Archive for the ‘Google’ category
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
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!
Well, it’s now officially announced by our Governor, Brad Henry… Google’s coming to town!
Over the next couple of years they’ll add 200 jobs to an 800 acre facility. 1 head per 4 acres of heavy metal. That’s gotta be some intense training and HIGHLY competent people. Well, Tulsa’s got the talent, that’s for sure and I’m thinking there are a TON of people on the coast could come here with all their California cash and make a killing in real estate. (hint, hint)
Pryor’s just outside of Tulsa. A really short drive. Nothing to do in Pryor except work, sleep and eat. Unless you call the Super Wal*Mart entertainment (some will). Tulsa’s the next metro area. Fort Smith’s not too far and Fayetteville’s fairly close too.
Now all we need is Amazon to park some of their S3 facility here and we’re good to go!
Cool! Finally the big dogs are acknowledging the value proposition the hearltand has in store.
Macworld’s posted an article that has shot my antennae way high…
They’re mashing their Google maps together with their Google Books program in such a way that “places mentioned in this book” are readily apparent. There’s so much to like about this approach. My day job has me immersed in the worlds of GIS, Vertical Search and publishing… all geared to the highly visual and map-centric minded Geologist. It’s a super fun intersection of technology and specialists. These folks think in geography and maps and four dimensions (the X, Y and Z over time) AND are constantly trying to evaluate sources of information by way of search applications.
So, to have the ability to illustrate all the places a book mentions is just way too good to pass up. Flitting over to learn more about Google’s new APIs. Will post more as I have something to show for the effort.
Mr. Pell who is CEO of Powerset posts on the 19th an entry chockablock full of tidbits waiting to be spoiled.
…It is often said that the rival that will overthrow Google is only a click away. Monier is sceptical. “It’s very difficult to innovate on the scale that we do,” he said. “You need a really radical idea, and need to execute it well.”
If I was Google I wouldn’t take such a publicly dismissive attitude. Search isn’t so hard. Innovation isn’t so hard. SCALE… now that IS hard! And it’s something any successful destination on the web is going to have to address early in their lifetime. But for a wicked smart person such as Mr. Norvig to be so cavalier as to dismiss the agreggate power of their competitors… After all, what little upstart in a garage turned the industry on its ear? Google. And they weren’t exactly a gargantuan entity at the time. No, I think Mr. Norvig’s a bit “off” on that one and should stick to his thing.
I’ll set another one up:
“We are at the very beginning of search,” said Norvig. He said his colleagues were “disappointed” that most searches still start by typing a couple of words into a box on a web page.
OK, Mr. Norvig… we’re at the dawn of the internet (and whatever progeny it’s going to cast off). Imagine 250 years out (assuming we don’t destroy ourselves). Today’s “internet” is going to be infantile in comparison. Heck, imagine 50 years out! I would LOVE to see what Mr. Norvig thinks is a good search… I would LOVE to see the something that doesn’t dissappoint he and his “colleagues”.
I guess my point is this… until the database of intentions is so good that it can read our minds well before we can think to even type our desire… well, today’s search is probably good enough to last a long while. And, Google in my estimation has a lock on the opportunity to fulfill most search requests. NOT because they’re that much better than Powerset or Inktomi or Yahoo or MSN or Autonomy or Verity but because they have brand recognition and a CLEARLY recognizable identity (unlike some of the be-all-end-all’s above). I go to Google for two reasons – they’re integrated into my browser (Safari) and their searching tool is simple and uncluttered.
Today, they are the go-to supplier for “results” that are good enough to satisfy most consumers of web site data. They’re good at it. But, if Mr. Norvig has an angle on just how bad a product search is right now… I’d love to know how much better search results could be. To be sure, we all iterate our products. I sense either Google’s about to unleash something so spectactularly better on us or they’re wringing their mitts in anticipation of someone else doing the same to them as they did to Yahoo a few years ago.