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GQ on Google's Road to Riches 104

prostoalex writes "John Heilemann writes the untold story of Google IPO in GQ magazine (out of all tech publications out there). It's a story about Google founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google CEO Eric Scmidt and Silicon Valley venture capitalists that guided Google in the startup phase to take it public later. The article answers many questions that readers perhaps had about Google. Why go IPO when your earnings are just fine? How much power do Sergey and Larry have inside the company? What's the reason for so much secrecy? One interesting episode describes an engineer squatting CEO's office seeking solutide from the noise surrounding him in the cube area."
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GQ on Google's Road to Riches

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  • IPO (Score:5, Funny)

    by eserteric ( 442678 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:21AM (#11793931)
    "Why go IPO when your earnings are just fine?"

    It'll be interesting to see them answer this without saying "because it made us an assload of money."
    • Re:IPO (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LinuxGeek ( 6139 ) <djand.nc@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:30AM (#11793967)
      It generally helps a fast growing company to switch from private to public ownership. There are more regulatory hoops to jump through, but the business process opens up. Since Google was already keenly in the public eye, this move did indeed help the company seem more transparent.

      It also gave the millions of google users a chance to profit from the company they indirectly helped to build. As the company continues to grow, so can their portfolios. Plus, making the creators of the company some cash ain't all that bad.

      • It generally helps a fast growing company to switch from private to public ownership. There are more regulatory hoops to jump through, but the business process opens up. Since Google was already keenly in the public eye, this move did indeed help the company seem more transparent. And don't forget that the owners made a ridiculous amount of money.
      • Re:IPO (Score:2, Insightful)

        by coolcold ( 805170 )
        but that is just in the short term
        in the long term, however, they have more constrains on decision which "might" make them "evil" since now they have to worry about market shares and stuff
      • Insightful???? (Score:5, Informative)

        by jmichaelg ( 148257 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @12:32PM (#11794794) Journal
        They didn't go public for either of your reasons. The founders wanted to remain a private company so they didn't have to disclose what they were thinking or doing. Having taken more than $25 million from investors, their hand was forced.

        Had you read the fine article, you would have read this:

        But the end of Google's adolescence wasn't optional. The boys had obligations to their investors and underlings. Doerr and Moritz, both sitting on funds that had been hammered by the collapse of the bubble, were keen to cash in their Google chips, while employees who'd been slaving for years were eager for a payday that would put rental housing behind them. On top of that, there was an SEC rule that would require Google (due to the number of shares it had given out) to start publishing its financials in April 2004. Public or private, the veil of fiscal secrecy was about to be lifted.
        • I certainly did read the article, and you are trying to put words in my mouth. You use "they" as Larry and Sergey, I made no such distinction and didn't even intimate that perspective.

          My text:

          It generally helps a fast growing company to switch from private to public ownership. There are more regulatory hoops to jump through, but the business process opens up. Since Google was already keenly in the public eye, this move did indeed help the company seem more transparent.

          It also gave the millions of google

    • Re:IPO (Score:2, Informative)

      by aapold ( 753705 )
      Because it makes a relatively decent assload of money for your employees that have been with you making this happen.
    • I don 't care how much $$$ they rake in. Just keep the Scarlett Johansson cover spreads coming. How can you not like/lust for a beautiful gal that said @ 19 that she wouldn't date anyone under 30. She had me at "Lost in Traslation". 'Ghost World" for the enthused.
    • They went public because corporate law requires if you have over 500(?) shareholders and a corporate value of more than 10 million you must file your quarterly/annual reports with the SEC and make them publicly available.

      Since you cannot convince those other stockholders over the base amount to sell back to the company, you might as well go public and get a shitload of cash anyway.

      The only thing I don't understand is when a person makes over a billion dollars why the hell they don't retire. I don't mean q
  • squatting (Score:2, Funny)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 )
    Yeah... there are days that I wish I could squat my ceo's car... in protest of... umm... not owning one?
  • I've always wondered (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nsasch ( 827844 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:28AM (#11793958)
    why the salaries of the amazing engineers at Google aren't too high, even after the IPO.
    • by igrp ( 732252 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:50AM (#11794030)
      Well, I don't work at Google and, frankly, have no idea what they pay their engineers so I can only speculate.

