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The Final Days of Google 177

Posted by Zonk
from the lots-of-really-smart-termites dept.
theodp writes "Robert X. Cringely speculates about The Final Days of Google, making a compelling case that when the end comes, it is going to be an inside job. To find the founders of a Google-beating start-up, Cringely suggests looking no further than the thousands of entrepreneurial geniuses currently working for Google, who will inevitably be driven to leave the company to realize the dreams of their rejected ideas. 'The real money is in taking existing ideas and twisting the idea just far enough to make it work in a fantastic new way. Think Google vs. AltaVista; Apple vs. all previously existing laptops and mp3 players; YouTube vs. all previously existing video sites, etc. In addition to ideas, you need creativity, resources, connections, and luck -- none of which appear to be in short supply among Google worker bees. Much of the next influx of ideas to Sand Hill Road will come not just from former Google employees, but also from groups of former Google employees who are planning their future companies over free sushi and Diet Coke late at night in Google cafeterias.'"
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The Final Days of Google

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  • So..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:58AM (#19281451)
    An innovative startup made of ex-google staffers will kill google?

    But Google wasn't the end of MS, MS wasn't the end of IBM, the markets big. A new player doesn't mean the 'end' of old players.
    • Re:So..... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Aliriza (1094599) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:40AM (#19281607) Homepage
      The former employes of real big firms usually can not build firms that are as strong as their old firms.Cause they are born into the empire , but small firms are not empires and if you act you are an empire you only fall down.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Not to mention that the primary hope and dream of most startups these days is - you guessed it - be be bought by Google. I don't see why most Google employees would WANT to take out the empire when it's far easier and almost definitely more profitable to just work for it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          People are looking to making the quick $$$. The market doesn't have any real competitors anymore. It's so sad to see capitalism reach this point really. What if youtube did not get bought out, and it had a 2nd or 3rd product. It leaves you wondering.

    • Re:So..... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:37AM (#19282049) Homepage Journal
      Cringely is starting to lose it, I think. Too much time out on the edge can make you start to see things and hear voices.

      Seriously, there's a lot of pressure on writers like Cringely to come up with something "counter-intuitive", "insightful", and "outside the box" and "forward thinking" to the point where, faced with a deadline or empty blog post, they throw caution to the wind and blurt out some shit that sounds smart, but if you scratch the surface is nonsense.

      TFA is one of those.
      • Re:So..... (Score:4, Funny)

        by phantomflanflinger (832614) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:57AM (#19282145) Homepage
        Google - remember that? Those were the days. No wonder they went the way of all the dotcom companies, what with all the billions of dollars they made.

        Note to self: must cut down on LSD-flavoured potato chips.

        Here [cracked.com]'s Cringely telling it like it is. Amen to him.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by westyx (95706)
        Lose it? Cringely has been trolling for years, and slashdot and the internet just keep lapping it up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ajanp (1083247)
        I don't understand why Cringley still has the ability to make front-page slashdot news given the numerous times he has been wrong about things. The underlying argument for his article is weak at best and he is basically criticizing Google for hiring the best minds.

        the Google Geeks are constantly talking with each other, team building, bonding, and goofing off. And for 20 percent of that goofing-off time I'll guarantee you that many of these people are discussing their pet projects, 99.75 percent of which have been REJECTED by the company.

        Hmmm... so because the Google employees decide to spend their free time talking about work as well as new and innovative projects, the company is destined to fail. That makes a ton of sense. Given Cringley's reputation for fact-checking, I'm go

      • I remember an issue of Wired in about 1998 or 1999 predicting 25 years of unprecedented and uninterrupted growth.
      • Seriously, there's a lot of pressure on writers like Cringely to come up with something "counter-intuitive", "insightful", and "outside the box" and "forward thinking" to the point where, faced with a deadline or empty blog post, they throw caution to the wind and blurt out some shit that sounds smart, but if you scratch the surface is nonsense
        In other words, all technical columnists end up becoming Dvorak.
      • Cringely is starting to lose it, I think.

        I dont recall him ever having it in the first place.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mrand (147739)

      An innovative startup made of ex-google staffers will kill google?

      Um, no. The title is a eye-grabber, not the conclusion. He isn't talking about the complete death of Google - he is talking about "the next big thing", whatever that is. Of course, it could just as easily come from someone outside Google. Maybe they use investor money that ultimately came from one of the early employees Google that retired at age 33. Or not.

      But Google wasn't the end of MS, MS wasn't the end of IBM, the markets big. A new player doesn't mean the 'end' of old players.

      Noone said it does.

      Marc

    • by MOBE2001 (263700) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @09:26AM (#19282275) Homepage Journal
      But Google wasn't the end of MS, MS wasn't the end of IBM, the markets big. A new player doesn't mean the 'end' of old players.

