Google Factory Tour -Great UnMet Expectations

If you are looking for technical observations, look elsewhere. If you want to hear a pod cast about the day, check out The Gillmor Daily. This one has just my pure, unscientific observations; think of them as musings of an over caffeinated mind…. Om

googlefactorytourThe Google Factory Tour 2005 had the makings of a great noir classic. A secret invite, hush-hush directions, suspense and perhaps the pulse racing anticipation! Sitting amidst the glistening green undulating California hills, against a back drop of low gray clouds, with slight drizzle hanging in the air, GooglePlex had a post modern Transylvania feel to it. Such delightful setting for a day of suspense, high drama, and perhaps some wonderful acting on stage.

It was a Hitchcockian moment in the brief history of Google. But there was nothing like the tour, or the factory, instead it was a ne0-modern amphitheater lit in primary colors, and a stage. Instead of a day of anticipation, the script played out like the sequel of The Whole Nine Yards.

Eric “The CEO” Schmidt did his thing, only to vanish. Sergey Brin popped in for a special appearance, almost like Brad PittA crew of new artists came on, talked about 500 pounds of pasta, 2000 pounds of chicken and 8 billion pages indexed. The roasted Venetian coffee, kept us all falling into a slumber befitting a member of the US Senate.

That humor is not part of the daily routine at Google HQ was obvious, the total IQ to rival that of a large European nation was even more obvious. If there is anything you could learn from today was Google’s absolute belief that it is “one world” after all. Translation work being done by the Labs merits a UN award. In case the Europeans are reading this, today was ample proof, that Google is more devoted to the UN and the world, … much more than many of our esteemed leaders in Washington.

This perhaps was the most seat gripping part of the whole day. Google took hundreds of thousands of documents translated by the United Nations, matched them up with terabytes of data, and threw billions of gigahertz cycles at the problem and came up with a translation engine, that puts everything in context.

Remember context, for it is going to be the key operative word in the future. Using its complex algorithms, Gooligans are figuring out ways to put context to unstructured data, context like time and date and language. It will be interesting to see how Google becomes a context company. Unfortunately, it is my postulation. Google did not provide enough context to its amazing achievement as yet, but still impressive nevertheless.

Like other great noir movies, it had its moments. Towards the end when the company hinted at it’s new found belief in open media, a belief that amazingly matches Yahoo’s new conversion. But that’s all – the myGoogle, was like a scene that has been played before.

The biggest story was — how more than 100 of the most powerful names in technology journalism showed up at the Google campus, hopeful, perhaps to get a glimpse of the fabled GooglePlex; a chance to peek to working lifestyles of mega-millionaires. During coffee breaks, over a gourmet lunch, and amidst a million references to the latest Star Wars jokes, most journalists were asking, “so what’s new you have learned today.” Another wistfully observed, couldn’t this all be crammed into one three hour session.

Others simply, glanced at the glass-ensconced corridors, beyond the reach of the hacks, wondering what magical powers lay inside. That however did not stop the wire service Muppets to file every single utterance, for which I wonder. Investors, who already have bid up Google to stratospheric highs?

Whatever the reasons, it is clear, Google is perhaps the only company that can knock Steve Jobs from his pedestal when it comes to media adulation. Why not – Gooligans are awfully young, many of them are supremely smart and perky, if not exactly wise in the ways of the grown up world. Perhaps they don’t know, we the media are known to bite the hand that feeds. The glorious rise, and fall of Netscape, was covered with equally enthusiastic glee by the modern media.

Google should have hired M. Night Shaymalan or perhaps Ridley Scott to direct their “public relations debut” effort, also tagged as Google Factory Tour. Given that Google learns from its mistakes, I am already looking forward to the next one!

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