Hanging out in the Zoho data center

I am here in the Zoho data center. I’m hanging out with Kris of Zooomr who is working on getting Zooomr back up. I am entertaining the hoardes that are hanging out in the chat room.

He is working on getting Zooomr back up. The machines are coming back up. Zooomr’s photos are back online — if you have one on a blog it isappearing again but the service is not up yet.

UPDATE: It is about 2 a.m., everything looks good for a reboot. I am driving Kristopher home and he will get some sleep and then later today (Saturday in California) he will work to get the site restarted. Looks like Zooomr will come back online.

Raj from Zoho is also here, he has been helping out a lot and putting in his own time to help Zooomr get restarted.

There is a lot that I am learning about data centers. There are hundreds of Google computers surrounding the Zoho cage. I wish I could take pictures in here (they don’t allow photography). But I’m even more impressed with Google now that I have seen a small part of their data center infrastructure.

Also, many companies have given Kristopher some help. Dell kicked but to fix the server. Sun loaned a Thumper with 48 hard drives. And another company donated servers — they didn’t want to be named but they are nice servers.

Raj gave me a little tour and explained the different kind of equipment in here. I wish I could videotape inside a datacenter and give you a look. These are amazing places — I’m staring at about 30 racks of Google computers, each with 40 computers inside. I can literally feel the heat from your searches!

Anyway, that’s all from the Zoho datacenter.

Google Readers are engaged!

Looking at my referers from yesterday (WordPress shows me where traffic comes from and where they came from) I see that the largest group comes from Google Reader. I was on TechMeme twice yesterday and the fact that I got twice as much traffic from Google Reader than from TechMeme is pretty significant.

The other thing this demonstrates is that the most engaged audiences are now using Google Reader. What do I mean by “engaged?” People who are willing to do something. Click a link. Leave a comment. Buy. Etc.

Engaged audiences are the ones that advertisers and big companies are looking to reach.

Is Google sitting on a gold mine? My referer logs say yes.

Google Gears: I’ve seen it all before

Back in 2002 I was director of marketing for UserLand Software. You know, Dave Winer’s company. In January of 2002 we shipped Radio UserLand. It was pretty darn bleeding edge for its time. It had a built-in Web server. A built-in database. A built-in RSS aggregator. That let me read feeds in a river-of-news format. It even worked offline (I used it back then to read feeds on plane rides and I could write blog posts while in a plane and sync them up when back online).

This week Google Gears came out and Google’s Reader has offline capabilities.

Hmmm, I swear I’ve seen this all before. Thanks to Dave Winer for providing the roadmap to Google. Bummer that we didn’t make any money off of it, but it’s nice to see that Dave’s ideas, if not his implementation, continues to prove interesting in 2007.

Google getting held to higher privacy standard that Microsoft or Amazon

Man, the story about the cat in the window on Google’s new Street Level photography is getting TONS of mainstream press play. Even Ronn Owens on KGO Radio (usually known as a middle-of-the-road calming voice) was furious about the new feature yesterday.

I always thought that Google would get bad PR over some sort of privacy issue, but this? This is the WRONG issue for privacy folks to be worried about. Truth is this isn’t nearly as bad as some of the stuff that advertisers are doing or are thinking of doing with their databases. Let’s go down the supermarket aisle. What does buying a Coke say about you? Not much, right? Well, what if you buy tampons? Doesn’t the marketing world know a little more about you now? How about when you buy AC/DC off of iTunes? Or when you go into 7/11 and buy some condoms? What about when you go to Amazon and buy a book about how to create a great resume? How about when you watch Oprah on TV?

And on and on. What these companies will do with those databases (and the inferences they’ll make about who I am) worries me a lot more than whether you can see the front of my house and/or whether or not I have a cat in the window. Already our anti-terrorist folks are using such databases to figure out who might be a threat to society. Just go into a store and buy three tons of fertilizer and rent a truck and see what happens to you.

But, back to the issue. Truth is Amazon did street side photography more than a year ago (they’ve since taken down A9 maps). Then Microsoft did it on its Virtual Earth site. Heck, Microsoft didn’t just do street side in exactly the same way that Google is doing now, but flew a plane over major cities. Here’s a video I did with Microsoft’s street side mapping team. What if the drug agency was using that photography to find your rooftop marijuana plants? Or, if you were sunbathing naked?

Why no uproar about those things?

Ahh, FOG. Fear Of Google.

Thanks for protecting my privacy. Now, what about the patterning software that marketers are working on to figure out what kind of person I am based on my purchases?

I know why the media (including many bloggers) isn’t worried about THAT. It’s too hard to explain in two minutes. Instead they focus on a cat in a Window. Got it.

At least now Microsofties can’t complain that they are being held to a higher standard than Google is.

Oh, and does anyone find any irony in the fact that Mary Kalin-Casey dislikes Google taking a picture of her cat from the street but invited a New York Times photographer into her house to take even more pictures? Can anyone spell hypocrite?