      Google can quickly change to accomodate any revolutionary new idea in the computer industry. Their business model is not tied to how computers work. If somebody found a new way to make computers and systems that made the old way obsolete, Google would just switch to the new way. By contrast, companies like Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Sun, Apple and others are married to the status quo. And if you think that the computer industry is not ripe for a revolution, think again. The algorithmic model is as old as Babbage and Lady Ada, that's 150 years old! We have a big problem called unreliability that has put an upper limit on the complexity of our systems and kept software development costs at a high level. The old way of doing things does not work well anymore. The market is screaming for a solution. And what the market wants, the market will get. I doubt that the coming revolution will come from the West, though. They have too much to lose. They can no longer change their ways because the old gurus have become demi-gods, and nobody dares question the gods. I see it coming from places like China or India. You've been warned. You heard it here first. ahahaha...
      • The algorithmic model is as old as Babbage and Lady Ada, that's 150 years old!

        You'll be really shocked when you find out how old integers are.

      • Google can quickly change to accomodate any revolutionary new idea in the computer industry. Their business model is not tied to how computers work. If somebody found a new way to make computers and systems that made the old way obsolete, Google would just switch to the new way.

        Google isn't about software. They aren't about search, they aren't about mail, they aren't about videos, maps, blogs, or any of the numerous client-oriented services they offer.

        Google is an advertising company. Period. Nothing else t

    • Actually (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @09:28AM (#19282281) Journal
      IBM is really a fraction of their size that they were back in the days of uncle lou (which is what we called him when he first started). Their decline is not a decline, but a losing of the market share that they had. Basically, IBM was the 8000 lb gorilla back in the 70's and 80's.

      Likeiwse, MS is starting downwards as well. Apple and Linux are finally eating into their desktop. To really see it, step out of America.

      OO and google office is starting to take some of their office monopoly. As time progresses, more govs will go the path of OO as well schools who pick up olpc.

      And MSIE is down a LONG ways down from the late 90's, early 00's. Back then they owned 98% of the market. Now, they are at around 80% and still continuing downwards.

      MS was never the main attack on IBM, just the last one prior to their downfall. Likewise, we are seeing MS's downfall. They will not end, but they will not own the market with free reign to crush whoever looks wrong at BG or Balmer.
      • by bogjobber (880402)
        You're looking at market share too much and you're missing the point. IBM, Microsoft, etc. aren't going down. They are making more money and are larger companies than they were in the 70's, 80's, 90's, etc. They were/are losing market share, but the market has grown at an incredible rate. IBM is still one of the largest companies in the world. So is Microsoft. This is not a zero-sum game. Google, Apple, and Linux can grow without hurting Microsoft.
      • Re:Actually (Score:5, Interesting)

        by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @04:17PM (#19285045)

        Likeiwse, MS is starting downwards as well. Apple and Linux are finally eating into their desktop. To really see it, step out of America.


        To see how wrong you are, step into any enterprise environment. At my organization, we're running more Windows now than we have ever run. Windows has changed from a joke in the server space to the standard server platform we run everything on. 15 years ago, you couldn't have deployed anything but UNIX. Today, to deploy anything but Windows means that you support it alone.

        Linux has made some big wins. So has OOo. I don't know what the hell you're talking about with Google Office (no real IT department takes stuff like that seriously, it's far too dangerous to have company docs residing on 3rd-party servers).

        But, guess what? MS has pretty much the highest market share they have ever had in every segment they operate in. Windows Mobile sales are up 35% from a year ago, and it's finally starting to be a threat to BlackBerry. There are still more XBOX 360s than Wii's and PS3s combined. SQL Server continues to eat away at Oracle's market share, particularly as companies like SAP grow increasingly wary of Oracle's acquisitions of their competitors.

        There are more PCs out there running Windows Vista than there are Macs running Mac OS X.

        And, guess what? Nobody cares that MSIE only has 80% marketshare. Microsoft ignored the product for FIVE YEARS. And it's still at 80%! Phoenix (Firefox) didn't even exist five years ago!

        So, yeah. Microsoft is making record profits on record revenue and their platforms are either near market saturation or growing strongly. Sounds like a company in decline to me.
    • Actually, FTA it seems that Google's success may depend on part of ex-google employee's forming new startups (that depend on Google of course). Also, I think, as a company, Google has the major advantage of knowing very exactly what many people want being that its base is a very popular search engine. Hell, it seems they could survive a googol years [zorgloob.com] just selling search-query analysis.
  • Yeah, no... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by daBass (56811) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:59AM (#19281453)
    Google does one thing really well - search. Many of the ideas brewing are not a search replacement, they are either something completely different or an add-on to search.

    I am sure Google ignores many of the 20% ideas that are actually quite good, but I doubt the ones they ignore are the kind of things that make search better; that is the kind of thing these geniusses spent 80% of their week on, after all.
    • Re:Yeah, no... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Stocktonian (844758) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:48AM (#19281657) Homepage
      Why do yo think most of the ideas are not search related? I would have thought that if you live and breath search engines for 80% of your week, working on something else would probably be enjoyable but I'm sure you can't just switch it off like that.

