My head hurts from hanging out at Google all day

I gotta remember to keep trips to Google down to under two hours. Why? My head starts hurting. It’s like being in an intellectual candy store. Everyone I meet shows me something else cool and gives me another 10 ways to make my blog better (hey, Mike Cassidy, if you think your blog sucks, you should hang out at Google for a while — they’ll show you 50 ways to make your blog better).

Actually, that sounds like an interesting post for Matt Cutts to do someday: 50 ways Google’rs can make your blog better.

My first interview was with Mark Lucovsky (blog here). I apologized to him for not believing that businesses would host their data off site. They do, and are, in increasing numbers. He explained that the press got Hailstorm all wrong. Too bad he didn’t have a blog back then.

Anyway, then he explained what he was working on at Google: APIs APIs APIs APIs APIs.

Oh, sorry, I was channelling Steve Ballmer there for a moment.

Heh. He’s actually working on the AJAX Search API. This is a pretty interesting API that lets you put maps, and search results, on your Web page or blog. He has tons of examples. I’ll get the video up soon.

Then it was onto Shashi Seth. He works on Google CoOp. I had no idea such a thing existed. You probably don’t either.

What’s that? Oh, just a custom version of Google’s search engine. Say you want to put a search box on your blog, but you only want Google to display results from, say, your blog, mine, and Mike Arrington’s blog. Well, CoOp lets you do that.

Anyway, I think I’ll hang out in the lobby of Google’s Building 43 more often. Marissa Mayer, VP at Google, dropped by to say hi. Well, OK, she was passing through and I said hi to her. No, I didn’t ask her about what Google is copying from Yahoo. Didn’t have time. I did ask lots of other employees at Google, though, and while no one would own up to knowing who did the copying they assured me he or she was getting a lot of ribbing right now.

In between the other people I saw in the lobby that I knew (quite a few) was Aaron Swartz, co-founder of NotABug, which makes Reddit. That was recently sold to Conde Nast, so he’s working on a whole bunch of editorial properties for them (Reddit is similar to Digg).

I’m off to interview Stumbleupon…

36 thoughts on “My head hurts from hanging out at Google all day

  1. How about another interesting use of Custom Search Engines. They are great for domain specific search. One example of this:

    CS educators have been talking about building a repository for curriculum for a some time. They wanted to be able to find and share lectures, assignments, reference materials, etc.

    Using Custom Search Engines, they got together and built a custom search engine that whitelists high quality CS curriculum. The net result is exactly what they had been dreaming about, but without the centralized repository. Instead of centralizing all of the material and then building a custom index and query/serving system, they simply centralized the definition and labeling of the sites that currently hold high quality curriculum in the wild.

    The net result is: http://code.google.com/edu/curriculumsearch/index.html

    Using AJAX Search APIs you can easily embed portions of this engine on your site, pages, blogs, etc.

    http://www.google.com/uds/samples/cse/csearch.html

  2. How about another interesting use of Custom Search Engines. They are great for domain specific search. One example of this:

    CS educators have been talking about building a repository for curriculum for a some time. They wanted to be able to find and share lectures, assignments, reference materials, etc.

    Using Custom Search Engines, they got together and built a custom search engine that whitelists high quality CS curriculum. The net result is exactly what they had been dreaming about, but without the centralized repository. Instead of centralizing all of the material and then building a custom index and query/serving system, they simply centralized the definition and labeling of the sites that currently hold high quality curriculum in the wild.

    The net result is: http://code.google.com/edu/curriculumsearch/index.html

    Using AJAX Search APIs you can easily embed portions of this engine on your site, pages, blogs, etc.

    http://www.google.com/uds/samples/cse/csearch.html

  3. Two interesting uses of google co-op:

    #1: make a customized search engine of all the websites you visit (ie: your OPML file or something). Then when you know you read something somewhere, it’s easier to track down.

    #2: make a customized search engine of your various web presences. easier to track everything you’ve written on a subject.

  4. Two interesting uses of google co-op:

    #1: make a customized search engine of all the websites you visit (ie: your OPML file or something). Then when you know you read something somewhere, it’s easier to track down.

    #2: make a customized search engine of your various web presences. easier to track everything you’ve written on a subject.

