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Is Google Too Smart For Its Own Good? 194

Posted by kdawson
from the sowing-seeds dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with a piece in Fortune speculating on what's next for Google. The writer believes that a supersaturated solution of very smart people, plus stock that may have run out of upside, will yield what he calls Son of Google — a large wave of innovative companies created by Google graduates. And a Google less intent on hiring, and less able to hire, the very smartest people around. Could happen.
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Is Google Too Smart For Its Own Good?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @06:43AM (#17126608)
    I'm not worried, at least not until we get to the Revenge of the Son of Google, or maybe the Bride of the Son of Google. That's when the entertainment value really drops off.
    • by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @07:14AM (#17126778)
      Will the odd numbered ones be good and the even numbered ones bad? Or the other way round?
    • by MadJo (674225)
      As long as we don't get the Bastard Son of Google. I don't think Lala of the Tikibar would like that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by smoker2 (750216)
      Heh, you wait 'till Google Ep. 1 - BackRub Garage [stanford.edu] comes out, then it's really jumped the shark (laser equipped or otherwise).
    • by LarsG (31008)
      Those are bound to be stinkers, but Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Flesh-Eating Subhumanoid Zombified Google should be a hoot.
    • Whatever you do, stay away from "Google II: The Quickening". Wait for the third one.

    • The plot of the film has just been revealed on a popular fan-boy site.

      Google is secretly dissolving smart people in a vat to create an Omniscient Liquid Brain. Ballboy Chairkovsky and the rest of The Incredmondibles don their crime-fighting costumes to battle the threat.

      "This totally kicks Harry Knowles' fat ass across the firmament of geekdom," said one commenter.
    • by daves (23318)
      Mighty Joe Google?
    • by pmancini (20121)
      The sequel will not be Son of Google but "Microsoft Strikes Back." It will be the best of the "trilogy." 4 more films will be made of varying quality telling a story which we already know the ending to. The villain is the one that actually brings balance to the Universe! In the end people will secretly love the villain a bit more than the primary protagonist whose career will pretty much falter from there on out. In fact the sidekicks will make more lucre l later on in life.
  • Perhaps... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PatrickThomson (712694) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @06:54AM (#17126664)
    Perhaps part of the google ethos and internal structure is aimed at reducing competition from former employees - the sorts of pressures that drive people to break away are diminished, with the 20% project time and a good chance of whatever you're working on becoming a proper google beta. Of course, people that just have a drive to be the boss of the boss's boss will still form companies, perhaps they are eliminated at interview?
    • Re:Perhaps... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Calinous (985536) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @07:12AM (#17126770)
      I don't think becoming a Google employee is a very good start to form a business. Anyway, it is possible - just as former Microsoft employee could break in and form businesses. However, take into consideration the simple fact that after working for such a software giant, you will have non-compete clauses for several years, and quitting Google to someday form your own business seems less than attractive. And one more thing - Google only does searching (for money). All its other projects are free - bad thing to work on, if you want to start a company that will get you money. As a side note, I remember ex-Sun employee (Technology Officer or the same) quitting the company, creating a start-up that develops one thing missing from Sun (developing it well), and then being absorbed back (with their solutions and know-how) for a barrel of money. It seems fair, as while working inside Sun you might have been forced to work on something else. Again, Google employee might be able to start something like this - or not
      • Re:Perhaps... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ufnoise (732845) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @09:52AM (#17128144)

        However, take into consideration the simple fact that after working for such a software giant, you will have non-compete clauses for several years, and quitting Google to someday form your own business seems less than attractive.


        Are non-compete clauses enforceable in California? Are out of state non compete contracts enforcable in California? According to this Wiki the answer to both questions is no.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-compete_clause#En forceability_in_the_State_of_California [wikipedia.org]

        Does anyone know if Google requires you to sign a non compete clause?

        Working at a large software company in the Silicon Valley, I just had to sign a paper when I started saying my employment was "at will". It also said I wouldn't try to get other employees to leave the company for a period of two years after I left the company.