      I imagine it has to do with three things though:

      • Options. I remember reading an article during the bubble about millionaire secretaries at Microsoft. Basically, they choose stock options over Christmas bonuses. So, those stock options might actually be worth a lot more than their salaries.
      • Benefits. The folks at Google pride themselves in making work indistinguishable from fun. Work is play. And if you really think about it: would you rather make $95k a year and wake up every single morning to go to a job you hate or make $75k (again, I have no idea how much Google pays their engineers) and do something you really enjoy. Personally, I'd rather have fun and enjoy my life, even if it means making less money.

        Also, there's a lot of other stuff like good health insurance, vacation time, a good work environment, etc.

      • Location. IIRC, the salary you get at Google isn't just based on what you do and how well you do it, but also on where you do it. Remember the story about the Google facility they were building in rural OR. $70k in the Pacific NW goes a long way - at least compared to $70k in South Cali.
      • would you rather make $95k a year and wake up every single morning to go to a job you hate or make $75k (again, I have no idea how much Google pays their engineers) and do something you really enjoy. $95k vs. $75k. (for example) makes the difference of just $10k after you take into account the taxes and the difference in rent.
      • by bleckywelcky ( 518520 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @03:49PM (#11796091)
        The first and primary location of Google is in Mountain View, CA. This is near Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Atherton, Menlo Park, etc ... these names sound familiar? Well maybe not if you don't pay attention to the real estate market much. But if you do, you'll know that an empty 1/4 acre lot in those areas can easily go for $0.5 million. A 1500 ft^2 bland house on a lot with minor mechanical/structural problems will go for $1.0 million easily. It is one of the most expensive places to live in the entire country. In fact it's so expensive to live there that nearly 80% of the residential property in the area is rental property. Still, a 4 or 5 bedroom dorm-style house will fetch $450 to $600 per room; people stand to make more money buying a house and renting it there (and then living somewhere else) than they do just living in the area. And even at these prices property moves at light speed! I've seen cases where a homeowner lists a 2000 ft^2 house on a 1/4 lot for $1.2 million or $1.3 million and it's gone within 3 or 4 days. The market is crazy out there.
      • Location. IIRC, the salary you get at Google isn't just based on what you do and how well you do it, but also on where you do it. Remember the story about the Google facility they were building in rural OR. $70k in the Pacific NW goes a long way - at least compared to $70k in South Cali.

        I think you'd have to pay me more to live in rural OR.

        -a
      • I do work at Google, and you're dead right. My options and bonuses add quite a nice multiplier onto my salary. Add to that how much I'm saving on (damn good) food and just plain how good it is to work there . . .

        Who needs salary? I've got more important things.

        Incidentally, those people saying "omg housing = $$$" are, technically, right. If you want to get a house dead-center in Palo Alto, Mountain View, or SF, you're going to be forking over crazy cash. On the other hand if you don't mind a bit of a comm
        • I do work at Google, and you're dead right. My options and bonuses add quite a nice multiplier onto my salary. Add to that how much I'm saving on (damn good) food and just plain how good it is to work there . . .

          Who needs salary? I've got more important things.

          Who needs salary? If you aren't living frugally, you'll find out. Come back and answer that when you've lost your job... And have little or no savings. Or in forty odd years when you get ready to retire... But find you need to work as a greeter

          • Who needs salary when you're making a massive amount off options and bonuses?

            I'm capping my 401(k) *and* my allowed IRA contributions every year. And that's without even dipping into the options.

            I didn't say "who needs money". I said "who needs salary".
      • On the Oregon campus being built: the expected average salary of the Google employees in rural Oregon is roughly 2x the average pay of the rest of the area.

