July 24, 2004
@ 08:51 PM

In the past couple of months Google has hired four people who used to work on Internet Explorer in various capacities [especially its XML support] who then moved to BEA; David Bau, Rod Chavez, Gary Burd and most recently Adam Bosworth. A number of my coworkers used to work with these guys since our team, the Microsoft XML team, was once part of the Internet Explorer team. It's been interesting chatting in the hallways with folks contemplating what Google would want to build that requires folks with a background in building XML data access technologies both on the client side, Internet Explorer and on the server, BEA's WebLogic.

Another interesting recent Google hire is Joshua Bloch. He is probably the most visible guy working on the Java language at Sun behind James Gosling. Based on recent interviews with Joshua Bloch about Java his most recent endeavors involved adding new features to the language that mimic those in C#.

While chomping on some cheap sushi at Sushi Land yesterday some friends and I wondered what Google could be planning next. So far, the software industry including my employer has been playing catchup with Google and reacting to their moves. According to news reports MSN is trying to catch up to Google search and Hotmail ups their free storage limit to compete with GMail. However this is all reactive and we still haven't seen significant competition to Google News, Google Image Search, Google Groups or even to a lesser extent Orkut and Blogger. By the time the major online networks like AOL, MSN or Yahoo! can provide decent alternatives to this media empire Google will have produced their next major addition.

So far Google doesn't seem to have stitched all its pieces into a coherent media empire as competitors like Yahoo! have done but this seems like it will only be a matter of time. What is of more interest to the geek in me is what Google could build next that could tie it all together. As Rich Skrenta wrote in his post the Secret Source of Google's Power

Google is a company that has built a single very large, custom computer. It's running their own cluster operating system. They make their big computer even bigger and faster each month, while lowering the cost of CPU cycles. It's looking more like a general purpose platform than a cluster optimized for a single application.

While competitors are targeting the individual applications Google has deployed, Google is building a massive, general purpose computing platform for web-scale programming.

A friend of mine, Justin, had an interesting idea at dinner yesterday. What if Google ends up building the network computer? They can give users the storage space and reliability to run place all their data online. They can mimic the major desktop applications users interact with daily by using Web technologies. This sounds far fetched but then again, I'd have never imagined I'd see a free email service that gave 1GB of free email.

Although I think Justin's idea is outlandish but suspect the truth isn't much further from that.

Update: It seems Google also picked up another Java language guy from Sun. Neal Gafter who worked on various Java compiler tools including javac, javadoc and javap. Curiouser and curiouser.


Monday, July 26, 2004 8:46:12 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Very interesting. I'll be watching this space.
Monday, July 26, 2004 10:05:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I bet they are building a web browser.
G Mladenov
Wednesday, July 28, 2004 6:01:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
My take on it:

Friday, July 30, 2004 8:10:03 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Google is building a foundation. The applications people are trying to copy are the temporary things Google is fronting to make money while building that foundation.

In essence, Google is building methods for automatically organizing information. All the things users see now, the search, the mail, the news, are just offshoots of that. Anyone who truly wants to compete with google is going to have to look beyond the particular applications and look to that core.

It is really the "network computer" that they are producing. It is the methods for organizing information. It's a completely separate market from the operating system market or the applications mark, though one that could, in the end, overtake both of them.
Monday, August 2, 2004 2:54:17 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Here is my take. They are building what I have been calling a NetBox, which is a Virtual Computer Experience. You will have an account, which represents your virtual desktop. Your "Computer" will become virtualized. You then will beable to view/access your "Personal Data Portfolio" from any device anywhere.Sound like a slogan you have heard before? Virtual Computers can be networked virtuallly, think of those benifiets!

Worrying about people with dial-up is like worrying about how your going to feed your horses on the high-ways. You can quote me on that one.

Amber Star
Thursday, August 19, 2004 5:51:37 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I don't know about this first hand, but a fellow developer has been working with Google to integrate Google Ads into their highly-trafficed web site. He keeps telling me horror stories of the arrogance and sheer disrespect coming from Google as they work through the new technology. They've even helped them track down bugs in Google's system and they're still getting disrespected.

Microsoft owes a great deal of its success to the developers using their technologies. However, those developers have been treated with respect and have been taken care of by Microsoft for a while now.

Google should keep that in mind.

Also, I think Google is doomed once everyone with any clout cashes out. By the time they go public, they're old news. I won't touch that stock. That water's going to be waaaay too infested with Wall Street sharks. I really think that bubble will pop and leave a huge mess in its wake.

I hope MSN search is up to par by then.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004 9:11:30 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Dare - I heard from a reliable source that they're building a search engine :)
Friday, September 3, 2004 11:52:03 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Joe Beda, development lead on the Avalon team at Microsoft went there too! And I've seen one of HotSpot (Java) performance guys (lower profile than Josh and Neal, but those HotSpot guys are true wonderboys) joined Google few months ago. With all those AI people they hired last year, I'm reeeaaaaaaallly curious what is their plan. Devel lead of Avalon taken from MS! WOW.
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