        You can't steal intellectual property and take it with you. You can certainly continue to work in the same area, even if it means having to move to California.
    • Yes, I think 20% time is pivotal here. I don't think the articles hypothesis is going to be a problem. 6 months ago I was thinking of forming my own company. Yesterday I was talking to an interview candidate about why he should come work for us instead of setting up his own business. The simplest thing was to tell the truth, to tell what I thought in his boots 6 months ago, so that's what I did.

      Essentially, if you are thinking of forming your own company to write software, you need to weigh up the trade.

      • by gfody (514448)
        What if your idea is one that would generate revenue other than by advertising?
        Would Google still back it? ..and if they did and it was wildly successful revenue-generating wise would they setup some kind of profit sharing for you or would you just get a bonus and get back to work?

        I think I would enjoy my ideas seeing success thanks to Google's infrastructure and marketing power - but is it worth it if all you get is a bonus from what would otherwise change your life forever?

        I guess it all depends on those
        • What if your idea is one that would generate revenue other than by advertising?

          That's fine. I'm working on something that doesn't make money via advertising. But advertising is effective enough and well established enough that if you can fund it that way, it's encouraged.

          Would Google still back it? ..and if they did and it was wildly successful revenue-generating wise would they setup some kind of profit sharing for you or would you just get a bonus and get back to work?

          It would be backed, subject to

          • by gfody (514448)
            In my experience the "people tossing the bone" were also generally stupid in regards to recognizing technical merit and being able to assess my contribution from an engineering point of view. $12 million sounds fantastic, but I would have to consider the big picture ($12 million bonus over 4 years split 24 ways for a project that generates say $20 million a month I wouldn't be very happy about).

            Just knowing that Larry and Sergey are engineers themselves I tend to believe that whatever they decide would be f
  • ... I do not see the problem here... If Google is supposedly at their plateau... and now they cant hire the new brilliant talent being produced in the wild... Whats to say those in the wild who are capable in the world might not already be earmarked by Google? Or if they do join a spin off company, then its just to further that individuals experience. In the long run, who cares. Google has an incredibly stacked deck, and so far the results have not been in line with the usual... problem laden produ
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by arivanov (12034)
      Bollocks.

      AFAIK they still happily throw out 99.9%+ of all candidates tagged as potentials by their headhunters leaving only what they like. The "cannot hire" is when the candidates start to turn them down. This happened to Yahoo and their other major competitors very long ago. In fact as far as yahoo goes many people turn it down even before reading the job description to the end (for plenty of reasons).

      This is yet to happen to Google. I have yet to see a person who has been selected for an interview, had a
      • by IceFox (18179)
        I know several people who have turned down Google. Best part was for some of them it wasn't even the money.
        • by Firehed (942385)
          Well I was going to apply to Harvard just to turn them down. But I realized that it wasn't worth the cost of the application fee, something I doubt is an issue in a job application to Google.
  • Google's success. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @07:07AM (#17126738) Journal
    People are forgetting the secret to Google's success.

    Luck.

    They developed the right product at the right time. Microsoft did the same. They happened to be home when IBM called and got the DOS contract.

    heir graduates can come up with quality product but will they be able to provide somethign the market really needs?
    • Doesn't matter. The harm here isn't that they'll form companies to compete with Google, the harm is the brain drain, whether they form software companies or write novels.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They didn't just "happen to be at home". Bill Gates' mum (!) set up a meeting for little Billy boy.

      It kind of pisses me off when Bill Gates is presented as some sort of rags-to-riches success story. He had some starting-post advantages, folks.
      That said, I don't really begrudge him his wealth - society was stupid enough to allow copyright and patent monopoly law (note that Bill Gates was hanging around washington when that was being decided - believe it or not, it wasn't until 1983 that binding U.S. preced
      • by Alomex (148003)
        It kind of pisses me off when Bill Gates is presented as some sort of rags-to-riches success story. He had some starting-post advantages, folks.