        In Oregon, $250,000- $350,000 can buy you an extremely nice house, with land. Money goes a long way in Oregon compared to million dollar estates in California that are bought solely for the land and location.
    • How did you know that? And how much are you talking? I saw no information about google salaries before, not even approximations. Plus google made around a 1000 millionaires after the IPO, joining a startup with great potential could always attract smart people with an eye for long-term gains. And of course now after the IPO and all the buzz, thousands of people would work for them even for free! When you join a large reputable company like google or MS you're not only making money, you're making experience
      • I don't know the source of the information for it, but http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/19/202024 8 [slashdot.org] says the average salary of a Google employee is $60,000. And, I know that personally, I'd sacrifice the higher salary in exchange for the honor of working for Google, but I'd never want to leave the place, so I'd never have the need to put it down on a resume.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          but I'd never want to leave the place, so I'd never have the need to put it down on a resume

          This sort of stuff is frightening.

          Google is not the second coming (if you're Christian). It's a search engine company with a very clever business plan. For all the oohing about Google's technology, their greatest impact is because of brilliant, MBA-directed market entrants, putting effort and money in a place where people didn't think money could be made.

          Secondly, for all you know Google will be a terrible soul-d [rbc.com]
        • I don't know but I say $60,000 seems a bit low, maybe they were counting the office boys and janitors salaries in those :)
          And regarding "never wanting to leave" although I agree it's one of the best places to be right now, you never know, 10 years from now noone knows where google could be, just like an AC just mentioned. So you need to keep that CV after all.
  • Bullet points (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tehshen ( 794722 ) <tehshen@gmail.com> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:41AM (#11794004)
    "Journey to the (Revoltionary, Evil-Hating, Cash-Crazy, and Possibly Self-Destructive) Center of Google" quoth the article headline.

    Revol(u)tionary? Well, the original Google was just a very slender search engine. Nothing revolutionary, just a basic idea that people liked.

    Evil-Hating? If you search for "Do no evil [google.com]" you get their philosophy page. As the article states, "Evil is what Sergey says is evil", and I think they know how not to piss off their users.

    Cash-Crazy? They have to be cash-crazy; they're a company, and as a company making money is their only aim. Being happy and good just seem to be side-effects for Google.

    The only interesting one is "Possibly self-destructive". Skimming the article, I don't think this is what they are really saying - it says that Google has become so big that Microsoft cannot cut off their air supply à la Netscape, and the only thing that could ever possibly stop them is themselves. And by the looks of things, that does not look likely to happen any time soon.

    TFA is interesting, and is quite good to read if you have the time (very long) but I was not really sure what it was getting at.
    • Re:Bullet points (Score:3, Interesting)

      by game kid ( 805301 )

      Revol(u)tionary? Well, the original Google was just a very slender search engine. Nothing revolutionary, just a basic idea that people liked.

      I think in a network filled with porn, spam and viruses, anything that's streamlined and that people like on the Internet is revolutionary.

      Cash-Crazy? They have to be cash-crazy; they're a company, and as a company making money is their only aim. Being happy and good just seem to be side-effects for Google.

      Exactly. You need that kind of money IMO to compete w

    • You may take it for granted, but Google's Pagerank system [wikipedia.org] is what made their search engine revolutionary. It's what made their engine able to cut through the spam and deliver relevant results to the users. The slender interface you make reference to is just part of the Google way of doing things and isn't what TFA was talking about. It's really Pagerank that made them who they are today.
  • Who don't wan't a bank account filled with a lot of money that can realize that dreams that simple people can't.
  • Why IPO? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quixote ( 154172 ) * on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:43AM (#11794017) Homepage Journal
    Why go IPO when your earnings are just fine?

    There can be multiple reasons.

    • Your investors want their 10x (or whatever factor the VCs expect) money back. VCs expect a huge multiple return on their initial investment, not just their money back. Remember that only 1/10 VC-funded companies are successful; therefore, on average, a VC expects 10x from whichever company does succeed.
    • Your initial employees, whose sweat went into the company in the early stages, now want a big payoff; the IPO does that.
    • You want to grow your company fast and need a large chunk of cash (this was the traditional reason for IPOs). This cash can be used for acquisitions, equipment (huge data center near Portland [slashdot.org]?), etc.
    The IPO is not for operating expenses, which would appear to be the thinking behind the question.

    ---
    Does MSN censor search results? [buffalo.edu]

    • Re:Why IPO? (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, VCs typically look for a 3x-5x return on their investments.

