Google Talk at ETech... and Hydra

Google, Innovation, and the Web
Craig Silverstein, Google, Inc.

Craig Silverstein of Google is currently giving his keynote. It is mostly about the work environment and culture of the place.
A very interesting aside is that many in the audience are using a coolaborative note taking software called Hydra.

Click for larger image...

About Hydra:A Rendezvous based, collaborative text editor
Editing documents in groups can be a challenge. Versioning systems like cvs or subversion can help your group to keep a consistent copy of your document, but don't go that extra mile. Wouldn't it be great to edit the same document, live, in realtime, together with everyone in your group?

I'll post the notes after the talk... The notes below were taken by several folks attending the session utilizing Hydra...A Rendezvous based, collaborative text editor

Google, Innovation, and the Web April 25, 2003 - O'Reilly ETCon Craig


This is new info not products or vision a process for how we make google products

Google ingredients: mission statement organize the world't information make it universally accessible and useful refs google catelogues, google on cells mission statement actually keeps google busy, yet focused do things that matter attract people who want to matter flexibility to "not be evil" relentless focus on the user resisted pop-ups, despite needing money invented inline text (pyrad style) ads google labs used to refine ideas that they like, but don't know how to implement users take part in the experiments since search engine switching cost is low, google remains focused on the user brilliant people have good ideas a creative environment helps beanbags! [that's so Xerox PARC in the 70's (we did all that with etherphone! *smile)]

A process that works: ideas come from everywhere (employee, management, external people) collection is important collection in ways that users can't see touchgraph google browser [1] design for users Larry Page, the origin of "PageRank" name design early, design often shows early google splash (speed, ease,...) compile, discuss, prioritize compile: top 100 list of projects that google wants to do, prio by importance built on PARC's sparrow (like Wiki) [2] discuss: relaxed product discussion forums 5 to 10 minutes about changes to the list evaluate: graph usage (jump at new partner for wireless access in October ... Danger?) kill unused projects small teams are fast and agile communication is key Tools to organise editable webpages it looks like a form for people to sign-off before launch weekly snippets posts small details of what they've done each week takes 45 mins to read each week weblogs loads of speculation in the press: No one speculated that they might use it internally. first thing that Blogger team suggested. great ideas that people have determine great products.

Design Process User studies get the really obvious bugs out of way. First user-study ever had feedback like this: "I'm waiting for the rest of it" "Is this some guy's homepage" "How many people work in this company" "Are you from the psych department." Experiment Labs allows people to experiment internally.

Hiring Doesn't look for experience so much as ideas. One hiring committee that goes through every CV that comes in. Separates the hiring process from the headcount process. Keeping up the standards for hiring is more important than everything else. VERY CONSERVATIVE HIRING PROCESS. Only ever hired one or two people that were not a benefit to Google. The bad employers are the time-sinkers.

Experimentation and Implementation process (News) Not practical to have anorexic news page Iterative process (three slides about Google News)

Did the web change everything? Maybe not, but... We wouldn't have had Google Early and pre-web could use very bad search engines Small levels of information Wouldn't have been able to share this technology without web interface We wouldn't be able to communicate internally so well Memos don't wor as well as editable web-pages Feeback - we couldn't have had the amount of feedback Logs about how people use their product Advertising software is effective cos it's fast Ads are dropped if they're not clicked on User-focus

STAY TRUE TO YOUR MISSION: never undestimate luck - Google in right place in right time... know your mission statement get people doing something *useful*

=========================== External refs: [1] [2] Google celebrates the Double Helix today ( )