Saturday, November 26, 2005

In Defense of Google

Last week, I noticed an article on The Register about Google ills. In the article the author, Otto Stern, talks about the problems with the search giant. The article does not have much technical content and I wonder how can one blame a tech company solely on the basis of "social" arguments, without looking at its technological achievements. Being an ardent fan of Google, I found it necessary to debunk the whole article.

The author alleges that Google earns a ton of money without doing almost nothing. To quote him: "It supplies boring, text ads to web pages." Believe it or not, Google Ads are the least irritating ads seen online and the Google web pages provide much informative web experience compared to any other website. Those who are not interested in sponsored ads can safely ignore them.

Another point which Otto makes is about Google's lack of innovation and in this context it refers the reader to an article in PC Magazine. In this article John Dvorak mentions that none of the Google's ideas are original. The search was taken from AltaVista, Gmail from Hotmail, and targeted ads from GoTo.com. The point I wish to make is that you cannot create every damn thing all by yourself alone. In technological field one normally builds up on the work of his predecessors and contemporaries. This is not a shameful thing.

See the difference which Google made by building upon the work of AltaVista and Hotmail and GoTo.com. Thus Larry and Sergey introduced their Page Rank algorithm and for the first time in the history of web search the users actually started getting relevant information on the top of the search results. And we got 2GB of email free from Gmail. Not only did Gmail revamp the way people used webmail, it also gave an experience matching almost with a local desktop email application (thanks to the AJAX technology which was popularized by Gmail). Apart from this it provides free POP access. And the best part is that you don't need to organize your mailbox, Google will search any damn stuff in your mailbox.

Sorry Otto, the Google guys are so full of innovative ideas which are beyond your imagination. Take a look at their services like Google Maps, Google Desktop, Google Video, Google Suggest, Google Reader, Google Base, Google Books and so on. Every another day you can expect them to launch a new service. I don't think that the Google stock has crossed the $400 mark (from $85) just because of the media hype. They are really doing something wonderful and making the best use of their stocks.

The technical expertise in software and hardware technologies needed to launch and run such services is beyond the reach of any other tech company. For details about Google's technical expertise you can read Stephen Arnold's The Google Legacy.

The life of many a programmers, system admins and other IT people is made less miserable by the search results of Google. The information provided in Google Search and Google Groups is sometimes much more relevant than the one provided in MSDN.

Otto also mentions that Google professes this open-source love thing only in a superficial way by giving only pet projects to the open source world. On the contrary Googlers are heavy users of open source products and their data centers run a modified version of Linux.

Larry and Sergey started with their Backrub (and then Google) way back in 1998 and in seven years they have made Google synonymous with "search" raising its status almost to a verb. Contrary to what many people say, they still believe in their motto of "Do No Evil" and so far have never taken any undue advantage of the monopoly they have over online information. They have revolutionized the concept of computing by lifting it from your desktop to the internet and right now they are giving Microsoft a run for their money.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

r u working in google ?

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.slate.com/id/2127758/

2:58 PM  
Blogger paramanand said...

I am thankful to the person who gave the link for article on www.slate.com. The article provides good detail about Google's revenue generation.

Also as a reply to the first comment, I am not working for Google. If you followed my posts carefully you would have noticed that I work at STMicroelectronics.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Sandeep Shinde said...

Being a software professional, Google has changed my professional life completly in last 4 yrs... i no more buy any books or search some encyclopedia... Whenever in doubt, just one word comes to my mind GOOGLE!!

Somebody said noting/nobody is perfect!!! I say 'Nothing/nobody is perfect except Google!'

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Captain Jack Sparrow said...

I mentioned about Google in the comments for the blog on 'Anti-Microsoft', and now you write a full article on Google.

I'll repeat my line here too. Google hasn't been the first in any field but it has revolutionized whichever field it has entered. This reminds me of another similarity between Google and Microsoft. IBM never believed that computing will reach a person's home, but Microsoft changed all that. IBM missed the chance and Microsoft capitalized.

Similarly maps of the earth were available, for a long time. Microsoft even had a software similar to Google Earth called Microsoft Streets and Trips, but you had to pay a huge sum to use it. It is a very sofisticated software and comes on two CDs. I have used it and Google Earth in its current stage can't match the features of Microsoft Streets and Trips. But Google has marketed its basic (compared to Microsoft's) software for free and now its a hit. Microsoft had the chance but missed it and GOOGLE has capitalized on it.

11:14 AM  

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