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## Google Gets A9 Search Chief67

Posted by CmdrTaco
award tour writes "Red Herring has a story that Google has nabbed yet another high ranking employee from a competitor. Udi Manber, former CEO of A9, has joined Google as vice president of engineering. As slashdot readers would know 'Last year, Microsoft was involved with Google in a dispute over Google hiring away Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, the vice president of Microsoft's Natural Interactive Services division, and appointing him as the head of Google's research and development center in China'"
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## Google Gets A9 Search Chief

• #### Left As An Exercise For The Reader (Score:5, Funny)

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @04:01PM (#14680725) Homepage
Given:
1. Constant X = The sentence "How'd you like to be a Vice President at Google?"
2. Variable Y = A geek
Prove:

X + Y = "Hell, yes!" for all values of Y.

• #### Re:Left As An Exercise For The Reader (Score:2)

It is easily disproved for any Y being a geek and senior VP at Apple :)

• #### Give the marginal jokes a rest! (Score:2)

It would be nice if Slashdot discussions were more thoughtful, I think, instead of writing all the marginally funny and unfunny jokes.

So, I will try to mention something that goes in that direction:

Basically, the fact that companies steal people from each other means that there are very, very few people who both have excellent technical knowledge, and are good managers. Otherwise, why hire someone from a competitor?

I think that one of the reasons for this is that programmers often take an insuffici
• #### Re:Give the marginal jokes a rest! (Score:2)

Awww, lighten up. Cheap jokes are good for your health.

If you want discussion of your "Toward more perfect programmers" comment, though, here it is:

You need hard data. You're drawing too many broad conclusions from anecdotal evidence.

The problem is that many people involved with computers fundamentally don't actually work for their company. Instead, they do only what they perceive is best for them. Generally, when such people are programmers they want a resume that shows familiarity with many compute

• #### Re:Left As An Exercise For The Reader (Score:4, Informative)

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @05:51PM (#14681951) Journal
Udi Manber [manber.com] is definately a geek.

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @04:04PM (#14680765)
First, there was "Havoc Pennington". And now there is "Udi Manber". That sounds... I donno, it sounds kind of like the secret identity of a superhero from some funkadelic Blade Runner future...

by Anonymous Coward
MOE: Moe's Tavern.
BART: I'm looking for an Udi. Udi Manber.
MOE: (shouting to bar patrons) Uhh, Udi Manber? Hey guys, has anyone found Udi Manber?!
PATRONS: (laughing)
BARNEY: No, keep looking for it! (Laughing)
MOE: Why, you-- (into phone) The next time I see you I'm going to (random threats)
BART: (laughing, hangs up)

My favorite crazy geek name is "Ransom Love", once CEO of Caldera.

"Randy Bender", who was a hilighted NCSE beats them all, I think
• #### IT company employee trading (Score:5, Funny)

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @04:04PM (#14680767)
So how long until we start seeing "IT Company Employee" trading cards? It sounds like these guys are being moved around like baseball players.

"Hey, I got Kai-Fu Lee's Bachelor's card!" "Cool, but you know after he got traded to Google, his publication stats tanked."
• #### Re:IT company employee trading (Score:1)

on this news as Amazon hires old Intel research director...

Shares of Amazon dropped \$0.22 to \$37.30 in recent trading

Makes sense. The outgoing Amazon exec will be missed.

while shares of Google fell \$9.05 to \$358.87

That's weird. I would expect up. Maybe investor fears of future lawsuits.

and Intel shares rose a penny to \$20.68.

Aha! The market never lies...
• #### Coaxing (Score:5, Funny)

<wgrother AT optonline DOT net> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @04:07PM (#14680792) Journal
Amazon.com has appointed a new chief executive, David Tennenhouse, 48, for its A9.com search unit after the former chief, Udi Manber, was coaxed away by Google to become the search giant's vice president of engineering.

Here chief execuuuutive, gooood chief execuuuutive... come to Google... we've got some nice carrots for youuuuuuuu... C'mon, that's it...

• #### Re:Coaxing (Score:1)

It's amazing to think that Amazon wouldn't have a non-compete clause in the guy's contract to prevent this from happening. It's not unusual for one to be barred from working in the same field or for a competitor within a particular time frame (e.g., one year).
• #### Re:Coaxing (Score:2)

No, no, no, Manber was coaxed whereas Tennenhouse was twisted-paired.
• #### What I'd Like to Know... (Score:4, Funny)

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @04:08PM (#14680798)
Are all of A9's chairs still intact?
• #### Re:What I'd Like to Know... (Score:1)

Was he A9's chair man?

