Dare is right. I have also thought that the Googleplex seems to have been shedding some of its geek lustre over the past few months. Don’t get me wrong – I think some of the fabled infrastructure they have (GFS, MapReduce, Big Table, etc) is beyond world class. Even if it did not exist and was purely vapourware, it has done the world a massive service by opening peoples eyes to what can be done with massively distributed systems. I cannot imagine living without my Gmail account. It wouldnt occur to me to use any other search engine.
But there is a nagging doubt. Is it really the hallowed turf of engineers or have the MBA types started to ooze in? Take the Knol. I don’t get it. There are a billion and one different ways for people to put content on the web. I am not saying that our current tools (blogs, wikis, myspace) are the ultimate evolution of content authoring. Clearly they aren’t. But what does the Knol actually add? As Udi says: “it is still just a web page“. The only thing I can see is that it is yet another space for adsense to pop up. Adsense was a brilliant revelation and clearly works. But you get the feeling that Google, for all its glitter and fairy dust, is actually a pony with only a small repertoire of tricks (albeit very, very powerful).
I have no doubt that they will come up with some more truly, truly amazing ideas. Having a brain bank the size of a small galaxy makes that an almost guaranteed cert – you would back it at almost any price. But it doesn’t surprise me that people, who once would have sold their mothers hind legs to work there, are now looking elsewhere.
PS: I am not sure about Dare’s other horse. I can see why the money types are so enthralled with Facebook but it is a big WTF? to me. Anyone that can put out Beacon scares me.
PSS: Guess that is two companies I won’t be getting offer letters from then!