A new Googler has offered a rare glimpse into the process by which the search giant turns ideas into products.
Naveen Viswanatha, lead sales engineer for Google Enterprise Naveen Viswanatha, lead sales engineer for Google Enterprise, gave a presentation on Tuesday as part of a webinar entitled "Innovation @ Google: a Day in the Life" hosted by KMWorld.
Brian Ussery, a technologist at an interactive marketing agency who moderates a Google forum on SearchEngineWatch.com, wrote a recap of the talk on his blog and has made the presentation available in PDF form .
The gist of the presentation is that Google's flat management structure fosters innovation and good ideas get percolating faster with Web-based apps that allow engineers to find information and collaborate.
However, the real meat is in the screen shots. Marked "confidential" and "proprietary," they are so detailed I feel like I'm seeing something I shouldn't.
There are screen shots of e-mails dubbed "Product Snippets," in which engineers tell each other about their weekly activities. The e-mails are then compiled into a searchable database. There's a "Google Ideas" application where Googlers can read about what other people are working on and offer comments and ratings.
Another important tool is Google's intranet search engine, "Moma," which lets employees search for everything from available conference rooms and lunch recommendations to the employee handbook and time cards. The application is integrated with Gmail, Google Talk, Calendar and Docs.
Here are some screen shots:
Comcast customers in the Indianapolis, Indiana area are not able to check email and surf the web. Customers in the area have complained that they've only been experiencing intermittent Internet connectivity since Tuesday night.
A recording on Comcast's service line in the region acknowledges the issue, but didn't provide any additional information. A Comcast spokeswoman is still looking into the outage.
Comcast suffered a nationwide outage back in April when it experienced issues with its domain name servers, which translate and route Web page requests from users. Although Internet applications such as instant messaging continued working, Web site requests either did not respond or were sluggish.
The Times Online reports that U.K. music retailer HMV is opening the first of a new type of store in Dudley, west of Birmingham. The highlight: in-store kiosks with USB ports that will allow users to download free music and video files to a memory stick, for later transfer to their computer or other device. There are lots of other ambient-futurist touches, like big plasma displays, a mini Apple store, iMacs to play with, and a juice bar. As well as old-fashioned CDs and DVDs for sale.
Combine this idea with the Apple-Starbucks partnership announced on Wednesday, and I think you can get a good idea where music retailing is going. Instead of big open spaces with racks of physical music, clever retailers will create in-store experiences pervaded by, but not dominated by, music. Imagine an Internet cafe with a bar menu, a great sound system, and occasional live music performances. A Wi-Fi network is a must, with a "now playing" feature that lets you buy the currently playing song from an affiliated online music store --you could access the store from your own device or from one of the connected computers in the place. And of course, no DRM or proprietary formats, so the technology stays in the background where it belongs.
This sounds more appealing to me than a lot of other alternatives, like online music services where you have to listen to an ad before each song. I'd rather nurse a beer or two for the privilege of grabbing my music for free.
Dell has been encouraging customers to post their suggestions for future Dell products, and respondents are calling for Linux PCs.
The Dell IdeaStorm Web page has been up for almost a week, and has generated a number of responses from budding strategists and enthusiastic users. The most popular theme so far has been a call for Linux on Dell PCs, which the company actually used to do several years ago. A post calling for preinstalled Linux distributions is the most popular comment on the site and there are dozens of similar comments spread throughout the site.
Dell's experiment in Web 2.0-inspired community building has also drawn users complaining about the amount of unwanted free software--bluntly known as "crapware" -- on Dell PCs as well as the company's use of technical support personnel in countries outside of the U.S. The company has said it is monitoring the comments and will consider acting on some of them. But ideas such as revisiting the old "Dude, you're getting a Dell!" commercials with "a cute surfer chick" and "sue Microsoft" might not get as prompt attention as some of the others.
Update on August 28 at 3:30 p.m. with comments on SLI and AMD-ATI
Nvidia is extending its support for Intel's upcoming Core i7 processors while it prepares to announce next-generation integrated graphics silicon.
The announcement marks an effort to expand Nvidia offerings on Intel's next high-end desktop platform, which had previously been referred to as "Bloomfield." Intel branded it Core i7 prior to the company's developer forum last week. Nvidia has already said that it has no intention to build a chipset for Intel's next-generation interconnect technology called QuickPath Interconnect or QPI, which is part of the i7 design.
Nvidia said Thursday that it will license its Scalable Link Interface technology for Intel's Core i7 processor. Nvidia's technology will work in tandem with Intel's X58 chipset, the supporting silicon for the Core i7, which is due to ship in volume in the fourth quarter.