      People used to say that Yahoo and AltaVista did search really well. Then Google came along and changed the game. If an ex-employee of google figures out a way to cut out all the spam rubbish on the search results then I'm sure almost everyone would switch overnight. It's that risk of 1 truly great idea being missed that should worry google investors. Internet search users are a fickle bunch and I'm sure they'd switch without a second thought which in turn would hit google's paid for advertising hard.
      • Re:Yeah, no... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jonwil (467024) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:41AM (#19281851)
        I find that google (at least for the stuff I search for) doesn't return a huge amount of crappy spam results and that the results I get back are usually usefull.
        But if someone can make a search engine that is better than google, great.

        Search engines have come along way since the days of engines like WebCrawler, InfoSeek, Yahoo, HotBot, AltaVista and DogPile (all search engines I have used in the past but now don't use in favor of google)

        • Wouldn't be that difficult to improve google search, just allow users to create filters to blacklist sites.

          for example swik is a site that pops up regularly in searches I make and never has any useful information.
          I have a friend that hates gettng wiki results i like them . ebay is another jumping into search results.
          retailers have a time and place in search results. when i am looking for drivers or technical info isn't one of them.

          for certain there are types of site which could be filtered in or out dependi
      • Re:Yeah, no... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Dogtanian (588974) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:03AM (#19281925) Homepage

        People used to say that Yahoo and AltaVista did search really well. Then Google came along and changed the game. If an ex-employee of google figures out a way to cut out all the spam rubbish on the search results then I'm sure almost everyone would switch overnight.
        That's true; what's significant about Google is that it entered the game relatively late. (By the time it started gaining its greatest prominence/popularity, the dot-com boom was pretty much over. It wouldn't be accurate to describe it as a post-dot-com company, but you can see where I'm coming from.)

        By this time Yahoo were well-established as the big name in search. One would have thought that the market would have matured to a point where a rival being able to overtake and dominate them like that was unlikely. Of course, computer and Internet use has grown since then, so maybe the market wasn't *that* mature. (By contrast, Altavista may have been one of the first big names when the Internet/Web broke into the public consciousness, but that was such early days that their loss of dominance isn't so significant.)
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by nernie (1050594)
        > If an ex-employee of google figures out a way to cut out all the
        > spam rubbish on the search results then I'm sure almost everyone
        > would switch overnight. It's that risk of 1 truly great idea being
        > missed that should worry google investors.

        I'm sorry, but this just isn't going to happen. Sure, PageRank was a great idea that changed the search engine game, but even an idea that revolutionary (in search engine terms) wouldn't be enough to topple Google. Search is a balance of having the right
        • I'm sorry, but this just isn't going to happen. Sure, PageRank was a great idea that changed the search engine game, but even an idea that revolutionary (in search engine terms) wouldn't be enough to topple Google. Search is a balance of having the right algorithms AND having the huge infrastructure needed to run the algorithms over most of the web.

          Huge infrastructure? Only if you if you cache the whole web (as Google does). You start from a dozen or so machines (as proof of concept, and as Google did) a

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Simon Garlick (104721)
      Google does one thing really well - present eyeballs to advertisers.

      HI I UPGRADED YOUR POST
    • Granted, most of Google's efforts are extension of search, but some of their efforts are branching out of search.

      See google checkout.

      http://checkout.google.com/sell?promo=sbs&utm_medi um=et&utm_source=bizsols&utm_campaign=checkout [google.com]
    • by fermion (181285)
      Google dies one thing really well-provide services in exchange for ads, while managing those services and ads to profitability. Therefore, an idea that does not drive ads is not useful at all.

      In this way the comparison with alta vista is extremely flawed. Alta Vista, unlike google, was primarily a search firm, and when google searches were of higher quality than Alta Vista, the fim failed. A more spt comparison would be Yahoo, which simply transformed itself itself into a portal. Indeed, google will no

    • by pipingguy (566974) *
      I liked Google's relatively quiet entrance into 3D CAD with Sketchup. The CAD world needs a shakeup, and if Google were to put some intellectual muscle into it (say, by further developing BRL-CAD for example) all the various vendors would have to start playing catch-up really fast. As it stands now, few of these vendors want to play nice with each other because they often have a lock-in on certain markets and file formats are never fully compatible.

