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Friday, June 1, 2007

Google Developer Day 2007 Gallery

Google’s developer day yesterday was a multi-city get-together for developers & press/ bloggers to learn about old and new (Google Gears aka project Scour) Google technologies. Below are a couple of snapshots I took at the Hamburg, Germany, location (the Side Hotel). The developer sessions focused on Google gadgets, Google Base, Google Maps and the Gdata API. Inbetween, everyone had a chance to grab some food and drinks, and talk to Google employees.

An interesting statement, and somewhat contrary to popular belief, came from a Google employee who told a group of us that Google engineers aren’t necessarily the rock stars within the company. As opposed to companies which sell software, Google sells ads – so engineers can also be seen as the ones creating costs, which apparently shines through in some meetings with members of the ad/ sales team which are creating the direct revenue. (I contrasted this to products like Google News, which lack any advertising to this day, but was told that any product that would bind users to Google would also increase ad exposure within related products.) On the pro side, this also means that developer deadlines aren’t quite as strict as within traditional software houses, because the software mostly doesn’t have to be pre-announced and tightly knit into a defined publishing/ marketing schedule.

The view of Google as an ad seller is reflected in a statement recently provided to Wired’s Fred Vogelstein, who asked Google CEO Eric Schmidt how one should think of the company. Eric’s reply: “Think of it first as an advertising system. Then as an end-user system – Google Apps. A third way to think of Google is as a giant supercomputer. And a fourth way is to think of it as a social phenomenon involving the company, the people, the brand, the mission, the values – all that kind of stuff.”

Of course, Google as a company has to focus on their revenue. Another Google employee told me that Google’s “don’t be evil” is only one of many informal mission statements, another one being “spend every dollar as if it’s your own.”

Douwe Osinga works as developer at Google Zurich and talked about Google gadgets.

Steffen “Mesch” Meschkat from Google New York presented the Google Maps API (much of the JavaScript you’ll see in Google Maps was written by him, he explained).

Jeremy Allison from the UK, Samba developer and with Google Mountain View since earlier this year, gave an interesting presentation on Google’s open source efforts. One of the main reasons why Google likes to give back changes they make to open source software to the open source community, except for being nice, is that this way Google engineers don’t have to maintain a different branch of the software, Jeremy emphasized. Above shows Jeremy projecting one of the latest (public) photos from the Google data center.

Where does Google make use of open source software internally? In lots of places, as above slide illustrates (from the Linux kernel to Apache or languages and compilers they use).

This Google-branded home helicopter was handed out as goodie after the event. (You’ll win the one above if you’re the first to email me your full address, attaching a photo of you reading this blog!)

To find more developer day photos, search Flickr for the tag GDD07. For videos, take a look at Google’s official developer day channel on YouTube.


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