This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
Today, Google is arguably one of the most influential nonstate actors in international affairs… It tracks the global arms trade, spends millions creating crisis-alert tools to inform the public about looming natural disasters, monitors the spread of the flu, and acts as a global censor to protect American interests abroad. Google has even intervened into land disputes, one of the most fraught and universal security issues facing states today, siding with an indigenous group in the Brazilian Amazon to help the tribe document and post evidence about intrusions on its land through Google Earth.
In a new form of digital statecraft, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt has traveled to North Korea against State Department wishes.
What does it mean that Google really is trying to build the Star Trek computer? I take it as a cue to stop thinking about Google as a “search engine.” That term conjures a staid image: a small box on a page in which you type keywords. A search engine has several key problems. First, most of the time it doesn’t give you an answer—it gives you links to an answer. Second, it doesn’t understand natural language; when you search, you’ve got to adopt the search engine’s curious, keyword-laden patois. Third, and perhaps most importantly, a search engine needs for you to ask it questions—it doesn’t pipe in with information when you need it, without your having to ask.
The Star Trek computer worked completely differently. It understood language and was conversational, it gave you answers instead of references to answers, and it anticipated your needs. “It was the perfect search engine,” Singhal said. “You could ask it a question and it would tell you exactly the right answer, one right answer—and sometimes it would tell you things you needed to know in advance, before you could ask it.
it’s a disaster. I completely rely on Reader so much for research, finding experts, and stayng current on the facts that rarely make it safely into the mass of the media.” Perhaps that’s why the Financial Times chose to put a report headlined “Twittersphere in meltdown over killing of Google Reader” prominently on the front page of the print edition of its Companies and Markets section on Friday. Its audience is those specialist communicators. Presumably, they’ve indicated their upset too.
Don’t Be Ugly”… Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is mastering the kind of web services that have made its rival so successful. And the stock market has noticed
Niels Provos is a Google software engineer who spends his weekends forging Viking weaponry
Mapathon 2013 — which starts on February 12 and culminates on March 25, 2013 — is an India-wide mapping contest open to just about anybody who lives in India. We’re inviting Google Maps users from all over the country to help us create better maps for India by adding knowledge of their neighborhoods through Google Map Maker
creating doodles take a lot longer than you might think. A static doodle – without any bells or whistles, take on average around four weeks from start to finish. But an interactive one usually takes around 12 to 16 weeks.
Jennifer says the drawing time is roughly 10 hours. But the engineering work and seeking either global or local approval (as some doodles only go live in certain countries and others go global – like today’s ode to Copernicus), adds the extra weeks.
The 21,000-odd people who got themselves enrolled in multiple electoral rolls in Manipur had definitely not taken into account the power of Google Picasa. … staff, in a rare display of tech-savviness , have been using (it) to detect fake voters over the last few months. In fact, the use of Picasa’s face-recognition feature may help Manipur become the only state in the country to have a 100% correct electoral roll
Just a few years ago, Google’s apps had little sense of identity. They were all built by Google, but had few threads tying them together aside from a lowercase g. While Larry Page served as Google’s product president for a decade, perhaps he realized that the company needed a design dictator, not to point out that a button needs to be four pixels right, but to finally make design a true priority at the company. Its children had aged together but didn’t look like members of the same family. “We’re slowly starting to build a real design culture throughout Google,” Duarte says, “the teams are independent, but there is an increasing amount of communication, camaraderie, and collaboration.” Without Page’s complete organizational restructure that focused the company around seven key product divisions, some of Google’s moonshots and vibrant design concepts may never have taken off. Without the decision to create a core team of designers who would work together across product teams to keep the vision consistent, it would have all reverted to an incoherent mess — and this being Google, that eventuality often feels dangerously close.
I feel like there are all these opportunities in the world to use technology to make people’s lives better. At Google we’re attacking maybe 0.1 percent of that space. And all the tech companies combined are only at like 1 percent. That means there’s 99 percent virgin territory. Investors always worry, “Oh, you guys are going to spend too much money on these crazy things.” But those are now the things they’re most excited about—YouTube, Chrome, Android. If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.
Astro Teller, who oversees Google X, the company’s blue-sky skunkworks division, illustrates Page’s proclivities with a parable. Teller imagines wheeling a Dr. Who time machine into Page’s office. He plugs it in and—it works! But instead of being bowled over, Page asks why it needs a plug. Wouldn’t it be better if it didn’t use power at all? “It’s not because he’s not excited about time machines or he’s ungrateful that we built it,” Teller says. “It’s just core to who he is. There’s always more to do, and his focus is on where the next 10X will come from.
Page has long said that the biggest threat facing Google is Google itself, and since becoming CEO he has zeroed in on bloat, bureaucracy, and just about anything that slows innovation. (His obsession with speed can take peculiar forms. He once asked Sundar Pichai, the senior vice president in charge of the Chrome web browser and other apps, to be mindful of the seconds it took executives to transition onstage at companywide meetings. “You should come closer to the stage and stand, so you don’t make the company wait,” Pichai remembers being told.)
When it started publicly posting takedown notices in late May, around 250,000 requests a week went through the system… more than it got for the entirety of 2009…. Now, that number has jumped to over 2.5 million a week.
In 2008, it could take six to 18 months for Google to update a map. The company would have to go back to the firm that provided its map information and get them to check the error, correct it and send it back. “At that point we decided we wanted to bring that information in house,” says McClendon. Google now updates its maps hundreds of times a day. Anyone can correct errors with roads signs or add missing roads and other details; Google double checks and relies on other users to spot mistakes.
Thousands of people use Google’s Map Maker daily to recreate their world online, says Michael Weiss-Malik, engineering director at Google Maps. “We have some Pakistanis living in the UK who have basically built the whole map,” he says. Using aerial shots and local information, people have created the most detailed, and certainly most up-to-date, maps of cities like Karachi that have probably ever existed.
eight server makers now account for 75 percent of Intel’s server chip revenues — and one of those is Google. Just four years ago, three companies made up that 75 percent: Dell, HP, and IBM.