To paraphrase some Cal/UC Berkeley professor that I cannot remember, he said that the problem with scaling is that when you go up a magnitude or more, you may need a qualitatively different solution for the same problem. Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat and their team have time and time again managed to design and build state-of-the-art, qualitatively different solutions (MapReduce, BigTable, Spanner). And now their team's attention is on AI...
2016 (might be more recent ones) update on AI at Google
Video of full lecture:
EDIT: Sanjay Ghemawat and Jeff are like the dynamic duo of large scale systems engineering.
Never been to Berkeley but I've heard something similar enough times that I've adopted it as one of my own aphorisms.
When the order of magnitude changes, so do the good solutions.
(This is also my thesis for why we keep repeating software history. We stop using a solution because it doesn't work with the current ratio of speed or costs for network, memory, storage and processing. Then someone introduces 10GB networking or SSD disks and the old solution works for 5 more years until someone introduces a new CPU that scales better horizontally or vertically and we start over.)
I can't believe he left CG behind :(
Yes, Danger/HipTop, YouTube, and Keyhole are arguably the three smartest acquisitions that Google made.
Also ops is engineering and has been since before Google existed.
"Success" is the result of a very large equation with many variables, and having (some of) the right people is only a few of them.
I do agree that management was the critical ingredient - my former VP at Google (employee #48) credited Urs Hoelzle (employee #9, and Google's first VP) as a key ingredient to Google's success. Ironically, though, Google hired Western Digital's management as well - SVP Alan Eustace came from there - and yet the team under Eustace at Google was much more effective than the team under Eustace at Western Digital.
I suspect that management has sort of a "gatekeeping" effect - if all of your management is good, the whole department does great things, but if a single link in the org chart is a dufus, the whole organization will fail. When I joined Google in 2009, my whole management chain (6 levels, up to Eric Schmidt) were all engineers, and it showed.
So true. As an engineer, the most direct impact on my productivity has been the team and manager. But the manager is a SPOF: if he/she is bad, then my productivity suffers.
I have yet to work in an organization where there was a good chain as you mention though. Maybe that's what sets Google apart. Smaller companies tend to have shorter management chains and I prefer them for that reason.
Dozens have companies have benefited from the diaspora of DEC, and now Sun.
You might actually be thinking of Jeff's Stanford talk from a few years ago (2011). Slide 21 of:
Ensure your design works if scale changes by 10X or 20X
but the right solution for X often not optimal for 100X
Also TPU2 is the only decent alternative to NVidia hardware in production, so that's a decent sign.
Googles AI blows every other companies out of the water.
> Just because you can build a bigger bridge doesn't mean you're a good car designer.
What? How is that analogous?
That is certainly true, but that could also mean that Google will be the first company to hit certain unsurpassable road-blocks. Just look at Google Translate, which IMO hasn’t qualitatively improved for the better for at least 2 years now, even though most probably the data on which it is based is at least an order of magnitude “bigger”. The same might also happen to autonomous driving.
For me, duckduckgo.com is as good as Google but I still use Google because it's the default search engine for Chrome's address bar - And that's where I do all my searches from these days. If Duckduckgo made their own browser which was of the same quality as Chrome then I would definitely consider using it and switching to Duckduckgo for search as well.
I've tried to use DuckDuckGo several times, each time I've quickly found myself trawling page after page of results, reverted to Google and found the stuff I was after on page one.
It's not because duckduckgo finds everything I want, it's because I've noticed that when ddg doesn't find something usually google doesn't either. Also whenever I end up on google now (generally because I forgot to change the search engine after a fresh install) I find the website cluttered which is a shame because it used to be in Google's DNA to keep the search page simple.
For instance I just made a completely random search on Google just to see what it would look like: https://svkt.org/~simias/up/20180727-235325_tou.png
What the hell is all of that stuff? If I wanted to browse the stock exchange or google maps I would. "People also search for" well good for them I guess.
The one area where Google search provides me with a notably better experience is in image search.
Ironically, my biggest complaint is the search - a number of queries that I'd expect to "just work" on Google, DDG really struggles with. There actually is a noticeable difference in quality between them.
Chrome allows you as well.
I wondered why he didn't switch to Google or something else at the time and it used to annoy me whenever I was using his desktop for anything. Then I took a look into it and found out that he actually couldn't set his default search engine through his browser anymore, in Firefox or Chrome actually.
