Google Gets Ready to Rumble With Microsoft provides an interesting look at how Google develops new apps.
Grand Prix, the company’s new iPhone app (screenshots), took six weeks from conception to launch. This excerpt mentions one of the company’s favorite mantras: “Nothing speaks louder than code.”
Early this month, Google released new cellphone software, with the code-name Grand Prix. A project that took just six weeks to complete, Grand Prix allows for fast and easy access to Google services like search, Gmail and calendars through a stripped-down mobile phone browser. (For now, it is tailored for iPhone browsers, but the plan is to make it work on other mobile browsers as well.)
Grand Prix was born when a Google engineer, tinkering on his own one weekend, came up with prototype code and e-mailed it to Vic Gundotra, a Google executive who oversees mobile products. Mr. Gundotra then showed the prototype to Mr. Schmidt, who in turn mentioned it to Mr. Brin. In about an hour, Mr. Brin came to look at the prototype.
“Sergey was really supportive,” recalls Mr. Gundotra, saying that Mr. Brin was most intrigued by the “engineering tricks” employed. After that, Mr. Gundotra posted a message on Google’s internal network, asking employees who owned iPhones to test the prototype. Such peer review is common at Google, which has an engineering culture in which a favorite mantra is “nothing speaks louder than code.”
Some other interesting bits: Since Google moves so fast, people are routinely offered jobs there without being told what they will be doing.
Another draw is Google’s embrace of experimentation and open-ended job assignments. Recent college graduates are routinely offered jobs at Google without being told what they will be doing. The company does this partly to keep corporate secrets locked up, but often it also doesn’t know what new hires will be doing.
Christophe Bisciglia, a 27-year-old engineer, qualifies as a seasoned veteran at Google, having worked there for four years. Mr. Bisciglia has done a lot of college recruiting in the last two years and has interviewed more than 100 candidates. “We look for smart generalists, who we can be confident can fulfill any need we have,” he explains. “We hire someone, and who knows what need we’ll have when that person shows up six months later? We move so fast.”
CEO Eric Schmidt thinks 90 percent of computing tasks can migrate online. He also thinks small businesses would be crazy to buy packaged software these days.
[Eric Schmidt] draws a rectangle and rattles off a list of things that can be done in the Web-based cloud, and he notes that this list is expanding as Internet connection speeds become faster and Internet software improves. In a sliver of the rectangle, about 10 percent, he marks off what can’t be done in the cloud, like high-end graphics processing. So, in Google’s thinking, will 90 percent of computing eventually reside in the cloud?
“In our view, yes,” Mr. Schmidt says. “It’s a 90-10 thing.” Inside the cloud resides “almost everything you do in a company, almost everything a knowledge worker does.”...
Small and midsize companies, as well as universities and individuals — in other words, a majority of computer users — could shift toward Web-based cloud computing fairly quickly, Mr. Schmidt contends. Small businesses, he says, could greatly reduce their costs and technology headaches by adopting the Web offerings now available from Google and others.
“It makes no sense to run your own computers if you are a small business starting up,” he says. “You’d be crazy to buy packaged software.”