  5. Not ‘nothing based on advertising’. Things that were based only on advertising. For ex, Free ‘newspapers’ that were paid by advertising. Free-To-Air TV channels and Radio. Yes, there are free channels but the ‘quality’ ones are those that you have to pay ‘subscription’ – XM radio, HBO, etc.

    Yellowpages – yes. That’s one that truly satisfies my criterea.

  6. Not ‘nothing based on advertising’. Things that were based only on advertising. For ex, Free ‘newspapers’ that were paid by advertising. Free-To-Air TV channels and Radio. Yes, there are free channels but the ‘quality’ ones are those that you have to pay ‘subscription’ – XM radio, HBO, etc.

    Yellowpages – yes. That’s one that truly satisfies my criterea.

  7. Blogger: what? You think nothing based on advertising has ever succeeded? You must not know about newspapers, yellow pages, magazines, radio, outdoor signs, or TV. Among other things.

    This stuff is VERY sustainable. Why? Because Google (er, search, just in case Yahoo or Microsoft figure out how to get share away from Google) is now the new Yellow Pages.

  8. Blogger: what? You think nothing based on advertising has ever succeeded? You must not know about newspapers, yellow pages, magazines, radio, outdoor signs, or TV. Among other things.

    This stuff is VERY sustainable. Why? Because Google (er, search, just in case Yahoo or Microsoft figure out how to get share away from Google) is now the new Yellow Pages.

  9. Read ‘redirect my to you’ as ‘redirect my *question* to you’ and ‘not on the revenuse’ as ‘not on the revenues’ in post # 12

  10. Read ‘redirect my to you’ as ‘redirect my *question* to you’ and ‘not on the revenuse’ as ‘not on the revenues’ in post # 12

  11. @11, You are right. Matt Cutts is indeed doing a tremendous job for Google. The yahoo fiasco response should be his best shot so far.

    However i redirect my to you Robert, Forget Google, MSFT, Yahoo and stuff…What are your thoughts on a business model based on advertisement revenues and not on the revenuse from the service? How sustainable you think this is? So far nothing based on this has succeeded. Is google going to turn all this around?

  12. @11, You are right. Matt Cutts is indeed doing a tremendous job for Google. The yahoo fiasco response should be his best shot so far.

    However i redirect my to you Robert, Forget Google, MSFT, Yahoo and stuff…What are your thoughts on a business model based on advertisement revenues and not on the revenuse from the service? How sustainable you think this is? So far nothing based on this has succeeded. Is google going to turn all this around?

  13. Blogger: the PR group at Google is getting better by the day. Also, with folks like Matt Cutts there interactions with bloggers are much better. And every employee I know searches blogs every morning for mentions of their products, so they are listening.

  14. Blogger: the PR group at Google is getting better by the day. Also, with folks like Matt Cutts there interactions with bloggers are much better. And every employee I know searches blogs every morning for mentions of their products, so they are listening.

  15. Google Coop is very cool – a group of us tech bloggers have created a shared “if you can’t find your answer here, try these sites…” sort of custom search engine, BUT it appears that it’s limited to only six URLs, which is too few. Bug ‘em to expand the options, sir!

  16. Google Coop is very cool – a group of us tech bloggers have created a shared “if you can’t find your answer here, try these sites…” sort of custom search engine, BUT it appears that it’s limited to only six URLs, which is too few. Bug ‘em to expand the options, sir!

  17. When you think about google’s business model you always get a feeling something is missing. Not sure if the model is sustainable. But quarter after quarter the financials keep saying the contrary.

    And google itself is not giving any clear signs one side or the other. You get some brilliant moves and introductions (read youtube acquisition and ofeering discounts on Google Checkout during holidays) and some duffers – yahoo page copy fiasco, Google Answers shutdown and absence of a decent PR channel.

    If i were Google one thing i would worry about is this – How many times has a business model with free service and advertisements as the core revenue generators succeeded? I can count 2 – free Email hosting & billboards.

    (Not to mention the fact that a negative perception is thing that can wreak havoc on its own. )

  18. When you think about google’s business model you always get a feeling something is missing. Not sure if the model is sustainable. But quarter after quarter the financials keep saying the contrary.

    And google itself is not giving any clear signs one side or the other. You get some brilliant moves and introductions (read youtube acquisition and ofeering discounts on Google Checkout during holidays) and some duffers – yahoo page copy fiasco, Google Answers shutdown and absence of a decent PR channel.