      The one thing that CAD adoption did to design was to fra
  • by rm999 (775449) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:59AM (#19281455)
    "Cringely suggests looking no further than the thousands of entrepreneurial geniuses currently working for Google, who will inevitably be driven to leave the company to realize the dreams of their rejected ideas. "

    To destroy Google, someone would have to beat them at what they make their money on - search and ads. First off, 95% of the people in the company probably do not work in this division, and don't have the background and aren't surrounded by it enough to get ideas about it. The 5% who do probably could not start a company without running in trouble legally given all the Google trade secrets they are privy to.
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:39AM (#19281593) Journal
      First of all, Cringely is... Cringely. The same guy who recently claimed to know that IBM will fire 150000 US workers... out of 130000 total. Or then looked all wrong at a job search site and said IBM is looking to hire 15000 workers... just to fire them right back again. Never mind that a quick ask at IBM or a better look at those jobs (e.g., a job for a programmer on an IBM mainframe, isn't actually a job _at_ IBM) would have told him that they're only hiring 3000 people. He's also the author of such brilliant predictions as that Intel is buying Apple, when Apple switched to Core CPUs. Or the guy who years back predicted that people on the internet don't need more than webpages, email and chat, because someone at AOL told him that's what their users do. (Never mind that at the time AOL was offering such abysmal throughput and latency that it was unusable for anything else.) Etc, etc, etc.

      Cringely makes a good living talking out of the ass, so the sanest thing is to ignore him. Just because it was a slow enough day on Slashdot to let him get the front page, doesn't mean you have to take it as news. Have a good chuckle and move on.

      Second, well, there's more to Google than having the right idea. They also know how to _keep_ talented people working there, and how to invest in R&D done by talented people. Both are skills lost on todays "your job could be the next to go to India" and "let's fire some people to make Wall Street happy" PHBs.

      If you will, Google's _real_ secret sauce isn't even one of good engineering, it's one of good management. And that'll be hard to steal because most PHBs try to just pretend it doesn't exist. They're looking for something else that must be the secret, because, don't be silly, noone ever got rich by treating their employees right and offering customers what they want. So before they'd be able to steal it, they'd first have to acknowledge that it exists. It's like getting your car stolen by someone whose whole life revolves around pretending that cars don't exist. It's just not going to happen.

      Even if it were to get stolen, I'm not betting the big money on it being stolen by someone who currently is a R&D guy at google. From my experience, most nerds are not good managers, and don't do well when (self)promoted to management. It's simply different skills. It's like promoting a passionate pilot to be an archaeologist. Chances are his interest, experience, effort, etc, were spent on the former, not the latter.

      In fact, the absolute worst PHBs I've ever had to work with... were brilliant (ex)nerds. It's guys who once were able to code a whole OS via the front toggles on a mini, and come with brilliant algorithms that cut a one week batch job to a couple of hours job. (When most of your memory is on a magnetic tape or drum, such kinds of optimizations are actually very possible.) Then someone went and moved them to a job they don't understand and which gives them an ulcer: management.

      So if anyone did leave Google with a brilliant new idea... let's just say that for 99% of them, let's hope they can do it alone, because they won't be able to be good managers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It's like getting your car stolen by someone whose whole life revolves around pretending that cars don't exist.


        Great post, I would equate your car analogy to more along the lines of the Amish stealing your car, not to say that the Amish are as ignorant as the (majority, not all everywhere are bad) pointy hairs but it (Amish:Cars / Management:Customer Service and taking care of their people) is just something they don't believe.
        • by Moraelin (679338)
          Just as a quick clarification, I don't use the term "PHB" to mean any manager. I know good managers exist, I've worked with some, although they tend to be more present in small companies. Or stuck at the bottom of large companies. Kudos to them and they get the same respect I have for anyone else who does their job well. I only use "PHB" when I mean... well, someone who's horribly bad and/or inept at managing.

          Sometimes it's not even (just) incompetence, but, well, any other reason for not doing one's job. S
      • I don't know if I'd be that pessimistic about geeks (99% is high), but you are right that a lot of them don't have management skills, so they would have to make sure they have someone with management skills in their start-up. There are some pretty poignant examples, William Shockley was brilliant but he was an evil manager such that he drove away his talent shortly after he formed his own company. Thomas Edison had done some suppression of the talent that he's hired, and as such, Edison Labs died a prema
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by widman (1107617)
        And also he lies about his credentials. From comments somewhere else on this same article, I wish I knew this before.

        Stanford Says Cringely Never Completed Doctorate
        http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1 998/11/11/DD94762.DTL [sfgate.com]
    • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:31AM (#19281813)
      To destroy Google, someone would have to beat them at what they make their money on - search and ads.M

      That's not at all true. Google likely won't be destroyed by being out-Googled - they'll be destroyed by failing to anticipate a change in the computing landscape that someone else is positioned to take advantage of. That's the way evolution usually works. That's the way that Google is "beating" (displacing for relevancy and growth) Microsoft - not by competing head-on but by being better positioned for the times.