        Would you have been able to deliver an operating system at age 21 had you mommy set up a meeting with IBM? Don't think so.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by roaddemon (666475)
      How was Google lucky? They came into an already saturated search market and collected a vast market share because they did a better job of it than everyone else. If you switched to Google in 1999 or 2000, it wasn't because there was nothing else available, and it wasn't because they had a great ad campaign; it was because of the word of mouth that a great product generates.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 91degrees (207121)
        Their product is text ads. Not search technology. The search engine is just a hook.

        Someone else could have come up with the text ads earlier. They didn't. Google got there first.
        • by synx (29979)
          But surely this is true for everything right? Someone would have eventually invented the . Transistor, DNA sequencing, etc... why give Turing any accolades? Someone would have eventually done what now seems so obvious.

          Except at the time, text ads were not obvious. *shrug*

          As for Google's product being ads... what is NBC's product? CBS's product? Ads or tv shows?
    • Luck?! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by superbrose (1030148)

      A little off-topic, but in an interview the golfer Bernard Langer was once told that he was extremely lucky to sink a particularly difficult put.
      He responded 'The more I practise, the luckier I get!'.

      I don't believe the successes of Google or Microsoft are down to luck. Neither do I think that Warren Buffett is a lucky investor.
      Being opportunistic and taking a calculated risk sounds more like it.

      • by LetterRip (30937)
        "I don't believe the successes of Google or Microsoft are down to luck. Neither do I think that Warren Buffett is a lucky investor.
        Being opportunistic and taking a calculated risk sounds more like it."

        I think you are confusing luck being the only factor, with luck being a contributing factor. Bill Gates has done a superb job of taking advantage of the opportunities that he has been presented with. However many of his opportunities would not have existed without luck (being born into a wealthy family - tha
    • by hhawk (26580)
      Luck always has some thing to do with it, or at leaste timing..

      But Google has what I call last mover advantage. The had all the lessons from Yahoo, InfoSeek, Lycos, Ask!, etc.

      Microsoft DOS was really a first mover type of thing.. but MS-Word was last mover, as is ZUNE, and the XBox... but an advantage is only that, never a promise of success.

      We all know technology can be distruptive and working on the bleeding edge only makes it more so.. a pile of cash can let you make mistakes and recover, but in the end,
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by lilfields (961485)
      People are forgetting the secret to Google's success. Luck.
      So by your definition, anyone who is successful is so because they are lucky? I have no idea how you were modded up. That's not interesting or insightful in the least.
    • by Bamafan77 (565893)

      People are forgetting the secret to Google's success.

      Luck.

      They developed the right product at the right time. Microsoft did the same. They happened to be home when IBM called and got the DOS contract.

      heir graduates can come up with quality product but will they be able to provide somethign the market really needs?

      Well, it's unfair to attribute it all to luck. Someone did have to invent a better way to search the web after all.

      However, as was the case with Microsoft, there were a lot of factors

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by 91degrees (207121)
        Yes. I made a mistake of implying that it was all down to luck. But Google is not inherently better than a lot of substantially less successful products. If the Stanford grads had learned about computer vision or something, they would no doubt have come up with a remarkably good image recognitiuon system, which probably would have netted them a decent reward. But they happened to research an area where at the time there was a large gulf in the market.

        Someone else would have written that thesis, and
    • by mr_death (106532)
      People are forgetting the secret to Google's success.

      Luck.