It was a browser extension. For that entire time there was a piece of spyware on his computer probably watching all of his browsing that he probably could have figured out about himself, if he wasn't too lazy to just switch his search engine. Once I looked into it, it took all of five minutes (if that) to figure out what was happening and remove the problem, and he's not exactly tech illiterate. He literally just didn't care or want to take the time to switch his search engine.
That's a data point. Just one, anecdotal data point, but take it how you will.
As late as 2013, my coworkers and I would mock the Wall Street analysts who covered Google because (you could tell from their questions on the earnings call) they assumed that the Internet was no longer growing. So all the focus was on CPCs and Google's ability to monetize, when the number of queries had quadrupled over the previous 4 years. You can hold monetization absolutely constant and if usage is growing 400%, your revenue will grow 400%.
Just two days ago Google's earnings came out and people were wondering how they still managed 20% YoY growth. Some of that undoubtedly came from Cloud & other emerging businesses, but I'd bet that the Internet is still growing.
CoinBase is trying to pull off the same thing with crypto - they're a critical onramp for people wanting to get started with a new, fast-growing technology. Regulators & the press always fight the last war, though - they're focused on Google and Facebook rather than on the next wave of giant monopolies.
People always underestimate the potential size of consumer markets, because their perspective is human-centric. Before they & their friends adopt a new technology, it's a toy or a fad and will never catch on. Afterwards, everybody they know already uses it, so of course it's old news. Few people realize that "everybody they know" is less than one millionth of all of humanity, or that if you're in a developed country you will get innovations 10-20 years before the rest of the world does, or that if you're in a tech metropolis in a developed country you will get them ~5 years before the rest of the country. "The future is here, it's just unevenly distributed."
Most Americans have not accepted that premise (and I don't exclude myself...I'm on the fence as for whether crypto is a bubble or the future of world commerce). However, I'll point out that in 1996 when Larry/Sergey/Scott Hassan were first working on Google, it was far from obvious that the web would be a big thing. Streaming audio (via RealAudio/WMP/etc.) was a year in the future; most Americans had 14.4K connections that made it impossible (my first MP3 took 2 hours to download a 5 minute song). E-commerce was clunky and sluggish, and the big "order everything online!" push was 2 years in the future.
There were only 36M users online, roughly the same order as the number of Bitcoin users in the U.S. (Bitcoin has more international adoption though). Interactive websites were almost unknown, because the technology really didn't support it. Most people used the web for porn, or to lookup song lyrics and share their favorite bands, or to share scientific information.
It wasn't until the early 2000s, after the dot-com bubble burst and yet people continued using the Internet (and found a lot of new uses for it, like dating/socializing/paying for things/watching videos/sharing photos/finding lodging), that it became apparent that it was really here to stay. Not coincidentally, those were Google's biggest growth years.
No such thing is happening with bitcoin. You can't scale something to internet levels if its banned in half the worlds research labs.
When you say "users", what do these users "use" Bitcoin for besides speculating on its price?
Do you know of any real usage?
Ethereum is currently used for startup fundraising via ICO, for tokens in collectible games (Cryptokitties), to distribute ad revenue from browsing the web (Brave), to incentivize participation on curated social news sites (Steemit), for decentralized prediction markets (Augur), to get paid for donating computing power (Golem), and of course for speculation. Possibly others I'm not aware of too.
If you accept it sure. However, the utility between the internet and cryptocurrencies are vastly different.
The internet provides light speed communication and seeing as we are a species built upon communication, communicating from days to fraction of a second which is also orders of magnitude cheaper (granted, not at the start but it got there and cryptocurrencies have not solved the scaling problem (cost) yet) is hugely beneficial. The benefits are completely obvious.
Cryptocurrencies provide you the ability to incentivize people you cannot trust to spend money to secure a network in the hopes that the cost of securing the network is greater than the cost of someone oversupplying your network and stealing your money.
Also, the benefits of control not being enforceable by a central authority is a bad thing in most cases and the few that are useful are outweighed by in pretty much every use case the billions of dollars it costs to run those computers to secure it.
It has been almost 10 years since the bitcoin network started, where is its killer use case?
Lastly, the billions of dollars spent to pay for the decentralized network to secure it are mostly payed for by creating new coins. At the end of the mining timeline, they will have to rely purely on transaction fees to pay for the costs to secure the network and the billions of dollars used to do so currently at a fraction of the scale Visa does will likely never outweigh the benefits of decentralization.
TLDR: Running decentralized nodes to recompute the same transactions to protect against untrusted nodes will always be more expensive than running each transaction on a single node on a trusted server.