      Also at some point Google's core businesses, successful as they are now, will naturally stop growing. Online advertising will peak, or advertizing will shift to another venue (handhelds? Internet TV?) that Google fail to take advantage of. No business lasts forever. Without growth the stock P/E will collapse and the stock drop with it, employees will begin to leave, the forward momentum will be lost. Some new hot tech darling will emerge, not necessarily in Google's core business areas at all.
    • by GeorgeH (5469) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:09AM (#19282861) Homepage Journal

      To destroy Google, someone would have to beat them at what they make their money on - search and ads.
      That's sort of like saying that Google is destroying Microsoft by building a better desktop OS. Cringely is talking about something disruptive, either in terms of technology (rich web apps being good enough to replace some desktop apps) or business models (a software company making money through advertising).

      You don't beat the 800 lb. gorilla by being a 750 lb. gorilla, you beat it by building a gun.
      • by rm999 (775449)
        "That's sort of like saying that Google is destroying Microsoft by building a better desktop OS. "

        No, it's like saying Google isn't destroying Microsoft. All they did was block Microsoft from expanding more, but Microsoft is still a healthy company that is bigger than it was when Google was founded.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:11AM (#19281493)
    But first they need to fire 150,000 workers. It's not going to be pretty.
    • by pimpimpim (811140) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:04AM (#19281727)
      so, a factor 10 overestimated according to wikipedia (12.000). But as far as I know, Google is still going around hiring. I think that we as IT interested people should be glad that apparently it is possible to build a healthy company where innovative ideas that actually work are developed. Why should you want a company to go down if it's doing it's thing in a succesfull way. I am from Holland, and there someone who iis very sucessful is automatically an asshole in the public opinion. Well not if they 'Staid so normal'. I fear that cringely has gotten a severe case of this dutch disease...

      Anyway, I think he forgets two main points. one overlooked concern is size. Size is needed to create momentum: you can only sell a lot of ads of you have a lot of viewers, you can only buy the computing capacity and bandwith if you have a lot of revenue. If you as a google-like company do not manage to get the critical momentum. It is the same size that makes google inherently an 'evil' company. They have are so involved in your private life that they get a lot of potential power over you. Google tries to handle this power in one way or another, maybe you do not agree with many of their decisions, but what are their options, and is there one single correct way to handle this?

      Then there is second factor, quality: Remember, in the case of google, you have the choice to use it or not. There are at least a few alternatives for every application that they offer. But you CHOOSE to use google, because of the quality of the products. Apparently the designers behind google have a feeling for quality products that is outstanding. This is something to respect, it is not easy to make something technological easy. Just think about it, when was the last time you clicked the 'advanced' search button in google. They did an amazing job of opening the web in a way anyone can use. Imagine that they would work with regexes? Or via clickable boxes for every special option? No, the genius is in taking a complex problem, and presenting it in the most simple form understandable by humans. I for one, can not repeat this, can you? Can cringely? This is also where google can fail. Just this week I noticed that my terrible old pc has more and more problems with google every time. Google mail is getting pretty bloated with features in that it is very slow to load in my browser. As I said, to find the right balance between features and simpleness is an art, if they start really losing that, I will start useing something else pretty quickly.

  • flawed thinking (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petes_PoV (912422) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:13AM (#19281501)
    'The real money is in taking existing ideas and twisting the idea just far enough to make it work in a fantastic new way

    So that's what Microsoft did, huh?

    Maybe it's just a combination of pure dumb luck (being in the right marketplace at the right time) and the tenacity and money to keep going.

    New ideas are ten-a-penny. It's having the business acumen and vision to get them off the ground and make them profitable that's the real skill.

  • by jomas1 (696853) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:19AM (#19281519) Homepage
    Check out this old joelonsoftware.com piece on what good managers do for to get the most out of powerhouse developers:
    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/Development Abstraction.html [joelonsoftware.com]

    The most pertinent part of the article I've linked is:

    Management's primary responsibility to create the illusion that a software company can be run by writing code, because that's what programmers do. And while it would be great to have programmers who are also great at sales, graphic design, system administration, and cooking, it's unrealistic. Like teaching a pig to sing, it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.

    Microsoft does such a good job at creating this abstraction that Microsoft alumni have a notoriously hard time starting companies. They simply can't believe how much went on below decks and they have no idea how to reproduce it.


    Some of the perks that google gives its employees are quite devious. Why risk your money and time starting your own venture when you have it made at google?

    Why do you think that the most innovative and radical ideas come from unemployed hungry developers? Who has made a concerted effort to hire said hungry developers? That's who I'd bet on to hurt google's bottom line.
    • by David Off (101038)


      Having spent most of my 25 year IT career as an independent I think you could simply say that most permanent employees of any large business have no idea how to survive in the real world although many, especially those in management, think they could cut it. The secret is to have an idea and hook up with the people who can help you realize that idea outside of the mothership. The other big problem is that most permies never build up enough capital resources (most are in debt with car loans, mortgages etc) t
    • Check out this old joelonsoftware.com piece on what good managers do for to get the most out of powerhouse developers:

      http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/Development Abstraction.html [joelonsoftware.com]

      No, that's a geek/programmer fantasy on how a geek/programmer should be treated by his bosses. It only lacks a few belly dancers to become soft porn.