> Last year, Microsoft was involved with Google in a dispute over Google hiring away Dr. Kai-Fu Lee the vice president of Microsoft's Natural Interactive Services division, and appointing him as the head of Google's research and development center in China'

In other news, images.google.com just added a new feature: object recognition. In the beta version, pictures of tanks (and irregular patches of colors ranging from #FF0000 through #CC3333) can be automatically recognized by software. In the produ

heh, that took a while to figure out, but I got it :)

I'd mod you up, but I've been here for 2 or 3 months and never seen any mod points :(

Karma. If you build it, they will come.

Bye bye karma!
• #### Corporate extractions... (Score:1)

I wonder how far these things will go. I seriously doubt this trend is going to go away, and is likely to get much more prevalent. I also wonder how the "Get your Microsoft Certification now and make \$70,000 a year" schools may start to drive this. The talented and experienced people are going to be in high demand, and its easier to take someone elses trained, experienced, and talented individuals than sorting through the pools of the certification mill hordes.
• #### Who is Udi Manber? (Score:5, Informative)

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @04:15PM (#14680881)
Not that it's so hard to hunt up his homepage(s), but the summary is that Udi Manber was a very big name in web search before web search became big business. He wrote agrep, Glimpse, Harvest, and other nifty things.

This is a different kind of hire than snagging that guy from Microsoft.
• #### Re:Who is Udi Manber? (Score:3, Interesting)

Oh yeah, Harvest! That brings back some mid-90's memories of rainbow horizontal-divider GIF's and animated letter-folding-into-an-envelope mailto icons. Damn it, now I have a Hootie and the Blowfish song stuck in my head!

Come to think of it, I don't think any of those Harvest search boxes ever once returned anything meaningful.

• #### Re:Who is Udi Manber? (Score:4, Interesting)

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @06:21PM (#14682230)
Udi Manber was a professor at the University of Arizona back in the day when Web pages were grey and most of the Web could still be viewed in the text-based browser Lynx. He tortured students (myself included) in classes like Algorithms, his specialty, and Automatas, Grammars, and Languages. Actually, he was pretty level-headed for a university professor. Instead of teaching his students how to recite algorithms and theory from a big cookbook, he taught us how to understand and develop them from scratch--for the most part, that is. One thing I'll never forget is that you never understand proofs of NP-complete reductions, you just get used to them. For more, his book, Introduction to Algorithms: A Creative Approach, is recommended reading.

Since the University of Arizona was a research institution, he applied his expertise in algorithms to the Web. That was his ticket out of academia into the real world, including stopovers at Yahoo!, A9, (and others?) and now Google. The moral of this little story: useful things can actually come out of academia!
• #### Google found out how to "one-up" Microsoft (Score:2, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward
Instead of just buying the company to "innovate", they can just grab key people and do it without the overhead of figuring out what works/doesn't (they already did) and all those pesky non-star employees.
• #### Re:Google found out how to "one-up" Microsoft (Score:2)

I believe Microsoft has grabbed key people before.

The guy credited with architecting NT, Dave something
comes to mind. Also, didnt they hire some Borland
developers away? Compiler team guys, cant remember
the details.
• #### Re:Google found out how to "one-up" Microsoft (Score:1)

Dave Cutler [wikipedia.org]
• #### Like Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @04:18PM (#14680919)
It seems that Google follows the path of our beloved Steve Jobs by looking for the best hires. I see that as a big common point between Google and Apple actually, smart people hiring lots of even smarter people.

Sounds like it's the magic formula in the IT world.

• #### Re:Like Apple (Score:2)

It's the magic formula in every world
• #### Re:Like Apple (Score:2, Insightful)

Maybe, but as Steve Jobs pointed out in the past, it's more specific to the IT world. The Good Hire/Bad Hire ratio must be at the highest in this world
• #### Hmmm... (Score:4, Funny)

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @04:29PM (#14681038) Journal
So, does he still get his A9 discount at Amazon? Or did Google have to kick him another billion dollars in stock (which he'll sell, prompting another story from Zonk about how this demonstrates Google management's commitment to their company's future) to make up for the extra 3% he'll be paying for O'Reilly books?
• #### .. and ... (Score:3, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 09, 2006 @04:31PM (#14681063)
.. and he was Yahoo's chief searching tech before A9. This guy's a badass, I was lucky enough to have taken a class with him at the UA in '93. Named my cat after him. True story.
• #### would you work for them? (Score:1, Interesting)

Given their latest "sellout" (or whatever you want to call it) to get into the Chinese search market, would you maybe think twice before you accepted a job offer from Google? I mean, it would be pretty interesting to work with the caliber of people they have working for them now, but what if they turn into the next Microsoft and you contributed to the next Evil Empire(tm).

