Friday, June 5, 2009

What does/would Google do ?!

I recently saw an interview of Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Google (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marissa_Mayer - very very impressive !!) and I have jotted down a few things that got my attention. They are listed below (in no particular order) with my comments.

Future of search engines:
Voice-based search: Using speech-to-text for search results - Imagine typing ''love'' in youtube and getting all songs/videos/conversations that has the word somewhere in it !? I bet 50% of all videos will show up but Google sure will have a smart way of figuring that out by offering suggestions or grouping them into categories right from ''Mother Theresa'' to ''love at first sight'' !

Image-based search: How much information can the search engine recognise from a picture - Imagine using a photo of a disneyland ride as an input and finding all other such rides in disneyland or elsewhere or looking for a house you liked !

New Products
Newest Release is GoogleLatitude (http://www.google.com/latitude/intro.html): no better way to keep tab on friends, you will literally know where they are, in terms of lat and long ! - Stalkers are sure going to love this :D ! Kidding aside, abundance of information always causes a conflict between privacy and transparency and although Google claims its upto the user, I am still not 100% convinced !

News-related Advertising in GoogleNews: This is more tricky than it sounds. For example, nobody wants to see air tickets ads right next to the news about a plane crash

For Entrepreneurs
Google's Strategy on Featureitis: Don't waste too much time on including features you think the users might want, instead get the product out there, wait for users feedback and then improve your product. For example, GoogleNews implementors had enough time only to include either a sort by date or sort by location feature. Since they were unable to come to a decision they included neither of those. Out of 305 emails they received on the day after the release, 300 asked for a sort for date - bingo ! thats the feature !

Keep looking for improvement opportunities: What is the one major advantage of reading a hard copy ? ''Zero'' seconds to flip through pages (amazingly I never thought of this inspite of reading so much online - I seem to have always had a good internet connection !) and that is exactly where they want to go with the Google Reader as well - whatever you read, whereever you read, you dont have to wait to flip !

Google's mantra for hiring/work culture:
Past performance speaks for future performance => maximum weightage for references - if you are looking to be a googler, then it helps to make peace with your current boss :D

Best of ''both'' - both being ''smart'' and ''getting work done'' - it seems like the former implies the latter but it is amazing how in real life its not always true !

Really small teams and possibly in the same office to avoid meetings - when I think about the time I spend every week attending meetings with colleagues in all possible time zones, I can totally understand why this would help !

Trivia:
Google employees are called googlers - When google is used as a verb these days, I would imagine anyone using google is a googler but since Google says otherwise, are we all then 'googlees'' :D ?!

Google Nap Pods: Googlers can take a power nap at work in Nap pods, that block out sound and light. Google it to see a picture of it :D !

Orkut: The only reason orkut became a hit in Brazil and India is because the latency of the released version (that was not scalable then) did not bother Brazilians and us ! - appo evalo peruku vettiya evalo time irukku ?!
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