Coinbase is a bet on the idea that there's enough crypto-enthusiasm that they can capture a small part of a lot money while it lasts.
Our personal perception of the size of a network is directly proportional to the value that we get from it. Extrapolating from that we estimate a square law. However we are neither aware of nor directly value the long tail of people distant from us in the network. From multiple ways of estimating, the value of that tail works out to be O(log(N)), leading to a O(N log(N)) valuation for a network.
Since a novel network might be able to selectively recruit high-value nodes, this sets up the serial monopoly / collapse / new monopoly dynamic.
A few other dynamics added (Gresham's law, tyranny of minimum viable user) accentuate this.
Are we forever resigned to serial monopolies when it comes to certain aspects of the internet ? Or, would it be wiser for us to construct multiple, smaller networks wherein the connections are more valid/constructive for the individual participants ? Very intriguing questions...
That's an excellent question, and one I'm considering.
The dynamic I describe seems to produce those. And monopolies and networks are tightly related.
In particular, it seems to me that very nearly all monopolies have a network element, expressed physically or logically. You may have to squint at times to see it.
But is the converse true? Do all networks create monopolies? Here I think the answer is no, in which case the question becomes "why not".
That might hold some clues.
Open protocols, counterveiling networks, various forms of friction, and holding specific control points open, all seem to help.
Previously to buy ads you had to call someone, get dinner with some weird guy, make tons of calls, get crappy click rates, trust the other companies 'reporting', pay for impression ads (wtf). It was a mess. You also had to do this with 23 DIFFERENT companies, which were all different. Google wasn't the first, but they did follow through and make a great way to advertise with self serve.
Selling ads is awesome. No overhead, no rotting inventory, no operations mess. It scales infinitely naturally. It is clean easy cash. Everything else they do is a huge side show to distract people.
Or attract more people to use their services to sell more ads
And now we're at the point where more than half of all digital ad revenue in some countries are pocketed by Facebook and Google.
"Do you know what kind of company Google is?"
"Sure, everyone thinks you're a tech company or a search company or whatever - but Google is an advertising company, and thats it. All the other stuff distracts from the fact that youre just the most profitable ad company."
That is pretty much the most anti-google culture perspective statement you could have said. If there was ever an argument for culture fit, this is it.
THen next day, they called and said I would not receive an offer and would not give a reason.
THey invited me to interview for that position multiple times over the next couple of years and I finally had to ask them to stop recruiting me for that position... they stopped. :-(
>"Sure, everyone thinks you're a tech company or a search company or whatever - but Google is an advertising company, and thats it. All the other stuff distracts from the fact that youre just the most profitable ad company."
When given the opportunity to demonstrate nuanced thinking, you've boiled down a really complex and large thing into a simple platitude. "Google is an advertising company, and thats it". Really, is that the full story? You truly think that?
I mean if that were the case and you wanted to be genuine you could at least dive to another level and explain why or how.
And for reference it probably would have been okay to say 'No, I'm not sure what kind of company Google is. I know that you guys do X and Y, but I know there's some other stuff too, but I don't have any insight because I don't work here'
You say "in terms of revenue and profit...". Oh! Great point. I'd say you are right. What if you were to frame it in other terms?
I mean if the entirety of Google can be summed up in 3 sentences, what topics in the world do you consider to have depth?
Imo it's looking at a Shakespeare sonnet and saying 'yeah it's fucking poem'
You recommend that as a path forward for people who interview at your company or at Google in the future?
Look I understand sometimes people don't want to work at a certain company. But typically it's better to decline the interview than to show up and be smug or righteous about it.
No one at Google has qualms about working at an ad company? No one at Facebook does?
For some people, a job is a job. It doesn't have to be a calling or a mission. I personally wouldn't work in ad-tech for personal reasons, but clearly most of our industry would. Are 100% of those people fine with what their company does? Clearly at Facebook they aren't.
Honesty isn't combative, and if the interviewers say that honest answer in that way, then it would reflect their own misgivings about Google's business model, wouldn't it?
But read his reply again: >"Sure, everyone thinks you're a tech company or a search company or whatever - but Google is an advertising company, and thats it. All the other stuff distracts from the fact that youre just the most profitable ad company."
"an advertising company, _and thats it_" (emphasis mine)
"your _just_ the most profitable ad company" (emphasis mine)
Really? It's that far in 1 direction
If you really think that, fine it's your opinion and you are entitled to that, but I encourage you to seek multiple perspectives in the future.