With all of the hiring of so much top talent and the fact that they now have shareholders and eeeeeeevil governments that they censor i

• #### should not that be th eother way around? (Score:2)

I dont know how much a9 is a competitor for Google (never used it and dont know anyone who had), but typically if one company is a technology leader for technology X and the other one is trying to catch up, it is the other one who will try to lure the people from the first one.

One would think that search is Google's core competetency so there is little in getting the other guy to learn from him and his ways.

• #### Re:should not that be th eother way around? (Score:4, Informative)

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @05:07PM (#14681452)
One would think that search is Google's core competetency so there is little in getting the other guy to learn from him and his ways.

A9 grew out of Alexa. Cringely interviewed Alexa's founder [pbs.org] who pointed out a difference in Alexa's and Google's approach

So Google is - uses as a ranking mechanism how many people link to an article. .... Alexa was also based around meta data. It was people who visited this site also visited this site. ... So using people's trails as a mechanism of finding what's important out of the net.

So perhaps pagerank will be / is informed by analysing individual websurfers?

Amazon (who own A9/Alexa) use the same technology to suggest purchase Recommendations to you.

• #### Re:should not that be th eother way around? (Score:2)

A9 also uses Google search results. At the bottom of the search results it says, "Search results enhanced by Google. Results also provided by a9.com and Alexa."

From that, however, it isn't entirely clear if A9 is just using google's search results or if they actually are doing some of their own search voodoo. I did one search on both and it looked like they both gave the same results in the same order, but one example doesn't prove anything.
• #### Re:should not that be th eother way around? (Score:1)

A9 also uses Google search results. At the bottom of the search results it says, "Search results enhanced by Google. Results also provided by a9.com and Alexa."

I didn't know that.

From that, however, it isn't entirely clear if A9 is just using google's search results or if they actually are doing some of their own search voodoo.

I tried a search for marzipan recipe [a9.com] the results matched a google.com search as you suggest so Alexa's contribution would seem to be the

tha

• #### Re:should not that be th eother way around? (Score:1)

In Google China, we recommend you for purchase.
• #### Re:should not that be th eother way around? (Score:1)

So Google is - uses as a ranking mechanism how many people link to an article. .... Alexa was also based around meta data. It was people who visited this site also visited this site. ... So using people's trails as a mechanism of finding what's important out of the net.
Amazon develops pheromonetrail [pheromonetrail.com] which is a coincidence.
• #### Amazon's ground level map service (Score:2)

I dont know how much a9 is a competitor for Google

That's what Google might want to add to Google Local/Maps/Earth: Amazon offers street-level mapping, which no competitor does (yet, of course). You can read more about Amazon A9 mapping service here [slashgeo.org] and here [slashgeo.org].
• #### Udi's a smart guy (Score:5, Insightful)

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @05:00PM (#14681372)
I never understood why he was CEO at A9...he's definitely a scientist and *not* a CEO type. I assumed that the weird A9-is-a-company-but-really-part-of-Amazon thing allowed him to do it: but I can't imagine it was the best use of him.
• #### Udi Man? (Score:5, Funny)

on Thursday February 09, 2006 @05:19PM (#14681603) Homepage
No, You the man!!

(I bet he's sick of that joke...)
• #### Re:Udi Man? (Score:2)

Hahahaha. You the man bear.

Yes, he's sick of it. :)
• #### Follow the money (Score:1, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward
That is all this is, executives accepting higher salaries at another company.

All Google have demonstrated is that they are able to use their wallets to amass high-ranking employees with little loyalty to their workmates, and vanishingly small passion for their projects -- the key ingredients to stagnation in a once dynamic company.
• #### ObJoke... (Score:1, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward
I wouldn't employ a person whose work could be described as A9 search chief...
• #### In a related story... (Score:2)

Jeff Bezos was observed breaking a chair in a conference room while screaming "I'm going to fucking kill Google!!!"
• #### The beginning of the end (Score:1)

I was looking forward to reading something about Google's hiring practices, followed by stimulating discussion, but there's a huge freaking FLASH AD covering the whole article and it doesn't even have an [X] button to close it. Who the hell approves these ad programs anyway ?

Taco, oh Taco what have you done?!

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