Google's Little Scriptlet of Big Ideas


Earlier this morning I had to moderate a panel, Office 2.0: Where Are We?, at the Office 2.0 conference in San Francisco. During the course of the conversation, one of the panelists, Rajen Sheth, Google’s product manager for enterprise products revealed a Google secret which I think is worth sharing with you folks, especially useful for those of you who are work for a start-up or a large company from a remote location, and want to help build the institutional knowledge of your company.

Apparently, Google encourages all its employees to send things they learnt or want to share with coworkers as a snippet of five lines – no less, no more. The employees have to be very precise and focused. It can be anything from executing a simple task or if they figured out a better way of doing something that is part of their daily work. Or just an aha moment. All they have to do is email it in. Google then indexes all these emails and makes them searchable. Think of it as giant FAQ database about Google by Googlers.

To me it is a great way to build corporate knowledge base. If you have tips or tricks to share, do let us know.


Gwen Dohrn

identified this kind of shopping on google for just this particular. in order to increase to be able to preferred, in order to read coming from regarding the other blogposts too. Bless you!


A refinement: you could use a Firefox search extension plugin to add your Google Group ‘knowledge base’ to the search box at the top right of your browser.

Now you don’t have to think about it as a ‘group’ or ‘mailing list’. It’s just a bucket you email knowlege to, and when you want it back, you search.


Replicate this by creating a new Google Group. Google Groups can be invite only and viewable only by members, so can be used group-private info.

There’s no mechanism to limit the emails to 5 lines. However, maybe by just naming the group kb-5lines@… (or similar) rather than kb-snippets@… would be enough to coerce people into doing the right thing.

Oh, and Google Groups have feeds, so you can keep up with the latest in your feed reader or by email. You can categorise messages after the fact too, to facilitate browsing.

I guess there’s a lot of services and technologies you could impement this simple idea, but by using Google Groups you get ‘Google Search’ — it’s like we already have the tool that’s mentioned here.


For non-Google employees I can recommend the ScrapBook firefox extension. It can provide similar functionality as Om describes. I use it to save code snippets, lengthy command, etc. A must have!

Om Malik

Actually not a blog – email goes into a big box and they use their own search to basically build an index out of it, which people use. not such a bad idea.

Rex Dixon

Little things like this is the reason why Google is where they are today. I like the idea, and think it’s a very good one.


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