    If i were Google one thing i would worry about is this – How many times has a business model with free service and advertisements as the core revenue generators succeeded? I can count 2 – free Email hosting & billboards.

    (Not to mention the fact that a negative perception is thing that can wreak havoc on its own. )

  19. Robert -

    One thing to consider when looking at companies like StumpleUpon vs Google is how they affect the core content producers on the Internet. Meaning, Google scrapes and indexes my site, and they drive traffic, no doubt. But it’s almost passive traffic – people who find my blog through a combination of words that happens to match something I have posted.

    StumpleUpon bring people to my site based on their specific interests – and that’s a powerful difference. And unlike Google, people who “Stumble” on my site can rate it, tag it, comment on it and share it. Google doesn’t offer that kind of social involvement.

    It was just two days ago that I got added to StumbleUpon and my daily traffic doubled the first day. It doubled the second day again. “Little” players can be huge movers – when they involve the community.

    If the StumbleUpon traffic continues or ebbs is now up to me – but unlike Google I have an audience now that is at least informed and interested about what I have to say. Google is only interested in the way I put my sentances together. Community makes that difference now because software still isn’t smart enough to determine what we “like” – not like humans can. And it is “oh so easy” to click the Stumble thumbs up or thumbs down.

    Google measure how many people visit my site. StumbleUpon measures that, and what people think about the content. And that is huge.

    Rob

  20. Robert -

    One thing to consider when looking at companies like StumpleUpon vs Google is how they affect the core content producers on the Internet. Meaning, Google scrapes and indexes my site, and they drive traffic, no doubt. But it’s almost passive traffic – people who find my blog through a combination of words that happens to match something I have posted.

    StumpleUpon bring people to my site based on their specific interests – and that’s a powerful difference. And unlike Google, people who “Stumble” on my site can rate it, tag it, comment on it and share it. Google doesn’t offer that kind of social involvement.

    It was just two days ago that I got added to StumbleUpon and my daily traffic doubled the first day. It doubled the second day again. “Little” players can be huge movers – when they involve the community.

    If the StumbleUpon traffic continues or ebbs is now up to me – but unlike Google I have an audience now that is at least informed and interested about what I have to say. Google is only interested in the way I put my sentances together. Community makes that difference now because software still isn’t smart enough to determine what we “like” – not like humans can. And it is “oh so easy” to click the Stumble thumbs up or thumbs down.

    Google measure how many people visit my site. StumbleUpon measures that, and what people think about the content. And that is huge.

    Rob

  21. John: I remember when people said the exact same thing about Microsoft in the late 1980s.

    Google is hyped because Google is an interesting company to watch and because when I go outside the tech bubble and watch how normal everyday people use the Web they invariably start with Google.

    Will that change in the future? I don’t yet see any reason it will. I keep hoping that Microsoft and Yahoo will step up and stop Google, but so far they simply have not done so.

    The other thing, that isn’t easy to prove, is the quality of the average person working at each of these companies. Google is definitely ahead there in my opinion (copying of Yahoo yesterday notwithstanding).

    Will a small company come along and kick Google’s behind? In small ways, yes. I visited Stumbleupon today. They are doing stuff that Google isn’t (and getting a sizeable audience because of it). There are other companies that are doing well too.

    But they aren’t close to being a “Google” or a “Microsoft” in size.

    And Google does have infrastructure (and audience) that you simply can’t afford or attain at a smaller company.

    That all said, there is an anti-Google sentiment in the air (I noticed it at the Pirillo wedding when we started talking about the industry) so there are plenty of people cheering on its competitors.

    Translation: 2007 is going to be an interesting year in our industry.

  22. John: I remember when people said the exact same thing about Microsoft in the late 1980s.

    Google is hyped because Google is an interesting company to watch and because when I go outside the tech bubble and watch how normal everyday people use the Web they invariably start with Google.

    Will that change in the future? I don’t yet see any reason it will. I keep hoping that Microsoft and Yahoo will step up and stop Google, but so far they simply have not done so.

    The other thing, that isn’t easy to prove, is the quality of the average person working at each of these companies. Google is definitely ahead there in my opinion (copying of Yahoo yesterday notwithstanding).

    Will a small company come along and kick Google’s behind? In small ways, yes. I visited Stumbleupon today. They are doing stuff that Google isn’t (and getting a sizeable audience because of it). There are other companies that are doing well too.