      If they took 10x out there would be nothing left to fund war chests, pay employee options, etc. In addition, they usually still have a very high stake in the continued health of the company post-IPO, so it wouldn't do them any good suck the firm dry.

      3x alone will pay for the 9/10 ideas that fail, and 5x is just cheese.
      • 3x alone will pay for the 9/10 ideas that fail, and 5x is just cheese.

        How come? Suppose you invest $1MM each in 10 companies. 9 of them fail; your loss is $9MM. If you make 3x on your $1MM that succeeded, your gain ($3MM) would not cover your $9MM loss now, would it?

        --
        Does MSN censor search results? [buffalo.edu]

  • by googisgod ( 855166 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:46AM (#11794023)
    http://www.fuckedgoogle..com/ [fuckedgoogle..com]

    This article is nothing but a fluff piece. No new information at all, except perhaps the bit about the poached eggs at the Nasdaq launch.

    And to think the entire empire was based on one simple fact: if you make the ads appear to be contextual and related to the rest of a page, a large majority of users (over 80%) will not recognize they're even looking at ads, and thus will be more likely to click.

    That's the fundamental genius of Google. They've fooled most of their users. Btw if you don't believe the part about most users being unable to recognize text ads, here's the story about it from the BBC:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4201343.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    • http://www.fuckedgoogle.com/ [fuckedgoogle.com]

      would be the correct link. :-)

    • That's the fundamental genius of Google. They've fooled most of their users.

      As far as I can see, the text ads appear on the right of the page, under the title "Sponsored Links", and the search results on the left. Honestly, I'm not sure what Google more could do to distinguish text ads from the search results.

      If users cannot distinguish between the left and the right, the problem lies between the chair and the keyboard, and not with Google
    • You know, if the ads are so well targeted that they read like extensions of the article or website that I was actually looking for, I will be happy to give those ads consideration.

      I only dislike ads when they promote things I have no interest in. Slashdot's banner ads, for example, often interest me and do not seem intrusive.

      That said, I love those Microsoft 'Get the Facts' ads :)

    • I think most people can tell the difference between ads and search results on google. My wife drives me crazy with how non-computer literate she can be, but she can tell the difference between ads and content, even on google where they are subtle. I think the real reason that google is so successful with users is that they do a really good job, both with their search results and their sponsored content.
    • That article is a bit light on details like the actual questions used. It also suggests that not just Google was covered. Can I tell what is an ad on Yahoo or MSN ? Hell, no.

      I'm no Google fanboy, but I think their success is in part due to making it clear what are ads and what aren't, and making those ads things the searcher is likely to want to see.
      • You got it. I think this guy is thinking of the Overture ads that run on Yahoo and MSN that are almost EXACTLY like the search resutls except with a little teeny bit of gray text thats says "sponsored links" and a header rule seperating them from the rest of the results.

        And why Google is doing better? For the exact reasons you described-- they made it clear what are ads and what are not (earning trust from it's users) and made those ads relevant to the searcher (earning loyalty from it's users).

        I think th
    • And to think the entire empire was based on one simple fact: if you make the ads appear to be contextual and related to the rest of a page, a large majority of users (over 80%) will not recognize they're even looking at ads, and thus will be more likely to click.

      That's the fundamental genius of Google. They've fooled most of their users. Btw if you don't believe the part about most users being unable to recognize text ads, here's the story about it from the BBC:

      That's an interesting claim. The problem

    • And your user name is "GOOG is god"?
  • Google phenomenon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shrapnull ( 780217 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:47AM (#11794027)
    Surely, Google is entitled to some attention for entering the game late, innovating, and then succeeding. Pick up a copy of this month's Wired magazine and see how Yahoo stacks up. Certainly, Google is the darling of the computer saavy, but they still have lower viewship and less profit then the Stanford project turned internet gold. I use Google, and in fact, use many of their beta programs (which seem to stay in beta for years), but Yahoo has the "computer as a tool" market for those that don't follow the latest meme. Impressive start, yes, useful features, definitely, but Google is still not number one despite all the free publicity it gets on a daily basis.
    • The market gives a larger capitalization to Google, 51 to 44 billion (on 3.2 and 3.6 billion in revenue respectively), because Google's margins are much larger, even if they reach half as many daily users. Most of Yahoo's pageviews come from their news, finance, and mail sections, with their directory and search engine much less popular. Google redirects stock quotes to finance.yahoo.com right now, and their default "top stories" news interface is the same as it was a couple years ago. Gmail is still inv
  • "Why so much secrecy?"