    • by grotgrot (451123)

      Why risk your money and time starting your own venture when you have it made at google?

      If Cringely had done even a tiny bit of research he would know about the Google Founders' Awards [wikipedia.org] where Google gives employees multi-million dollars for entrepreneurial achievement. Basically Google pays you almost what you would have got from an external venture, but without you having to leave the company.

  • by Rix (54095)

    'The real money is in taking existing ideas and twisting the idea just far enough to make it work in a fantastic new way. Think Google vs. AltaVista; Apple vs. all previously existing laptops and mp3 players; YouTube vs. all previously existing video sites, etc. In addition to ideas, you need creativity, resources, connections, and luck
    I suppose he would know, he seems to be making a living applying creativity and resources to journalistic integrity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Yeah, comparing Apple's 'Rise to Dominance' in the laptop market to Google's rise in the search market is like comparing Datsun's rise in the US market to Toyota's.
  • Bungee.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ekran (79740) * on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:27AM (#19281543) Homepage
    It is normal human perception of reality which makes us believe that everything that goes up, must come down. Still, with proper adaptive leadership I don't see why google should be around for the next (insert huge number here) years. Most companies downfall seems to be happening because their leaders can't adjust fast enough to the current market, just look at the American motor industry. Still, I don't see why we shouldn't need to search for things in the future, so the market will be there. And as is claimed, google has a lot of brainpower and even if a few of them leaves the company, it's not going to be the downfall of the company.
  • Google is EVIL (Score:2, Informative)

    by singhparul (1107427)
    Google is not a search engine company. It's an advertising company. Anything which generates content is purchased by google. They have made internet more junk and ofcourse useful. It is not safe to invest in google shares because they are in such a business where profit can be modified easily in different ways. I still remember that youtube deal. I saw a sudden surge in their stock prices. They declared a nice quarter report beating all expectations. In the end, they paid less number of shares to youtub
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dirtyhippie (259852) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:45AM (#19281643) Homepage
    Why do people continue to post Cringely's stuff, and how does it continue to get on Slashdot? He himself all but admitted that he is a troll!

    Oh, wait... I guess I just answered my own question.
    • by Bozdune (68800)
      Precisely. YOU try coming up with content that gets attention week after week. All these columnists are looking to differentiate themselves from the horde in order keep their jobs, so they pretty much have to say something trollish.

      Furthermore, although this has nothing to do with the above point, I don't even know "which" Cringely we're talking about anymore, or who is the "Cringley" behind "Cringely" when it isn't the original Cringely, who, all other criticisms aside, was at least amusing (as I recall)
    • Because it's a Saturday. There's no need to click on the link - we know Cringely's a troll - but he often says things that spark of an interesting discussion, even if they're only tangentially related to what he said.

      You don't come to Slashdot for the articles do you?

  • by sproketboy (608031) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:53AM (#19281681)
    I heard this same thing years ago about Microsoft. Yes, some smart employees left and created startups which were largely partnered with them. Same will be true for Google. I don't see any problem for Google here.
  • Google can't die! They're invincible! Right?

    I was mislead!

    /cries
  • I mean, ex employees setting up new web presences and such ?

    All google needs to do to make it a mutually beneficial thing is to enter cooperation with them.

    remember what has made google a major player - they introduced adsense, which has accepted any web presence, any small site as partners in contrast to msn's, yahoo's advertising concepts. this gave them the entire coverage of the web.

    same philosophy translated to the approach to ex employee run services would benefit google phenomenonally, as th
    • build new companies out of good ideas that don't quite fit into google by putting them together with VCs, buying a minority interest in the company and thereby keeping a share of the cashflow of any company that works out?

      Google does hire really smart people, and the percentage of things that work out from these people will probably be better than VCs are seeing now.

      This will also get them lots of bright entepreneurial types. As for losing critical employees, google's constantly hiring anyway, and goog
  • by freedom_india (780002) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:41AM (#19281849) Homepage Journal
    Google may morph slowly into a privacy eating gorilla and then after a single public-relations fiasco (it still has a lot of enemies), it may turn more mellow like IBM or Microsoft.
    But die ??? Nope.
    Cringley says rejected ideas consortium inc., would kill google.
    I agree some ideas may have been good, but rejected. But overwhelmingly, good ideas do get done, like Microsoft Office.
    MS Office is THE fastest office package ever, because it so damn easy to use (after 2000, no real changes i agree).
    Excel was being used in real battle support during the Iraq war (initial days).
    iPod vs. other MP3?? I aint think so. iPod has a 85% market share. The rest ALL brands are combined as a generic products MP3.
    So i can buy a Rio, HP, Zune, and all are MP3....
    What matters is Brand name...
    Google is fast becoming a verb, and once u become so generic, it is hard to remove your name from people's memory. U have a cash cow, if u know where to milk.
    Lets hope google keeps its focus on finding relevant information, and leave this office, etc., business to the experts.