      Spoken like someone who's never experienced business success. Go back to your happy fantasy land, and envy those who work harder and smarter than you.
  • by pubjames (468013) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @07:08AM (#17126750)

    I'm not sure that online service providers are going to be naturally monolithic in the way that, say, hardware manufacturers or pre-web software companies are. I find it easy to imagine that Google's core business could be wiped out in a year by a new upstart with a better technology. Microsoft are lucky in that they have established lock-in - it will be superceded by something else over the long term rather than replaced by superior products of the same ilk. Google doesn't have any lock-in, and I think the nature of online serices is such that companies that try to establish it aren't going to be successful.
    • by bannerman (60282)
      I do not think the stellar search engine is Google's best feature. It's the super functional, minimalistic yet appealing interface. You know, the one that isn't anything like Slashdot. It makes me and my computer happy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @07:09AM (#17126754)
    Is Slashdot Too Political And FUD'ish For Its Own Good?
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @07:28AM (#17126844)
    Kind of how Failchild Semiconductor [wikipedia.org] was the wellspring for many of todays semiconductor companies? This graphic (PDF warning) was the best thing I could find. [businessweek.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Excellent example -- but perhaps an even better one is to look at Kleiner Perkins's previous track record -- Google itself is a son of one Kleiner company (they got theri seed money from a Sun founder, Andy; who in turn got his start from KPCB) - and Google's other money came from KPCB itself. Where'd that money come from? KP's other companies, of course - including AOL and Netscape. -- and where'd they get the money for those - From Fairchild semi, as the parent poster suggests.

      So in the same follow-th

  • As far as I know, google employees are allowed to spend a certain amount of time on their own projects, which might later even be added to google's product line. If google is saturated with smart people who are free to attempt their own innovative projects, why would ex-google employees pose a threat to google with their innovation?
    • by TheJasper (1031512) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @08:13AM (#17127154)
      I agree completely. As I understand it you are even required to spend 20% of your time on your own project. One of the smartest people I know will probably go to Google soon, so I don't think they have a problem with hiring. As to spinoffs, sure maybe there will be some, which is a good thing too. However, if you get to work on your cool idea on company time, and get bonuses in relation to the succes of your project, why start up your own company. Do you want to become a manager who has to run a business, or do you want to play with your toys. Google works by making it profitable not to start your own company. Sure, you might not make 1 billion dollars with a brilliant idea, but who needs that much money? If google makes it that your brilliant idea earns you millions and does the boring admin and pays you to work on your next crackpot idea that may or may not work then why would you leave.
      • But don't forget that these "freetime" projects you do belong to Google since you were doing them while on their payroll. Any patents that might be generated along the way will also belong to Google. I think this is a brilliant strategy to prevent future defection:

        First you allow your smart employees to follow their whims while working for you, so they get a sense of personal fulfillment which reduces their desire to strike out on their own. Then, if they do strike out on their own, they will probably nee

  • Maybe, but (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joss (1346) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @07:35AM (#17126900) Homepage
    Hiring mediocre people backfires a lot sooner than hiring only really smart
    people.

    The kind of people who will form their own companies will do so irrespective of whether they work for google first.
    • by 0123456 (636235)
      "The kind of people who will form their own companies will do so irrespective of whether they work for google first."

      But it's much easier with $100,000,000 of stock option money in the bank...
    • Re:Maybe, but (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @08:57AM (#17127488)
      But really smart people can also be mediocre people as well. It is a common misconception especially among geeks who place their status on intelligence. You could be the smartest person on Earth and still a Mediocre person/employee. Things like...

      1. Hubris, The ancient Geeks knew this, Jesus knew this. Almost all other major religion know this. But a lot of "Smart" People tend to ignore this. Excessive Pride is Bad MmKaaa. This closes your mind, it prevents you from listening to what the "Less Smart" People who are saying. Because you assume just because you are smarter then them that you ideas are always more correct. Which is wrong.

      2. Wisdom. The concept of wisdom is a rather nebulous concept. Wisdom comes from experience, and your own personal insight. It is a case where a 5 year old could solve the problem and not you. Just because the 5 year old just recently experience a similar concept during play. a lot of "Smart" people tend to limit themselves from experiences, Book Worms, Video games... So they do not gain as much wisdom as say someone who never went past high school but has explored the word.