    But they aren’t close to being a “Google” or a “Microsoft” in size.

    And Google does have infrastructure (and audience) that you simply can’t afford or attain at a smaller company.

    That all said, there is an anti-Google sentiment in the air (I noticed it at the Pirillo wedding when we started talking about the industry) so there are plenty of people cheering on its competitors.

    Translation: 2007 is going to be an interesting year in our industry.

  23. Wow, Ivan Pope, Chris Van Patten – two of my ‘net friends responding to the same post I respond to. I guess we have a lot in common! Ivan – I never put it together that you were the same Ivan that stole Robert’s brain – cool!

    Rob

  24. Wow, Ivan Pope, Chris Van Patten – two of my ‘net friends responding to the same post I respond to. I guess we have a lot in common! Ivan – I never put it together that you were the same Ivan that stole Robert’s brain – cool!

    Rob

  25. Robert,
    Actually, I used Google Coop when I stole your brain by using your OPML file to make a search widget. You blogged it:
    “November 2, 2006
    Ivan stole my brain for his search engine

    Well, not quite my brain. If he had done that he would have found a lot of Merlot-curdled fuzz.

    But he did steal my OPML file to make a widget. Go ahead, steal my OPML. Just don’t take Maryam or else I’ll be a lonely loser instead of just a loser. :-)”

  26. Robert,
    Actually, I used Google Coop when I stole your brain by using your OPML file to make a search widget. You blogged it:
    “November 2, 2006
    Ivan stole my brain for his search engine

    Well, not quite my brain. If he had done that he would have found a lot of Merlot-curdled fuzz.

    But he did steal my OPML file to make a widget. Go ahead, steal my OPML. Just don’t take Maryam or else I’ll be a lonely loser instead of just a loser. :-)”

  27. Robert,

    I appreciate your posting interesting stuff about all manner of things, but the Google hype has really gone too far. People have got to stop drinking the kool-aid. They are not that interesting. Custom search engines have been available for some time now.
    Microsoft is more interesting than Google right now, and will be probably for some time. Innovation argument or not, Microsoft and Yahoo are currently more interesting.
    I, for one, am sick of the Google hype. I even turned down an interview with Google because I think that one day it will all come to a bitter end. That’s just my opinion, but monetizing everything only can last for so long. There was an interesting article today on Slashdot about craiglist not selling out and monetizing everything. craigslist IS interesting. They make money without being commercially oriented in a terrible way. Google is not interesting anymore. Not anymore, IMHO. I think that with everything moving to the internet here really fast, Google is about to have a boat load of competition. I disagree with the CEOs and pundits that say that only a few larger corporations will hold all the cards and/or snatch up all the cool players. Some people don’t want to be bought or monetize everything. It’s not always about the big bucks.
    Just my .02 worth.

    Your blog news is always interesting, of course, and I’m learning about new stuff from your site almost daily. How in the world do you get any sleep at night with all the gizmos and technology that you see almost everyday? You must either not suffer from geek lust badly or you’ve relegated yourself to just covering it as news.

  28. Robert,

    I appreciate your posting interesting stuff about all manner of things, but the Google hype has really gone too far. People have got to stop drinking the kool-aid. They are not that interesting. Custom search engines have been available for some time now.
    Microsoft is more interesting than Google right now, and will be probably for some time. Innovation argument or not, Microsoft and Yahoo are currently more interesting.
    I, for one, am sick of the Google hype. I even turned down an interview with Google because I think that one day it will all come to a bitter end. That’s just my opinion, but monetizing everything only can last for so long. There was an interesting article today on Slashdot about craiglist not selling out and monetizing everything. craigslist IS interesting. They make money without being commercially oriented in a terrible way. Google is not interesting anymore. Not anymore, IMHO. I think that with everything moving to the internet here really fast, Google is about to have a boat load of competition. I disagree with the CEOs and pundits that say that only a few larger corporations will hold all the cards and/or snatch up all the cool players. Some people don’t want to be bought or monetize everything. It’s not always about the big bucks.
    Just my .02 worth.

    Your blog news is always interesting, of course, and I’m learning about new stuff from your site almost daily. How in the world do you get any sleep at night with all the gizmos and technology that you see almost everyday? You must either not suffer from geek lust badly or you’ve relegated yourself to just covering it as news.

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