I've already conceded that google is an ad company from a rev perspective since it's 87% ads. But you can't concede to me (the interviewer) that maybe there's something else going on and your legit view of the other people at the company is that they are just "distractions"?
Like seriously, you don't have to put up these tough walls. I'm just an internet stranger. Just be real for a moment. Is that what you really think? It's the last time I'll ask.
: to elaborate, I was under the impression that the whole point of anti-monopoly regulations was to protect consumers from monopolistic predatory practices, not to prevent monopolies from actually existing per se.
Hence my question: is there anyone actually being hurt by the currently limited choice of search engines or phone operating systems?
Also, what prevents someone from trying to build a much better one?
If Google starts to misbehave as a monopoly, fine, let the USG (themselves a monopoly, btw) do their thing go after them.
But as long as they provide a superior service for free (yeah, I know, you're the product, blah, blah), I'm not sure I'm seeing the problem.
We could have missed out on the opportunity for something better than Android being developed and we'll never know. It's called dumping; flooding the market with something free to kill competition and make sure Google is in the majority of hands in Europe.
AFAIK the terms didn't limit any other operating systems not based on Android.
The dumping part is still valid because any OS that isn't free and relies on licencing can't complete with an OS that makes it money from a secondary business like search and advertising.
Google gave away Android to make sure it dominated mobile advertising. Any OS reliying on profits directly from licencing the OS cannot complete.
Is Firefox also dumping, since it's available for free, funded by donations and the default search provider?
Firefox and Linux don't work to stop competition in the same way. Neither care if manufactures provide other options or flavors and Linux especially has commercial forks like OSX and Android.
Say you do a search for a particular location, the first thing that pops up to the the top of the page is a box with some information pulled from wikipedia and a link/image of it on google maps. Search for a band, and you see the same with links to youtube and google music. Search for online storage and you see the same thing.
While google has been audited time and time again to prove that their search engine totally allows competitors to make an impact against some of these sorts of things. Even without the box, the builder of the worlds most used search engine is certainly very good at search engine optimization for their own products.
It's not really their fault they're head and shoulders above the competition/the de-facto provider for most of the content people search for every day (well, maybe it is their fault, but it's not a bad thing).
Having a monopoly in a market due to the fact that your product is just that good isn't a bad thing, and punishing companies for being successful sets an awful precedent (which is why breaking up Google isn't going to happen). From search, maps, email, YouTube, and to photos, Google products are widely used because they're completely free (aside from the data collection portion) and they're best in class.
Please don't lie to us and act like Google's monopoly position is hurting the market. I'm sure Google is doing some shady stuff on the edges, but nothing so egregious to warrant antitrust action.
I think your confusing googles monopoly not hurting the market with not hurting their consumers. But to suggest that they don't make it near impossible for anyone to compete against them is absolutely them hurting the market. Namely, the equity value of google would be more balanced with other smaller firms, and in turn we'd see more very rich people rather than fewer people with net worths well over 10 billion.
I have no doubts why I do this; YouTube provides a far better experience. It's incredibly bandwidth efficient even when my connection is slow, it's very responsive when seeking, and their time-to-first-video-frame is really good. And perhaps most importantly, it's consistently good. I don't get UI or playback issues every 10th video.
I cannot say the same for any other video host I've come across in my life. It's ridiculous how far ahead YouTube is on technology alone, and I still haven't found any site that can match it.
They tend to release great products, their problem is that they just don't always do it first.
Why would that be a good thing? Or rather, a better thing than the current situation? Why would that even be desirable?
Again, antitrust laws exist for one reason: to protect consumers. Not to implement someone's idea of an ideal society or market.
If you believe e.g. that company equity should be more uniformly distributed, go talk to your congressman, have him draft a law to that effect and get congress to vote on it.
Because wealth inequality is massively harmful for society. It's the sort of thing that leads to revolution.
If you believe e.g. that company equity should be more uniformly distributed, go talk to your congressman, have him draft a law to that effect and get congress to vote on it.
and then Google writes him a check and the whole thing goes away. Biggest lobbyist around.
Hunger, poverty, lack of education, lack of access to medical care, etc.. is harmful to society and leads to revolutions and whatever root cause leads to those is to be fought against.
Except that wealth inequality isn't such a root cause.
Wealth inequality isn't and has never been a problem except in the minds of utopian ideologues, collectivists or people with a basic jealousy problem.
