, most importantly, we developers can discuss stuff like Leopard’s upcoming features under the watchful eye of Apple (but we both know I was thinking Mordor). I want to become a better developer. I want to hire people who share their coding talents with others (net “givers”, not net “takers”).

Anyway… I’m looking at Leopard (OSX in general) imagining all it can become and the pace at which it could get there. Apple’s not doing the platform any favors and they risk losing fine and innovative developers like Mark at ClamXav (and aspiring ones like me) who are expanding the utility of the platform more out of a sense of cause and community than anything. Hopefully, Apple swings closer to the middle for the sake of the platform rather than hang out in the relative safety of the cloister in Cupertino.

One more thing (ouch!)… IF Apple’s approach to developing for the iPhone is really (and I’m skeptical) centered on web deployable apps AND Google’s Gears is emerging as the take-your-web-apps-offline king of the heap AND Google and Apple are deep under the sheets THEN don’t you think it is reasonable to expect some day things like the iPhone and OSX even will no longer require an installed app? Think about that one and get back to me.

“Ebay Gets Mad at Google. Punches Self in Head.”

June 15, 2007

THAT is probably the best headline I’ve read in a LONG time and totally sums up eBay’s riff over Google Checkout’s failed event. Read more over at Paul Kedrosky’s Infectious Greed.

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Google’s 20% Time. Rejection and Defection.

May 26, 2007

Mr. Cringley’s opinion piece on Google’s demise from within strikes me as right and wrong all at the same time. It’s thoughtfully written and mostly insightful. Think Sweet and Sour (shouldn’t work but does) or Root Beer and Ice Cream.

I’ve been in the Googler’s shoes… at a little startup called Digital Frontiers here in Tulsa, which the founders sold to Williams Communication Group (WCG). We were creating web 1.0, first gen sites for the likes of Thrifty Car Rental, Williams Companies, Lucent, Arrow Trucking, Parker Drilling, PennWell, Purolator, United Way of America (the mother ship, not the local affiliates). We were being invited to pitch accounts like Four Seasons Hotels and SBC. The team was small. When I joined right after the sale there were five of us. Near the end there were over 40. We were big enough and had enough capital backing to make serious due diligence runs at infrastructure companies like BBN Planet.

We were working our asses off (and loving it!). One of the original partners, David Cordeiro, asked two of us to come up with “Just Spin It Fridays”. It was meant to give us stuctured time to reinvest in our own training or work on evaluate emerging things like Perl or Python or GIF89a or Flash… It was seed corn. LOTS of good came of that “free” time. Truth be told it turned out to be a retention program more than anything else: Our leadership trusted us to do the right thing and to be responsible with our time.

Still, as Cringley posits (but not for the stated reasons) we slowly imploded. A star going supernova. I was gone by then but the unravelling had commenced before my departure. Our client’s were leaving. Other, more mature solutions providers had arrived and WE DIDN’T KEEP PACE! We had the talent, our skills were sharp as any around. We simply lost focus having become part of a bigger company through acquisition. That is why I’m so harsh on Avenue A | Razorfish getting gulped into Microsoft. Unless they get out of Dodge… they’re doomed. Round Peg, Square Hole. I digress…
Google may have it’s share of FYIFV (read the Cringley article). I doubt it’s what will unravel Google. While I don’t presume to know any more than the next schmoe… What I think will unravel Google is a loss of focus on their core competencies:

Talented people! First, foremost!;
Mr. Scoble says  infrastructure is one & I’ll agree;
Search is obvious;
Relevant results too;
Social responsibility (think Yahoo! and China);
User control over profile;
The next big thing!

The last one (and there are many more… I’m not THAT smart) is what Googlers are beating on. So what if Cringley’s numbers are right and 360 pretty good ideas fail and 40 thrive. I’ll bring China back into the discussion. They can throw IMMENSE numbers of  really smart people at problems (as can India). Why are they rising to the superpower echelons?  It comes down to the numbers. Sure, some will defect and go somewhere else. That’s life. Google’s no different. It has it’s own culture and it’s own economy for crying out loud. As does Microsoft. It’s how business is done. Makes me wonder if Cringley lives in some kind of academic bubble over at PBS.

“20% time” is probably a great way to take some pressure off your people, let them develop some skills and plow that back into your product lines

FOG!? Nope. AGOG!

May 7, 2007

Mr. Scoble’s preaching to a different choir today… I just don’t see it the same as my advertising and marketing cousin’s out there I guess… At least the ones who were playing in Cancun this weekend.

I’m raised and bred from the advertising camp (recovering art director am I, you know?). So, when I hear this “Fear Of Google” (aka FOG) bit going on out there I stop short of calling BS! on Mr. S. just because I *KNOW* he’s right. Just like I *KNOW* there are publishers/librarians out there terrified of Google Scholar. Both camps are equally ignorant! Wake up folks. There’s a huge opportunity out there guys. Use the tools! Help Google iterate and make them even better. Fear is the enemy! Treat Google like the distribution channel it is and reap the rewards. (Your competitors either are doing so now or are about to be).

IMHO, Google’s put together one helluva pay for performance jujitsu party. Ad Words + Analytics + User Tracking Module + Urchin + Commerce Tracking Module = Analytics Nirvana. Most of it’s FREE! (Well, except the Urchin stuff. But still!)

FOG!? No way!! AGOG = Another Gaggle Of Googlers!