      3. Work ethic. A lot of "Smart" People will just flat out refuse to do a job that is beneath them, past their confront zone, or just not in their area of specialty. Like a parson with a BS In Computer Science with a 4.0 GPA and a highly skilled programmer being ask to help out lay network cable from Data Center A to the the New Data Center which is 100M away. Or an Artificial Intelligence expert refusing to program a Database Query. Or Refusing to learn a new language that the company is moving to. Also there are the smart people who just stop working when it is not fun any more.

      4. Hunan Skills, Human skills are important because what ever your job is at some level it will used for the benefit of humans. And you cannot advance in your career without human skills.

      I am sure anyone who worked for Technical Support has realized People with PHD are the worse group of people to to Technical Support for. Because when they call you they are already embarrassed that they needed to call technical support because they think of themselves smart enough to fix the problem themselves with out the help of some 2 Year vocational school grad. Then when you do talk to them on the phone they are less then honest on following your instructions. Finally when you give them instructions they will not follow it. compared with Blue Collar Factory workers (Which I have learned are actually very smart people too) they are not afraid to call when the problem is minor and can get it fixed before it becomes major, they tell you exactly what they did, they follow your instruction on how to fix it. They also write them self a note on how to prevent it in the future.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ginbot462 (626023)
        Actually, I am a computer parson that has the Hubris to learn how to cook some Hunan (maybe Mongolian as well).
  • With the large number of companies in general merging as part of their profit formula, I don't really see why these would do the opposite. Google has always tried to let their employees work quite freely and in the past let ideas from them turn into financed projects, so I really don't see what big gains there would be for them to split up.
  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DMouse (7320) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @07:48AM (#17126980) Homepage
    Right, lets role play here for a minute. I'm a phd coder employed at google. I have a good chunk of cash in google shares that will vest soonish. So I'm going to take that money and go and start a startup because?

    Which wally thought that the primary motivation for programmers was making money?

    Pretty much every study of programmers motivations i have ever read has shown them to be intrinsically motivated by the opportunity to solve puzzles, and to be able to hang out with birds of similar feather. The fact is that money isn't that much of a motivator for coders, provided there is sufficient to buy toys. The latest laptop. A 30" lcd into which to plug said laptop. A plasma telly and an xbox 360 on which to play halo.

    Starting up a company is risky, there is a bucket load of work to do that isn't coding, and you have to stop talking to all the other coders who you like chatting with at work. Wtf?

    Someone has NO CLUE how coders think. And this made it to the front page of slashdot how, exactly?
    • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GrumpySimon (707671) <.zn.ten.nomis. .ta. .liame.> on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @08:06AM (#17127106) Homepage
      Exactly - google will start losing talented people only once they stop doing cool things. As long as they keep putting out new shiny toys, what geek wouldn't want to work there?
      • by repvik (96666)
        Not only do they keep doing the shiny toys, their employees also gets the respect they really earn from their co-workers. And a lot of fringe benefits.
      • As long as they keep putting out new shiny toys, what geek wouldn't want to work there?

        From the LA Times, Oct. 6 -- "Google Puts Lid on New Products [latimes.com]":

        In another sign of Google Inc.'s growth from start-up to corporate behemoth, the company's top executives said Thursday that they had begun telling engineers to stop launching so many new services and instead focus on making existing ones work together better.

        The shift is a major departure from Google's previous strategy of launching new services rapid

    • I wasn't aware that coders were not human.

      You've got three or four full retirement's worth of vested stock. Almost* everybody has some cool thing they'd like to work on, and being independantly wealthy means you get to work on it whenever you want, not just 20% of the time you spend working for someone else for wages.

      There are some people who don't have cool projects they want to work on. Those people are generally uncreative and lack internal motivation, and probably are not on Google's roles. Oh, and thos
    • by drsquare (530038)
      Maybe they want to do more interesting things than work out different ways to show ads to people?
    • by khallow (566160)

      Someone has NO CLUE how coders think. And this made it to the front page of slashdot how, exactly?