     
    • iPod vs. other MP3?? I aint think so. iPod has a 85% market share. The rest ALL brands are combined as a generic products MP3.
      So i can buy a Rio, HP, Zune, and all are MP3....
      What matters is Brand name...


      That's what I thought too, until I played around with an iPod and iTunes. The reason iPods are the most popular is because of iTunes, because it's so simple yet powerful to use. With a conventional MP3 player you first rip a cd, compress it to MP3, tag them, organize them in folders/playlists in the way
  • C'mon folks, this is CRINGELY, for God's sake.

    I could just about understand why Slashdot gave his drivel exposure ten years ago because, frankly, there wasn't all that much tech news about and we were glad for what we could get.

    Now, however, his well-worn trick of shoddily stringing-together whatever buzzwords and companies are in vogue at a given moment is just patronising, manipulative and insulting to our collective intelligence. Others have been doing it so less clumsily for years now.

    Seriously,

  • A tutorial on how to write an article that gets Slashdotted:

    1. Take one or more very very popular companies:

    Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Disney, Google, Yahoo, YouTube, eBay...

    2. Write down few obvious statements of the companies you picked:

    Apple works alone and is driven on computers and consumer electronics that are realiable, simple, and shiny.

    Microsoft and Google are both a successful companies that are doing fine, and will be doing fine for a long time, if even for pure inertia and since everybody uses the
  • The real money is in taking existing ideas and twisting the idea just far enough to make it work in a fantastic new way.

    Yes, that's called progress and it's precisely what the patent (and copyright) systems were set up to foster. Given current trends in the area of "intellectual property" (the current hot market sector ... if you're a lawyer) the bigger question is whether or not America's best and brightest will be allowed to take an existing idea and do anything with it. We're locking down ideas (good
  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:29AM (#19282611) Homepage
    Free markets are not zero sum games. If we enter a lottery, somebody walks away with the pot and everybody else loses. With trade in a free market, everyone who participates comes away a winner. So if Google employees come up with some new company, that doesn't mean that Google is harmed in any way.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by apathy maybe (922212)
      Can I be the first to say "BULLSHIT!"?

      Assume a closed system (take the Earth for example...), implement a "free market" economic system (arguments about whether or not it is truly free are irrelevant). This closed system is owned in this economic system (that is, there are no parts that are not owned by somebody or some organisation, who might be a government).

      Now you say that a person can win simply by being a part? The more likely outcome is that through bad decisions, bad laws or whatever else, that the
      • We're getting a little off topic, but I'll bite anyway.

        First, to avoid ambiguity, let me precisely define the phrase that I will use. When I speak of a win-win situation, I mean a situation in which all human parties affected subjectively determine that they have benefited from it.

        Assume a closed system (take the Earth for example...), implement a "free market" economic system (arguments about whether or not it is truly free are irrelevant). This closed system is owned in this economic system (that is,

  • Is from a potential employee that was rejected by Google's interview progress. From what I have heard the interview process is pretty condescending. Anyone here interview with Google to confirm that? I could see someone who is rejected starting their own thing, which becomes the next thing.
  • by Aging_Newbie (16932) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:22AM (#19282937)
    The reasoning in this article is badly flawed. While nobody knows, or if they know, can't say what is in agreements, policies, and procedures within Google, one thing we can assume is that Google is not stupid. Their ideas have to be protected, developed or not. They were smart -- rather than have undocumented ideas developed in spare time, Google made it part of the job. So, there have to be the documents that describe the ideas for, if nothing else, the review that selects the best. Why should Google throw away those documents? -- they don't throw away my email.

    So, my bet is that Google is or will become a resume stain for anybody who was in a development role there. Venture capitalists will be unsure whether Google would come down on them if they developed the idea. Why go with that risk when there are plenty of other ideas clamoring for support? If somebody does pitch and develop an idea, Google can sue them and there are no pockets deeper than their's. If you carry it farther, how would one prove that the idea didn't originate from Google, since obviously you can't appeal to them for proof. So, I think Google is safe and probably they have better control of their IP than most any other company.

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:34AM (#19282989) Homepage Journal
    While I don't personally believe that Google is getting dethroned anytime soon, keep in mind that it has happened before. Back in the 1970's, all the Really Smart People (tm) in Silicon Valley worked for the mighty giant known as Fairchild Semiconductor. A few of them jumped ship to go work on their own, on this crazy idea they had to put an entire central processing unit on a single chip.

    They put together a little startup called Intel.
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @12:56PM (#19283615) Homepage

    It's "Cringeley", so don't take it too seriously, but...

    Google has a fundamental problem. It became successful as a search company that ran a few ads to defray expenses. Now it's an ad agency that offers services to build ad traffic. This limits them.