    Um, out on a limb here but-
    It's better to keep trade secrets than give them away. Then they are not secrets.
    • It's better to keep trade secrets than give them away. Then they are not secrets.

      Nice tautology. Perhaps it would be better to explain what trade secrets are good for, like:
      Withholding information about what you do makes it harder for competitors to emulate you.
    • Of course Google has its trade secrets, like the precise algorithms used to arrange the search results. But they're a public company now, and even their investors are wondering: what's coming next? Gmail, Google Maps, Google SMS Search, they've all sorta been sprung "out of the blue" ... with other companies, we have a much better idea on what they're working on, but Google goes out of its way to surprise us. Now, for +5 karma: is that a good thing or bad thing?
  • by jomagam ( 512625 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:02AM (#11794075)
    They want an exit strategy. After having their money tied down in Google gor years they want to realize their nice gains and invest in new companies. Staying private would've supplied VC-s with a nice flow of cash, but that's just not their business model.
  • by null etc. ( 524767 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:36AM (#11794319)
    One interesting episode describes an engineer squatting CEO's office seeking solutide from the noise surrounding him in the cube area.

    Say that fast five times in a row.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:37AM (#11794325)
    Everybody who read the WHOLE article... raise your hands...
  • by GaryOlson ( 737642 ) <slashdot.garyolson@org> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:53AM (#11794442) Journal
    This article exemplifies a few life lessons all engineers should heed:

    Wall street is the manic-depressive bitch public companies are married to: unlimited praise when you do right, kicks you hard when you are down, and takes cheap shots when you can't defend yourself

    When you have what everyone wants, you can rewrite the rules and change the way business is built. But you still have to put on the funny hats and dance at the party according to the customs.

    Jounalists always talk out of both sides of their face. The paragraph at the end is just a free open ticket for the journalist to write another article later about the failures of Google.

    Nothing matters more than the right people with the right ideas and the will to execute those ideas.

  • Google Spaceship? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sundroid ( 777083 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @12:16PM (#11794648) Homepage
    The myth of "Google Boys of Company G" continues. The GQ article manages to talk to everybody but the boys, which tells you how Page and Brin know the art of "Robert Redford PR Strategy" -- clam up and keep everyone guessing. My take is that Google's success, so far, has one fundamental basis -- the products it offers are free and, by and large, not sources of headaches, as opposed to the products of often-compared Microsoft which cost consumers money and much grief (horrible security, to name one). Google and Microsoft get roasted frequently in this space, but one notices that only the latter receives genuine wrath -- many Slashdotters are so mad at Microsoft that they simply switch to Linux or Firefox, but I bet only a few would ditch Google altogether. Eric Schmidt, the "playground supervisor" of Google, shines in this piece. I got a kick out of reading that Schmidt stopped the boys from going into low-cost space launchings and banning telephones in a new building. On the other hand, what's wrong with "Google Spaceship"?
  • But if the history of the technology industry teaches us anything, it's that no one is ever that lucky--at least, not for long. Every important high-tech company has at some point stumbled and fallen on its face. Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, Sun, Apple, Cisco--all have made severe mistakes, paid a price, and then survived in large part because they understood what being a public company is about. They learned that Wall Street matters. That investors like transparency. That "trust us" isn't enough. When crisis
  • What seems obvious to me is that Larry and Sergey are geeks at heart, not businessmen. The fact that they are young may not be the point. There's a lot for a company to gain by being geek-friendly (ask Microsoft). Yahoo, really, is cooler, MSN is richer (and has the OS advantage). Google will probably maintain their current status as an established Internet company, but I don't think they are a future Microsoft. There is nothing left to disrupt :-P
  • Or does this article look hideous in firefox? (runs off into the background so its unreadable)
  • A funny but true fact is that he met all of their requirements (PHD, experience, laid back, etc.) but had also gone to Burning Man. The felt that any 'suit' who had gone to and loved Burning Man would understand and respect their unorthodox approaches to various aspects of running and growing the business.
  • Doerr is smart (Score:4, Informative)

    by danila ( 69889 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @03:51PM (#11796107) Homepage
    I am sure that Larry and Sergey are smart fellas. But they don't know everything. Nobody does. John Doerr is a very smart guy and when he says something about how a business should be ran, smart people listen, I bet even Bill Gates does.