      Heh, you demonstrate you're on the list too. Listing a few disadvantages of starting a business doesn't give the whole story. For example, look at the founders of Google. They got a number of things from starting Google. First, they get a big share of the value that Google provides. Being an owner does pay better than being an employee. They get to shape Google culture and create the wonder that you work in

    • by asuffield (111848)
      Which wally thought that the primary motivation for programmers was making money?


      An editor of a financial magazine. Most people have a bad habit of assuming that all other people in the world are like them. Very few people ever get past it.
      • by DMouse (7320)
        True enough. I should have twigged that a magazine titled Fortune would have the world view that people are motivated to get rich. How silly of me. =)
    • by GWBasic (900357)

      Pretty much every study of programmers motivations i have ever read has shown them to be intrinsically motivated by the opportunity to solve puzzles, and to be able to hang out with birds of similar feather. The fact is that money isn't that much of a motivator for coders, provided there is sufficient to buy toys. The latest laptop. A 30" lcd into which to plug said laptop. A plasma telly and an xbox 360 on which to play halo.

      You almost described the perfect reason for a programmer to start a business. Fo

  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@noSPaM.devinmoore.com> on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @07:59AM (#17127042) Homepage Journal
    You graduate TO google. The reason this will not happen is that people are still heading towards Google to make cool products. They will pay you to work on your own stuff at least 20% of the time, what better investment could you get?
    • by glwtta (532858)
      They will pay you to work on your own stuff at least 20% of the time, what better investment could you get?

      I think the reasoning is if you have a pile of money in Google stock, you might want to take that and start a company to work on your own stuff 100% of the time.
      • by ccp (127147)

        I think the reasoning is if you have a pile of money in Google stock, you might want to take that and start a company to work on your own stuff 100% of the time.

        If you think that starting a company will give you much time to work in your stuff, let alone 100% of it, I'm afraid you'll be sorely disappointed.

        Been there, done that. The money is OK, but you spend your most time with lawyers, accountants, customers, bureaucrats, and the ilk.
        Better think hard and long if that is the kind of life you want. Some pe

    • So, if I get this straight, your basic argument is "because something is a certain way right now, there's no way that will ever change." That is pretty clearly foolish. Just because "people are still heading towards Google to make cool products," this is no way means that this will continue.
  • Google seems to be doing fine. They are hiring the right people and those people seem to be eager to work at google. If they do enough to keep those smart people, which they seem to be doing then I don't see a problem. Google is going all out to add Mac support for all of their products and now even have a Mac blog from the developers. Even if some employees do leave I see that being a plus for the internet. Google knows what people on the internet want and it gives them that. Programs like Google earth and
    • Only issue was Microsoft was doing the same thing a decade back. They produced the WOnder called Windows 95.
      After the spectacular launch and sales, they started bleeding slowly.

      Same will happen to Google, but only much faster, because the ONLY money making team in google is the Adwords team. Google Earth, GMail, Google Maps, etc., are money bleeding services (unless Google is earning serious money selling Gmail to NSA). Don't EVEN think Gmail would be made into a Paid service once Google has beaten Yahoo, H
      • by rspress (623984)
        I am sure Google will fall, all companies do. Another good example is Microsoft and Vista with a liitle Zune tossed in for good measure. You are correct that it is when and how.

        I don't see it happening in the near future. Yahoo is taking it in the shorts right now because they cannot keep up with Google. I see them being healthy for at least the next 2 to 3 years. Google does have good effects beyond Google. My paid dotmac has had to improve to keep pace with the free Google. It will force other companies t
  • I work for Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @09:30AM (#17127860)
    Going anon obviously.

    Two things -

    1. Academic != Smart. The amount of small minds here (particularly the worst kind; small minds with large egos) is unreal. Just because you have a PhD does not make you smart.

    2. Most Google employees are total sheep. They are the type of people who want to join a cult. This goes against everything business owners stand for.

    3. Setting up a business has nothing to do with being smart or academic. Only certain kinds of people (generally, the kind of people who like selling, i.e. not nerds) enjoy and succeed at setting up businesses.

