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Craig Silverstein answers your Google questions 292

On June 20, we requested questions to submit to Google Director of Technology Craig Silverstein, and got a heck of a lot of them. Here are Craig's answers to the 10 we sent him, along with a "bonus" answer to an additional question he chose himself. (Yes, Craig reads Slashdot. His answers make that pretty obvious.)

1) I've wondered
by lblack

Google always seem to be early-to-market with some really highly developed software solutions, and also always seems to have the backbone to support them.

I'm curious -- what drives the innovation? Is it the hardware team advancing architecture to permit the software team more room to play, or is it the software team saying, "Hey, look what we got!" and the hardware team dropping the iron to implement it?

I understand there must be some level of synergy, but is it completely seamless or is one side of the equation effectively driving the other?


Actually, the innovation is driven neither by hardware or software, but by products. We look around and say, "What would be the next great product to have?" and then figure out what software and hardware we need to make that product work and work great. If that figuring goes along the lines of, "Oh, it shouldn't take more than two weeks to get the code ready for public use, so that should give us plenty of time to get the 2000 new machines we'll need ordered, delivered, and installed" -- well, that's the kind of environment in which innovation flourishes at Google. [:-)]

2) Network Management Tools/Technologies
by kaladorn

What technologies help to support the Google server farm? What kind of automated monitoring and trouble reporting tools are in use? Are they home brew, open-source, or COTS with some customization (scripts, etc)? And if you had to point to one area of network management and say "we could use some improvement or some better tools", what would that area be?


Almost all the technology we use to support our server farm is home-grown. The system we've built is so efficient we can maintain more than 10,000 computers with a handful of ops folks.

Of course, we benefit a lot from our massive redundancy: Unlike many companies, we don't need to worry immediately if a computer, or two, or a hundred, die, because the dead computers have lots of clones.

The biggest issue when you have more than 10,000 computers is that network management tools based on visualization become inadequate to the task: even if the UI is very good, there's often too much going on (ie,going wrong) to work effectively. At this level, you really benefit from tools that can not only identify problems but fix them. Of course, it's hard to write general tools for this, since "fixing problems" is typically pretty application-specific.

3) As a market leader...
by Marx_Mrvelous

It's well known that you use Linux in your mega clusters. I was wondering if you have ever been approached by Microsoft, Sun, or HP in an effort to switch to their proprietary OSes.

I can't imagine that you haven't. It must have been a huge decision to invest in one technology, so are you satisfied with what you have?


We have been approached by several vendors. However, the advantages of Linux for us are pretty strong: It's an environment our developers tend to be familiar with, it offers unsurpassed tech support (we usually talk directly to the author of a piece of code when we're having problems with it), and it's cheap -- an important consideration when you have over 10,000 computers.

I think Linux works here as well as it does because of our technology culture. Our engineers feel comfortable being a partner in debugging kernel problems. For companies that would like to be able to give bug reports like, "Our network is slow" and have someone else take things over from there, Linux probably is not yet the ideal choice.

There's also a question of "Why Linux rather than FreeBSD?" or another free unix-like OS. We're not really religious about this issue. We used Linux -- as well as other, proprietary Unix variants -- when still at Stanford and were happy with it. My guess is if we had used a different open-source, unix-like operating system, we would have been happy with that as well. We're pretty pragmatic about using what works well for us.

4) Google's inescapable coolness.
by rob_from_ca

How do you avoid business pressures to make short-sighted solutions, and consistently make good, common sense ideas work instead of adopting ones from marketing sources? Not only does Google have the best search engine technology, but you consistently do the "right" thing. Clean, quick homepage, text only well-identified ads, interesting research projects, etc...This is the way many search engines start, but they all went the way of the "dark" side instead of adopting the "right" solution. In my jobs, it's been very difficult to execute and justify good engineering (or just common sense) under pressure from the people who control the money. Any advice for driving through well-thought-out decisions instead of adopting the "management fad of the month"?


You know, it's this kind of cruel, hard-hitting question that gives the press a bad name. But, rob_from_ca, I know you're not really a member of the press corps -- are you? -- so I'll let it slide.

I think you're right that it's easy for a company to start with a laser-like focus on user experience, but hard to keep it up as the company grows.

I think there are two important factors that have helped Google keep its focus on users. One is that the founders have stayed actively involved in the company. The basics of our company flows directly from them. Larry Page's background is in user interfaces, and that really shows in the design of the site and in every project we do. And both Larry and Sergey Brin firmly believe that if we concentrate on users, everything else -- including money -- will follow.

