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Thursday, January 5, 2006

Ex-Googlers Blog Facing Legal Issues?

So, it seems Google’s legal team finally took notice of Xooglers, the blog where Ex-Googlers speak relatively freely about their experiences inside the Googleplex. The blog has been rather silent lately. And not just because of the holidays, as Ron Garret says, “The reason I’ve been quiet on xooglers is that Google legal has asked to talk to me about it (no big deal I am assured) and we’ve been having trouble making contact.”

One of the last posts so far was about Google’s intranet, which is nicknamed MOMA (for reasons that seem to have been forgotten):

“MOMA was designed by and for engineers and for the first couple of years, its home page was devoid of any aesthetic enhancements that didn’t serve to provide information essential to the operation of Google. It was dense and messy and full of numbers that were hard to parse for the uninitiated, but high in nutritional value for the data hungry.

MOMA displayed latency times, popular search terms, traffic stats for Google-owned properties and, at the center of it all, a large graph with colored lines labeled with the names of Muppet characters. I can’t reveal what that graph represented, but if Rizzo or Fozzie started closing the gap with the Great Gonzo, Oscar would not be the only grouch on Sesame Street.”

Hmm, what could MOMA possibly stand for?

In another story on December 9 last year, Ron talks about the database system used for the original AdWords program – MySQL! The system worked, even though MySQL lacked some features which then needed to be programmed. After management decided it was time for a “real” (read: expensive) database system, the AdWords back-end was relaunched. Ron comments:

“To make a long story short, it was an unmitigated disaster. The new system was slower than molasses in February. Some heroic optimization efforts eventually produced acceptable performance, but it was never as good as the old MySQL-based system had been. (...) The moral of the story is that sometimes, and in particular with free software, you get more than what you pay for.”

These posts are all quite interesting. Let’s hope they won’t disappear, and that Ron and Doug Edwards can continue sharing their stories.


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