    People totally overrate Google employees. It's funny/sad.
    • being "smart" (Score:3, Interesting)

      Unless we define "smart", this is just a silly thread. Being smart is much more than a set of metrics, as you suggest. Many programmers themselves are not even good at programming.

      Google is not Mensa. Mensa is not even Mensa. If Google really was stocked with geniuses, it would suggest that they a) know how to find geniuses, b) know how to lure geniuses, and c) know how to make geniuses work together for corporate success. Frankly, I do not believe that ANYONE can do it. It would take... genius. :o)

      Software
      • by PPGMD (679725)
        Exactly being good at your job doesn't mean your smart. My clients swear I can just put my ear up to a server and I know what's wrong, that doesn't come from being smart that comes from expirence. At the same time I have met some intelligent people with PhD's in computer science that have Windows boxes that are so filled with so much spyware it's not even funny.

        What I look for in an employee moderately smart, been around the IT block at least once or twice (sorry recent grads), and is a quick study.

    • by moochfish (822730)
      You certainly make a lot of assumptions there. A PhD is not like a regular degree where if you do your homework you eventually graduate. It requires applying your knowledge, doing real research, often applying for grant money, arguing with professors, designing and implementing experiments to test theories, and then - finally - coming up with something totally new.

      But even without arguing with you on point #1, I'm astounded that your envy is shown so prominently on point #2. Total sheep? Where is your evide
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @10:00AM (#17128254)
    What a major plot twist.

    If Google is "too smart for it's own good", I suppose same people would say "Microsoft is too dumb for its own bad".

    Then suddenly it all makes sense. Right? Nope. But still good 'nuf for Slashdot, start the presses!
  • ...people who have no interest in working for Google. Seriously.

    I, for some reason (probably related to how horrible I find things like JSP), do not like web development at all (with the exception of web services that my good old fashioned thin/fat client can consume) when compared to C/C++, but that's just me. Some people love that environment; however, the press seems to think that everyone with a brain wants to join Google.

    I presume that there are quite a few engineers who wouldn't be tempted by Google
    • I, for some reason (probably related to how horrible I find things like JSP), do not like web development at all (with the exception of web services that my good old fashioned thin/fat client can consume) when compared to C/C++, but that's just me.

      You are not alone. I'm the same. Fortunately for you, many high profile "web apps" are in fact written in C++. Did you really think the Google search engine is written in PHP? Preferring C++ style coding should not put you off applying.

      Google Earth is slightl

      • by Assmasher (456699)
        I certainly didn't mean to bag on Google Earth, just that people (myself included) have been doing real-time GIS applications (for CA Unicenter as an example) which streamed off of USGS CDs and DVDs in the datacenter since 1997. The wow factor isn't the application, it's the data itself. That's what makes Google's client software seem magical. The front end stuff that most of the teams work on (as far as we outsiders can see) is nothing special. I'm not saying it's bad in any way, but it certainly isn't
  • for example, what are all these thumb twiddling pseudo journalists going to waste days pontificating over, and writing useless, pointless and baseless articles over?
  • Remember Lucent (Score:3, Interesting)

    by carn1fex (613593) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @01:55PM (#17133002)
    My uncle lost a ton of money in Lucent because his philosophy for success centered around them having the highest percentage of staff with PhDs in the industry. Take heed?
  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:11PM (#17134542) Homepage
    It could happen, but it probably won't. Here's why: Google's employees live better than kings.

    What do I mean? They've got a vast selection of food that they could want to eat; they have fairly undisciplined day schedules; they've got no overt worldly responsibilities. And, what's most important, they can spend their days however they want working on things that interest them. They may not be golfing or doing 'leasurely' activities, but most academic types don't care for those kinds of entertainment anyway.

    When you enjoy every activity of your day (well, at least 'almost') why would you throw it away to try and compete against such an environment?
  • If, on a results page, I type into the search box before the page finishes loading, their onload script replaces what I just typed with my last search. They've had years to come up with a solution to this silly bug.

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature. -- Rich Kulawiec

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