    How? You can do a better job at search if you don't have to suck up to the pay per click advertisers. Just throwing out most sites with pay per click ads is a good start. But Google can't do that - that's where the revenue to support their bloated operation (been to Shoreline lately?) comes from.

    Google seemed to undergo a big change starting about two years ago. That's when they first started cozying up to the "search engine optimization" people. Google used to view "search engine optimization" as evil. Now they are the major sponsor of SEO conferences. [searchengi...tegies.com] And, of course, they bought DoubleClick, an advertising company so obnoxious that most Firefox users blocked their ads long ago.

    Consider Craigslist, which is rapidly destroying newspaper classified advertising. Craigslist has an edge - they're cheap. They only have fifty or so employees, and the owner has no ambitions to become a Fortune 1000 company. This drives their competitors nuts, because they aren't annoying their customer base with ads and nobody can afford to compete with them. They're devaluing ad-supported media.

  • Google is probably going to follow VA Research. VA Research once had the largest IPO in history. They were the IT company, mentioned every 2 seconds on CNN. Put VA Research on your resume and you had unlimited job offers. Celebrity programmers could drive to Calif* cold and be guaranteed a job at VA Research. They were reinventing the software world.

    VA Research was going to make all the world's software released under GPL licenses and be financed by selling web servers, just as Google is going to make
  • Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @04:01PM (#19284927)

    Apple vs. all previously existing laptops


    Apple's notebooks are currently in 5th place, behind HP, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, and Gateway.

    Apple's notebooks constantly lag behind in feature set and performance. Consider:
    • PC notebooks from HP, Dell, Sony, and Lenovo have been available with integrated WWAN (CDMA 1xEV-DO or UMTS/EDGE) for over a year now
    • PC notebooks commonly have fingerprint readers, smartcard readers, and other authentication methods
    • Most PC notebooks have media card readers - at least SD and possibly other formats (my notebook has SD and Memory Stick)
    • Newer PC notebooks are available with hardware encryption on their hard drives
    • Intel TurboCache. Increases disk performance with 1GB of flash memory right on the PCIe bus
    • Auxiliary displays (SideShow)
    • TrackPoint (eraser mouse)
    • Docking stations
    • Integrated Wacom digitizer (tablet PC)


    Whether or not you think these features are useful, many, many people do. I use the media reader on my notebook all the time, and I don't have to bring around a USB or ExpressCard reader. I dock my other (business) laptop daily at work, hooking me up to power, USB (keyboard/mouse), DVI, audio (headphones), and the network in one step.

    Not to mention the features that Apple now has, but was just late with. Sudden motion sensor (ThinkPad had it first). Camera (Sony notebooks, HP notebooks, my cheap 2-year-old generic Compal notebook). Multi-finger scroll (Alps drivers circa 1998). Lighted keyboard (ThinkLight). Remote control (Dell/HP notebooks circa 2003).

    The list goes on. I'm not saying that Apple doesn't innovate. MagSafe is a very cool idea (although there doesn't seem to be sufficient stress relief on the cable). But there is plenty of innovation in the notebook space, coming from many different companies in many different parts of the world.

    You know what? The ThinkPad T61 looks like crap compared to the 15" MacBook Pro. But it's faster (800MHz FSB, Turbo cache, NVIDIA Quadro graphics), beefier (magnesium protection for the screen, shock mounted HDD cage), has better battery life (5 hours with the 7-cell battery), lighter (about half a pound lighter with the 7-cell), cooler and quieter, smaller, easier to secure (smartcard reader / fingerprint scanner, full drive encryption), and much, much cheaper (2.2GHz/1GB/DVD-RW/120GB/WSXGA+/NVIDIA/11n/Bluetoo th/7-cell = $1440, $560 cheaper than the base MacBook pro).

    Winning indeed.
    • by dangitman (862676)

      Apple's notebooks are currently in 5th place, behind HP, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, and Gateway. Apple's notebooks constantly lag behind in feature set and performance.

      You obviously lack reading comprehension. TFA was not talking about current Apple laptops - it was talking about the first Apple laptops. You know, the ones which defined the form-factor of modern laptops? That's why it mentions all previous laptops.

      Remember before Apple's first Powerbooks came along? They had crap like trackballs which would hang off the side of the laptop and be stored separately - or no pointer input device at all. Apple put the trackball in front of the keyboard, and used the area to

  • Basically he's saying "no company lives forever."

    In other words: "Duh!"

    Also, his counts on the number of possible projects Google could pursue under their employee development plan was dismissed immediately by people who know how large corporations pursue ideas.

    However, I'd like to see him apply the same logic to Microsoft, since obviously the same thing applies - except of course that Microsoft hires "brilliant morons" who can't code, can't design, can't do usability or security, and are willing slaves to
  • Netcraft confirms: Google is dying .

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