The other important decision, which I can't stress enough, has been hiring. We've hired people who not only agree with this user-centric view of the world, but embrace it. Knowing what I know now, I'm infinitely impressed by how much our VP of Worldwide Sales and Field Operations, Omid Kordestani, embraced Google's policy of eschewing banner ads in favor of text-based ads, using an advertising system we developed ourselves. It's paid off, but three years ago it was far from a sure thing.

5) Google and IP address.
by Anonymous Coward

Why in this day and age does google continue to penalize sites that are virtual hosted? With ip addresses becoming harder to get/justify every day why does google discount the relevance of links that don't come from a unique ip address. Please don't just deny it, I think the Internet community deserves an explanation.


I can't just deny it? What are my other choices? [:)] Actually, Google handles virtually hosted domains and their links just the same as domains on unique IP addresses. If your ISP does virtual hosting correctly, you'll never see a difference between the two cases. We do see a small percentage of ISPs every month that misconfigure their virtual hosting, which might account for this persistent misperception--thanks for giving me the chance to dispel a myth!

6) Weighting of heuristics
by jolshefsky

As the web develops, methods of matching a set of search keywords to a set of websites related to those keywords must change with it. I envision that the Google algorithms rank search hits by summing weighted factors such as overall site popularity, META tag keywords, META tag descriptions, TITLE tag contents, text contents, keywords containted in URLs, and so on.

Can you talk a bit about how those weights have changed over time? Have there been any surprising shifts?


a) I'm afraid not, and b) No comment.

7) Regression
by Have Blue

The Internet is always described as a distributed system with no single point of failure. Google, however, has quickly become by far the most popular method of locating information. "Surfing" has been killed with modern search technology, it's so much easier to look through Google than the Web itself. If Google was down, I'm sure the Internet would be far less useful.

Do you think Google has become an Internet point of failure? With the competition for larger and larger indexes, is the Internet becoming centralized? Do you think this is a bad thing?


It's true the Internet is distributed, but Internet services have never been. We saw that really vividly a few years ago when Network Solutions had a screwup with their root nameservers. As I recall, the Internet was basically unusable until DNS got fixed up again.

I think the growth of search engines is a sign that, in fact, the internet (well, the web in this case), is not becoming more centralized. If it were, then people could use a centralized registry to find whatever they needed to know. As it is, information is spread out throughout the web, so only an index like Google can tie it all together.

8) Favoring Big Guys
by PenguinRadio

Does google's policy of "ranking" the sites that have hits favor the "big guys" over more specific smaller traffic websites? That is, would a story on a site like CNN get a higher ranking in google on a keyword "Gulf War" than say a site ( that deals 100% with the Gulf War? Do you think you are leading to the commercialization of the web (i.e. the big power players) over smaller sites?


Hmm, everything I wanted to say here has already been said in the Slashdot discussion on this question.

But in my own words: Google doesn't actually use traffic ("hit") analysis in its rankings: the rankings are based entirely on how sites link to each other. One consequence of this approach is that sites like, which maintain a consistent focus on one issue, are more likely to accrue lots of links than a transient news story, even one on a major site.

Indeed, searching for "gulf war" on google turns up two Gulf War veterans sites in the top 5, including

9) Dot com changes?
by Telastyn

Last I heard Google was still the stereotypical "startup" type company; promoting morale over bureaucracy as long as the work got done. Hockey, pool, the Greatful Dead's ex-chef (iirc?), and tons of other perks.

Did google keep the atmosphere as you've grown? did they keep it while others tanked?


We still pay a lot of attention to making Google a place people like spending their time. The latest is a massaging chair we imported from Japan, so people could get massages even when it's not our masseuses' regular working hours (and they use the chair, too!).

We set this up from the beginning. (Healthy Choice granola bars in the breakroom: that was Sergey. All the M&M's you could eat: that was me.) We still see advantages to it. We think these efforts help productivity rather than hurt it. When you and a co-worker discuss an idea in a conference room, that pretty much limits the communication potential to just you two; when you discuss it over a game of pool, soon half the company has wandered by and had the opportunity to comment.

10) Google's first programming contest

Google recently ran it's "first annual programming contest," with a winner receiving $10,000. Many slashdotters suspect this was simply a way to recruit new talent. So, was finding new people one of the initial goals for this project, and have you hired any new programmers as a direct result of it? What were the other goals (PR, generation of new ideas, etc) where there?