SLI allows systems to be configured with multiple graphics boards. So, for example, system builders and users can build systems with two, three, or four Nvidia boards.
In essence, Nvidia is offering what it calls "native" licensing of SLI to its partners and system builders. Native licensing will not require the use of Nvidia's nForce 200 bridge chip and thereby the company hopes to broaden the range of its graphics offerings on i7-based PCs.
To date, Nvidia has only offered nForce 200 , "which is basically an SLI chip that acts like a PCI Express bridge. That's been the only solution and that's been a very high-end solution. We'll continue to offer this," said Tom Peterson, director of Technical Marketing for MCP production at Nvidia.
PCI, or peripheral component interface, is the most common interface inside a PC for add-in boards.
Nvidia diagram shows supported configurations for Intel "Bloomfield" Core i7 processor and X58 chipset: x8 and x16 refer to the number of PCI "lanes." Generally, the more lanes, the higher the performance.
The distinction between native and nForce 200 is that native SLI "allows for more common configurations," said Bryan Del Rizzo, an Nvidia spokesman.
One source at a U.S.-based PC maker said that Nvidia was losing ground to AMD-ATI by not bringing out an SLI solution that could appeal to more system builders and users, especially with Intel's Core i7 on the horizon.
"It's something that customers have been asking us for a long time and actually a big change for Nvidia," Peterson said.
Nvidia will certify partner circuit boards in its Santa Clara, Calif., certification lab, Peterson said. Certification is required to enable SLI.
On another front, Nvidia will announce a new high-performance "motherboard GPU" in the coming weeks. This will be a follow-on to its GeForce 8200 mGPU , which is an integrated graphics chipset for desktop PCs that use Intel processors.
The upcoming mGPU will compete with the Intel G45 integrated graphics chipset.
Mac users who use Google Calendar and iCal to manage their on and offline calendaring have had to use a myriad of third-party products to keep the two in sync. That's changed now that Google is including CalDAV support as part of Google Calendar's built-in functionality. This means you'll be able to make changes in iCal and have them instantly reflected in Google and vice-versa. Previously that data swap was a one-way affair, with users simply subscribing to their Google Calendar feeds in iCal.
CalDAV is a standardized sharing protocol, allowing you to access the same set of data with others to edit and sync data changes between multiple users. On a workflow level, this means people with access to edit your Google Calendar will be able to make changes in both iCal and Google Calendar that will sync up with both.
To make use of it on a Mac you'll need the latest version of iCal, which comes with OS X . It has native support for CalDAV subscriptions, as does Mozilla Sunbird , but Google says it's currently not supported.
One thing to note is that the current iteration of CalDAV support on Google's part is not perfect. The support article on known issues is somewhat lengthy, with show-stoppers like the inability to create new iCal calendars from Google Calendar, and reminders and alarms not moving to the other platform when created. Until some of those issues are ironed out, getting perfect sync will require one of the many third-party tools that does the legwork for you .
You're likely to be disappointed, those of you who were secretly hoping for an over-the-top, preppies-gone-nasty legal battle between Facebook's founders and the former Harvard classmates who claimed they filched their business plan.The Facebook-ConnectU legal battle was tinged with Ivy League treachery, but it looks like we won't get a 'Skulls'-worthy story out of this one.
According to Brad Stone of the New York Times , Facebook is reportedly close to settling the lawsuit that the founders of onetime social-networking site ConnectU have been pursuing for several years now.
According to the founders of ConnectU, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and their business partner Divya Narendra, they hired current Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a programmer for ConnectU when they were all students at Harvard . Zuckerberg, they claimed, stalled on his work at ConnectU as he created his own social-networking site, which then became Facebook. The ConnectU founders launched their legal campaign against Facebook in 2004, long before the site was as popular as it is today.
Facebook has retorted with allegations that ConnectU's suit is unfounded-- as well as a countersuit claiming that ConnectU mined Facebook's user data to recruit more members. Indeed, the outlook has not been favorable for ConnectU, as a judge indicated in July that the side simply didn't have the evidence to back up its claims.
Thanks to his success with Facebook, Zuckerberg is now the youngest member of Forbes magazine's annual list of billionaires; ConnectU is largely forgotten, as Narendra now works in finance in New York and the Winklevoss twins are vying for spots on the U.S. Olympic crew team.
The Times blog post on Monday did not provide much detail, but said that Facebook was "finalizing a settlement" with the ConnectU founders and that legal documents pertaining to the case dismissal should appear within a few weeks.