    Doerr also has many stories when genius inventors completely fucked up their companies based around revolutionary inventions. Segway flopped primarily because Dean Kamen ignored everything that Doerr said. And that included Kamen's obstinate desire to micromanage everything and to prevent the CEO from doing his job. In its short history Segway has already lost 3 CEOs, two presidents and three top marketing execs!

    CEOs are people who run businesses. If your company has several thousand people working for it and is worth a few billions dollars, you need a CEO, and you need to give him the authority to do things. Otherwise you will fail.

    If Larry and Sergey do not grow wiser, the company will fail, PageRank or not. You can't build a business on technical ideas alone.

    Note: Yes, I know that there are lame overpaid CEOs. And hiring a CEO doesn't necessarily mean changing the corporate culture.
  • by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @04:11PM (#11796270)
    I found the whole tone of the article a lot of nonsense, especially with regard to the relationships around control and money.

    Part of the title of this article is "Will Larry and Sergey ever grow up?" If one reads the article "growing up" according to the author of the piece means handing control of the company from the people working at the company over to people who don't work at the company, and whose main long-term interest is expropriating profit (dividends) from the wealth created by the people who work at the company. So let's impose that idea on all companies and society: immaturity is when workers have control over their own work, maturity is when control of the workers work is handed over to people concerned with expropriating dividends for themselves from said worker.

    One sentence of the article says "Corporate-governance mavens pilloried the dual-share structure, which seemed starkly at odds with the populist tone of Larry's letter." Thus populism is not control of the company being in the hands of those who work at it, but being in the hands of the controlling investors. Controlling investors being a group in the US who, according to the Federal Reserve's SCF reports, is totally within the richest 1% of Americans. "Populism" is when control is in the hands of the richest 1% of Americans, who, like Paris Hilton and the Hiltons of the Hilton Hotels Corporation, do not have to work at said company, or have to work period. They just get hefty dividend checks due to what I assume would be their "maturity".

    "When crisis eventually comes to Google-- and it will--the company's fate will depend on whether they have absorbed a handful of lessons that apply as much to life as they do to business: Adulthood happens. You can't make all your own rules." The tone of this whole article is numbing. Don't rock the boat. Give control over your company, your work and your life over to rich people so they can start demanding you hand over large piles of wealth you create to them. And so on and so forth. This whole thing is a depressing load of bullshit.

  • Excellent article (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AtomicJake ( 795218 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @05:51PM (#11797247)
    It's an excellent article, except that it always calls the Google founders "boys" - actually they are probably the mosty clever and smart founders since long.

    It's interesting to read that even those smart founders had to accept an external CEO - pushed in by anxious venture capitalists. Nevertheless, it's good to see that they managed to stay in control; what is expressed as "pet CEO" in the article.

    Personally, I think that firms that are lead by a small group are mostly always better managed than those who have an UberCEO. Wish that Google stays that way.

    And, most of all, I wish that venture capitalists will accept that founders need to stay in control - not necessarily in the daily operations (CEO), but at least in the kind of decision group such as at Google. Unfortunately, I am not too confident about this.
  • It seems that the new version of the Google toolbar is evil [theinquirer.net], featuring "Autolink" [google-watch.org], basically the same as M$'s uproar-causing page-modifying "Smart Tags" [com.com] that thankfully got dropped.

    (Although I still see fit to put <meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="true" /> in the head of every site I build, thanks to that nasty scheme, just in case they ever change their minds.)

    Anyway, if true, this is a real bitch to website owners. I really hope Google haven'

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