The main goal was to have fun and to get people thinking about what they can do with large quantities of information. If we got people excited about the field of search or data mining -- even if they never submitted a program to us -- then that entire area of research benefits, and ultimately Google benefits as well.

The fact that our terms and conditions mentioned that we retained unexclusive rights to whatever people submitted, hints at our attitude. If really good ideas came out of the program, we wanted to be able to use them. On the other hand, we weren't using the contest as a substitute for consulting or anything (or else we would have demanded exclusive rights). And if the authors of the good programs wanted to come work for us, so much the better. For people who were excited by this project, we already knew there was a cultural fit.

[The following question was added to "the list" by Craig -- ED]

11) Forget Craig
by Talisman

No offense to Mr. Silverstein, but I'm much more interested in Cindy [McCaffrey]! Beautiful, highly successful nerds are terribly rare!

Just so I'm not off-topic: Mr. Silverstein, how does Cindy look in tight sweaters?


If you did any research at all, you know that Cindy is our Vice President of Corporate Communications. As such, she takes an active role in Google interviews, such as this one. In fact, she's looking over my shoulder even as I type this. And, let me just say, she ... Hey Cindy, what are you doing? No, don't press that button! Hey! erwqu8poxasewrvNO CARRIER

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Craig Silverstein answers your Google questions

Comments Filter:
  • Web services? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bryam ( 449040 )
    Could be Google the
    "Yellow Pages" for the Web services effort? What about one ;-)

    Good luck!
  • Good interview... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Helmholtz Coil ( 581131 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:00PM (#3815860) Journal

    ...but I really really wanted to know what their electricity bill was!

    I hadn't thought about the inherent redundancy in Google's design before, so if one or a dozen boxes go down the system as a whole remains virtually intact. It's an interesting effect of that level of decentralization, I guess. Maybe they should be a model to other organizations with an eye towards security and survivability?
    • Re:Good interview... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by daviddennis ( 10926 ) <> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:19PM (#3816016) Homepage
      If they're in Class A office space, power is paid for by the landlord unless otherwise specified in the lease.

      If they are co-located in a server farm, power is normally included with the fee per machine.

      In either case, there might well be no power bill to pay!

      One interesting unasked question: Could they distribute their servers geographically, through several server farms in widely distributed points, to increase redundancy in case Al Queda decided to target their server farm? Might be a thought.

      • in case Al Queda decided to target their server farm?
        Hey now, don't give them any ideas. This really would be a devastating blow to America's information infrastructure.
        • Why be US-centric?

          Doesn't the whole world use Google?

          They probably won't do it, just because it doesn't have the drama and flair of the destruction of a major landmark.

          • They probably won't do it, just because it doesn't have the drama and flair of the destruction of a major landmark.

            True, these guys dont go for subtlety. Although I was rather surprised that they didnt go for the Statue of Liberty, as that would have been a rather shocking target, with less loss of life.

            Disclaimer: I absolutely disaprove of terrorism as a way to get your point through, even if its a somewhat valid point. I just try to put myself in the other guy's shoes and try to understand his motivations.
      • Re:Good interview... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by schnurble ( 16727 )
        They -are- geographically distributed.

        I've seen one of Google's colo cages. It truly is badass.
      • power consumption (Score:3, Informative)

        by faster ( 21765 )
        Since Google uses Rackable Systems 1U boxes (mostly), they can put 80 in a telco cabinet along with a couple of switches. About double the normal capacity of a cabinet. That means about double the power draw per cabinet.

        Exodus reworked their pricing after Google forced them to rewire a bunch of cabinets to handle double the power draw.

        As of a year ago when a couple of the Google techies gave a talk at a BayLISA meeting, they had four data centers, two on the west coast and two on the east coast.
    • Well, let's see. Assuming 100 watts continuous power consumption per server and an electricity rate of $0.15 per kilowatt-hour, we have:

      0.1 kW * 10,000 servers * (365 * 24) hours * $0.15 per kW-h

      which is $1,314,000 per year, just to run their server farm.
  • by Wattsman ( 75726 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:00PM (#3815861)
    Q: I'm a webmaster, but I won't admit to it. Could you tell me how Google weights websites so I can get my site ranked higher?
    A: No.
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:00PM (#3815863) Homepage Journal

    I knew Google was into clusters, but holy crap: over 10000 computers?!? Do other clusters of this size exist elsewhere?

    This makes the lack-of-ads-down-your-throat aspect of Google all the more bewildering. Their electric bill alone, must be enormous.

    • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

      by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:06PM (#3815904) Homepage
      Imagine a beowulf ... never mind.
    • So, what happens when these search engines digest enough intelligence and become self aware?
    • Actaully, this probably shouldn't be considered a cluster, per se. I imagine they use load-balanced clones with shared disk. It is the only way I have ever seen to run more that about 50 web servers without nightmares seen only in IBM or MS commertials.

      This is very different of the "beowulf" type of cluster. There isn't any shared computation going on, since each request would be very minor by itself. I assume they have that many boxes because of the number of connections at a time.

      note that this comment comes from my experience in the industry, not with Google itself.
      • Ok, it may be load balanced, but as they have specialiced machines for seraching, indexing, updating the farm. It's a large scale software project. It's not load balancing as i see it. It's not only a question of balancing load, but from separating task into different computers.

        It's really like a big library (say the AE* box is one shelf) with many librarians (indexers) and a huge buying personel (spiders) as well as coordination (spider queueing/index queuing/autorepair).

        Looks like seti@home, but it's a bit more complex. I'd say it's an application farm.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I was lucky enough to see one of google's cages at equinix [] which is in Virginia btw, I know they have cages at other locations as well. Mind bogglingly spectacular.

      Each rack had around 40 2u servers in it. The servers are doubled up so you can fit 2 2U servers in a 2U slot, with an exhaust chimney in the middle of the rack. Apparently equinix has to pump more AC to that zone because of google's high density machines. They probably had about 30-40 racks there by my estimation, and only what I saw. They might have multiple cages there for all I know. Of course, nothing's labeled at equinix for security reasons so you just have to be told by someone that "knows".

      Equinix is a marvel in it's own (check out their virtual tour), the place is incredible, you can't possible ask for anything more in a colo, equinix on top of google's redundancy... Wow, that crap ain't never going down.
    • Let's see here. Using rudimentary figures we can compute the cost of electricity for those computers alone. Let's assume that the average computer draws 3.5 amps with 120 volts being supplied to it.

      From Kirchoff's law (either him or Ohm, I forget which) we get Power (watts) = I (amps) * V (volts)


      P = 3.5amps * 120 volts * 10,000 computers
      = 4,200,000 watts (egads!)

      Mind you, this is per second! Let's convert this to an hourly figure.

      Watts = 60 * 60 * 4,200,000
      = 15,120,000,000

      Let's convert this to kilowats for simplicity
      = 15,120,000 kilowatts

      Now, let's say that the power company charges $0.00346 (number pulled from thin air) per killowatt hour. Figure the computers are running 24 hours a day.

      Cost per day = 15,120,000 * 24 * .00346
      = $1,255,564.8

      Something tells me that my figures had better be damn well off, or else there is some serious cash floating around there!
      • by bcaulf ( 30350 )
        I'll say one headless machine is drawing in the neighborhood of 200 watts. That's .2 KW. Per day, that's 4.8 KW-hours. One KW-hour costs neighborhood of a nickel, so one machine costs about 25 cents to run each day. 10,000 machines cost $2500 in electricity a day altogether.

        You made a number of mistakes. The main one is: there is no notion of "watts per second" unless you are talking about a rate of change of power. 4.2M watts is a rate; it is the same whether measured over an instant, a second or an hour. If you use power at that rate for an hour you use 4.2M watt-hours. Not 15.1 billion watt-hours. So that was a factor of 3600 on the high side. Then you were off by a factor of about 14 on the low side in pricing kilowatt-hours. And I would say you were about a factor of 2 on the high side in wattage of a server. Altogether you were high by a factor of just about 500x which is the difference in our results.
        • You quote 4.8KW-hours per day for a headless box. Prob about right, but multiply by two (which, speaking as someone who has seen the elec bills of a server room, is about right) to account for things like lighting (a tiny bit) and air-con (a huge expense) and UPS systems. So we have 9.6KW-hours/day per box. Electricity in CA (where google is) is around $.22/KWH on the commercial scale, not a nickel (you must live in the east). So you're off by a factor of ten, but still, $25,000 is a lot less than the $1.2mil/day that the original poster blathered about.
      • Let's try this again...

        P = 3.5amps * 120 volts * 10,000 computers
        = 4,200,000 watts

        Let's convert this to an hourly figure

        E = 4,200,000 watts * 1 hour
        = 4,200,000 watt-hours

        Let's convert this to kilowatt-hours for simplicity:

        E = 4200 kwh

        The remainder is left as an exercise
    • what's amazing to me is the pace that seem to work at. Consider this quote.

      ""Oh, it shouldn't take more than two weeks to get the code ready for public use, so that should give us plenty of time to get the 2000 new machines we'll need ordered, delivered, and installed""

      In my company it takes more then two weeks to get the requision for a $500.00 item approved. Anything that required 2000 machines would have to go to the board and would take almost a year to approve let alone ordered and installed. These guys do it all in two weeks. Impressive.
      • 2000 machines of the same configuration is easier to requisition that a dozen machines with differing needs. Especially if that one configration is the same as a previously-used, previously-ordered, known-good setup which I'm sure is common at Google. All you have to do is run the RFQ to your favroite vendors. :) But I would call the 2000 number suspect at least... seeing as that would be a 20% increase in their server farm in one shot.
        • Where I work configuration is not the issue. If you want to spend over a certain amount you have to go to the board. Even then it's a crapshoot as to whether the CIO can convince the board that it's a good expenditure. FOr smaller items the CIO can approve items himself but even that takes over a month in most cases.
  • Low brow trash (Score:2, Insightful)

    how does Cindy look in tight sweaters

    Please masturbate before submitting questions, not during.

    Come on guys, clean up the crap and treat women with respect and you might just get to have sex with another human being for once.

    • Re:Low brow trash (Score:2, Informative)

      by Carthis ( 48443 )
      RTFI. Read the fscking interview.

      [The following question was added to "the list" by Craig -- ED]

      The interviewee added that question, not some sexually repressed teenage nerd. Oh, and it was humour. Yep.
    • Are you hoping that blatantly female-chauvinist comment will get you laid?

      - A.P.
    • I was going to say "get over yourself" but then I noticed you were Ars-Fartsica. I guess that's not in the cards.

      Besides the already-mentioned fact that this was added by the interviewee [][sibling comment] what the fuck is the big deal? If she wears tight sweaters, it's a valid question.

      Also, I masturbate before, during, and after the submission of /. comments... What the fuck do you call slashdot anyway? Personally, I consider it nothing more than an intellectual form of jacking off. It's sometimes informative, but primarily it's amusing. If it were intended to be a serious news source they'd censor comments, which would ruin slashdot; far better to just be a community site, which is what it is.

    • Reminds me of something I heard a comedian say:

      "I've been trying so hard not to treat women like objects that I've ended up treating objects like women."

      I can't remember who said it, but I liked it.
  • Interview loophole? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 )
    OK, I had 2 score:5 questions, but, about 3 days after the interview article was posted (it was off the "older stuff" block), both mine get modded down once (overrated, of course), so now my questions don't get answered?

    Is there a way to prevent this?

    What happens when trolls wait and upmod something you don't want to ask the interviewer?

    Shouldn't the moderations stop for interviews after it leaves the frontpage? Or was this an editor moderation??
    • Is there a way to prevent this?

      Supposedly this is what meta-moderation does. I agree it's a problem (discounting the number of comments I've posted that have gone up to 5 then down to 2) with people going on moderation sprees when the story is off the page or near the bottom. In the case of a geniune troll the only solution I can think of is when a person gets enough bad meta-mods they lose their privaleges, perhaps the editors could do the blacklisting themselves, it should be a rare enough occurance. In this case I suspect that it was not an editor moderation because of the fact that they can really choose any group of high scoring ten questions so the precise ranking isn't really relevant.
    • OK, I had 2 score:5 questions, but, about 3 days after the interview article was posted (it was off the "older stuff" block), both mine get modded down once (overrated, of course), so now my questions don't get answered?
      It shouldn't have mattered if you were down modded 3 days later, since they were going to choose the questions 24 hours after positing according to the article.

      Of course its annoying to have your questions left out, but there are almost always more than 10 comments rated 5 for interviews, so Roblimo has to exercise some judgement. There's more than 40 comments scored 5 in this interview.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:07PM (#3815911)
    If you seem to think some ISPs are having trouble configuring their virtual hosts, why don't you tell us what they are doing wrong so we can be sure to not make teh same mistakes? I'm curious how someone could screw up what seems to be such a simple thing.
    • I'm curious if he meant on the webserver setup or the DNS setup.

      I'm very interested in hearing an answer or if someone could point me to a reference explaining the correct way to do it, that would be great.

      The way I do it works and I've always assumed it was correct. Google picks up most of our sites quite well, so I probably am doing it correct.
  • Question #6 (Score:5, Informative)

    by imta11 ( 129979 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:07PM (#3815916)
    Anyone interested in how Google really workd should go check out the citeseer research index and query on google. It has the origonal Stanford University research papers available in every major format. Check it out.
  • there is an interview with craig available [] as mp3 (over 70 minutes) that deals with details of the technology at google and how it changed since mr. silverstein started at google.
  • by deanpole ( 185240 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:12PM (#3815958)

    Like he would work over dialup from one of the highest bandwidth offices in the world?!? They must have been at a hotel together. :-)

  • No Network Stats?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hoeken ( 554149 ) <.hoeken. .at.> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:14PM (#3815972) Homepage
    Damn! The only question i really cared about, didnt get answered. I just wanted to know how many servers they ran, specs, raw computing power, how much traffic, etc. Oh well.
  • The Pigeons (Score:4, Funny)

    by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:15PM (#3815979) Homepage Journal
    Damn! My CEO and CTO were both planning to invest our last million on pigeons if Craig were going to give a headsup on their effectiveness.

    Now, I am stuck with the thousand monkeys we bought clamoring on the keyboards churning out shakespearean sonnets.
  • by Wee ( 17189 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:19PM (#3816018)
    When you and a co-worker discuss an idea in a conference room, that pretty much limits the communication potential to just you two; when you discuss it over a game of pool, soon half the company has wandered by and had the opportunity to comment.

    We had a pool table at Eudora, when we were in Building I (the one by the cemetary, ironically enough). It got used a lot, although there was very little work talk that went on around it. Some, but not much. Mostly it was guys from tech support on break. More discussion took place when they had beer busts out on the lawn, or when they brought in food late at night for all us guys lucky enough to be working late during pre-GM release crunches. In fact, they wound up taking the pool table away because it was causing "productivity" to slip.

    The beer busts worked particluarly well (and not just because I a) like beer or b) would wait until they were over and then would stuff the leftovers into the fridge in my office). It was like 3 hours of sitting around in the grass, engineers talking to sales, marketing talking to project mgmt, everyone talking to everyone else, VPs and admin clerks mingling. We couldn't all get together without talking about work stuff at a bar during happy hour, much less on a Friday at 2 in the afternoon on the front lawn of our building. The freebie dinners wer egood, but only engineers got to eat, so the group was more limited. We didn't get the cross-polination that the beer busts had.

    If had to recommend a "dotcom-ish" group activity, I'd say a nice summer afternoon, some grass, a few frisbees, t-shirts for the employees-of-the-month, and a big tub of beer, wine, and soda. Very informal, just come and hang out. That's a really good way for a department head to get feedback, and way better than "all hands" meetings. I remember one day we had an all-hands, and not one person asked a question. A couple days later at a beer bust you couldn't get a word in edge-wise with the VP he was so busy talking with people.

    Anyway, gone are the salad days...


    • by Wee ( 17189 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:35PM (#3816140)
      a nice summer afternoon, some grass, a few frisbees

      Uh, that came out kinda wrong. I meant the kind of grass you sit on and the kind of frisbees you throw. I'm surprised I didn't mention patchouli and a hackysack. Jeez. At any rate, I wasn't advocating getting the whole company stoned. Although it probably would have helped in our case...


  • by Milican ( 58140 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:28PM (#3816076) Journal
    So who is Cindy McCaffrey? Google knows []! Super cool. Big thanks to the guys at Google for the search engine and the interview :)

  • Bandwidth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by selderrr ( 523988 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @02:36PM (#3816145) Journal
    too bad he didn't answer the bandwidth Q. Can anyone here give a calculated estimate on how much bytes the google farm pushes around per day ?

    How many queries do they server per minute/sec ?
    • Re:Bandwidth (Score:3, Interesting)

      Really, you don't want per day estimates. With a site like google, you want per second.

      Trust me. I work for a company with a very large web presense. Pushing a number of gigs/sec doesn't end up translating well to per day measurements.

      For fun, just used a calc here to figure some stuff out.

      For a company like the one I'm at (or like google) pushing over 1 gig/sec, that's over 80 terabytes per day (at min).

      I find a lot of the per day questions amusing as it is obvious it is coming from someone who doesn't work in very large volumes.

      • excuse me ? You company is pushing 1GB/sec into the world ?

        Pardon me for falling over backwards, but how many companies are gigabit connected to the internet ? I doubt that even Google does this.
    • too bad he didn't answer the bandwidth Q. Can anyone here give a calculated estimate on how much bytes the google farm pushes around per day ?

      If by "calculated estimate" you mean "blind guess", sure :).

      Assume 1e9 people with access/exposure to it. Assume 1e-3 of these use it regularly, and assume 1e1 uses per day per user. That's 1e7 calls to Google per day. Assuming 1e3 bytes per search, that's 1e10 bytes per day. (At 1e5 seconds per day, that's 1e5 bytes per second, or 1e6 bytes per second if peak time has 10 times the load).

      So 10 gigabytes per day, with one megabyte per second at peak load.

      Take this with a grain of salt :).
    • Re:Bandwidth (Score:3, Informative)

      by rodgerd ( 402 )
      You can guesstimate trawling linux-kernel archives; the Google guys were having random lockup problems with early 2.2.x series kernels. Turned out they were in the IP stack. A kernel hacker asked for tcpdump logging and the Google guys explained they were getting (hundreds? thousands?) of connections per system per second.

  • just a .jpeg, thats all im asking for... well maybe a .tiff would be better.

    just one picture

  • 8) Favoring Big Guys
    by PenguinRadio

    Does google's policy of "ranking" the sites that have hits favor the "big guys" over more specific smaller traffic websites?

    I can certainly vouch for Craig's response. My own site comes up as #1, and it's only three letters :)
  • by drew_kime ( 303965 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @03:00PM (#3816437) Journal
    "Oh, it shouldn't take more than two weeks to get the code ready for public use, so that should give us plenty of time to get the 2000 new machines we'll need ordered, delivered, and installed"

    Sure, and while you're at it why don't you tell us about your Ferrarri and the supermodel you're banging. Bastard.

  • by msheppard ( 150231 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @04:04PM (#3817099) Homepage Journal
    thought I'd use my favorite image search engine to find this picture... then I realized my favorite image search engine is GOOGLE.
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @04:25PM (#3817297) Homepage Journal
    I got onto Google, typed "Cindy McCaffrey", and pressed the I'm Feeling Lucky button. It didn't work out nearly as well as I had hoped. No phone number. No candid pics. Not even an e-mail address. I'm disappointed in Google.
    • I got onto Google, typed "Cindy McCaffrey", and pressed the I'm Feeling Lucky button. It didn't work out nearly as well as I had hoped. No phone number. No candid pics. Not even an e-mail address. I'm disappointed in Google.

      Perhaps you misread, it's not the I Want To Get Lucky button...
    • yeah but what kind of browser does she use I bet its I.E. or netscape 6 if she's really trying to be goofy

      try getting her to compile mozilla and I bet she'd shirk it "but I'm not a techy"


      john "oh for fsck sake type make" jones

  • by alizard ( 107678 ) <alizard@ecis. c o m> on Wednesday July 03, 2002 @04:30PM (#3817342) Homepage
    I'd like to see the innards of google discussed in a lot more detail. What I mean here is a good technical article on just how one puts together 10K+ machines into a working system.

    I'm also interested in seeing a discussion with actual google people on their policy on what's "suitable" and "unsuitable" as far as advertising goes. I've heard that pro-gun sites are considered "unsuitable" for no other reason than someone at google doesn't like guns. Google's right, but one starts to wonder if those biases are going to get built into the search engine algorithms sooner or later.

    As google becomes a more and more important tool for getting to the rest of the Net, their politics are an issue whether they like it or not.

  • Is it just me, or did he avoid answering the question about whether Google had itself become a point of failure for the internet. His answer basically was that the fact we need Google to find things implies a decentralized net. Yet the question was whether Google replacing other search engines implies that if Google fails the net fails. i.e. we have the de-facto rise of a centralized interface to the net.

    Let me put it an other way. Consider that some terrorist manages to destroy all the Google servers. What happens to practical day to day work that uses the Internet?
  • What is funny is the Director of Technology for Google has dial-up.

We don't really understand it, so we'll give it to the programmers.