So USA has a high median income, so we have high education outcomes, high healthcare outcomes, right? We certainly have the best schools and the best hospitals. But only the top few percentile can afford the best schools and best hospitals, everyone else gets left behind.
But we have higher infant mortality than many countries with lower incomes, and we don't compete so well when it comes to average assessment scores.
Naturally I was exposed to this thinking via a TED talk years ago, from this guy:
Maybe you want to offer a rebuttal, or maybe you just want to insist he's jealous.
"Let them eat cake"
> Hunger, poverty, lack of education, lack of access to medical care, etc...
All of these woes were in play at that time.
Unlike the poster above who showed a source that tries (and fails imo) to show causation between wealth inequality and said woes, you provided exactly zero value to the conversation.
And when they do do stuff that is so egregious but they are too big ($$$) how are you going to stop them from abuse? Isn't this why, for example, people absolutely loathe telecom/ISPs? Sure they were great when the internet first came out ("it was just that good"), but now look how abusive they are since only a few co's own the copper that runs into your house.
Also, being a multibillion dollar company and using your billions in one product line to either prop up or build another product isn't illegal. It's just business.
The competition sucked and they have yet to make something better.
Part of it is the fact that they had historically been able to subsidize the monetization potential of their other services in order to out compete those who needed their services to make money.
The other half is more speculation, but certainly very possible, that they've been able to play this game for a long enough time that they have been able to use search to build these brands in such a way that makes us think of them first for all of these services. Brand power is a very powerful thing, and considering the fact that they have a subsidized ability to advertise to us (both through promoting things in search, and by not needing to pay themselves for adsense/adwords) is what has made these the more high quality services over time since we have given our data to them.
This said, I agree with you on everything else you've said.
I'd argue that having a single entity have such power over something so critical as being bad by nature. Concentrated power is the root of evil.
Google has too much power. They should be broken up for hte good of society.
Every major US tech company is being fined in the EU nowadays. Poor EU regulation shouldn't dictate US policy.
And what exactly would "US policy" be in this context?
You're saying Google provided you with exactly the information you were looking for in the first place. And for free, btw.
That clearly can't be allowed to stand.
If apple and google traded maps products, it's very likely that web and android users would still largely use the google one more often than apple maps is being used now since they have more power to guide you into using the product. The same applies to them advertising chrome when you open up another browser to google.com.
I don't use it because it isn't better. I'm not going to switch to something of equal value. Make something better and then I'll switch.
Behemoths like Google emerge every time new inventions lead to the creation of new markets followed by mass adoption during a relatively short timeframe, when regulations don't exist yet. It has happened in history time and time again (Standard Oil, Detroit Big 3, etc.) It's not entirely preventable, but it requires awareness foremost and then the (political/societal) will to deal with it.
I'm not sure if the same was also true for doubleclick (I don't know enough about ad tech).
The mobile picture is a lot less clear. Perhaps a dominant open source solution would have emerged. Samsung has shown itself to be mediocre at producing competitive origination platforms, so I'm highly skeptical they'd have produced the big leading platform. Apple's iOS would have never held the dominate market share, because they're universally the high profit small share player. China only came on in the last few years in terms of their ability to originate such a platform, and the rest of the planet is simply not going to adopt a Chinese platform as the 85% global market solution. The Europeans have been entirely absent post Nokia's implosion. So who else was going to fund the expensive creation of and shepherding of something like Android? Nobody. Google deserves vast credit for that accordingly as well.
If they were capable of making a success of video without buying YouTube why did they buy it in the first place. Video.google.com was developer internally, YouTube thrashed it, Google gave up and bought YouTube.
I'm curious though, was this always supposed to be the case? I think Apple has adapted amazingly well to the market (look at their profits) but I don't think there's any evidence that this has been a holistic, from the start business strategy for them.
I know my Elementary and High schools had Macs because of Apple's aggressive Educational discounts, and at the time it was generally accepted that Apple was trying to get a generation of kids used to Macs so that they would be the mainstream computer when they reached adulthood. Ultimately we were all forced to use Wintel boxes when we got jobs so this play didn't work. Apple didn't get in bed with businesses the same way they did with schools.
Then when we swing over to iOS, the first iPhones were premium devices because they _had_ to be. The hardware required to realize their vision was bleeding edge and they knew it would take a few years to commoditize it. Ultimately Android popped up and stole the budget market (with crappy devices, some of them having keyboards and resistive touchscreens) before Apple felt comfortable putting out something budget like the 5c much too late.
Steve Jobs basically admitted the Apple approach only works in that model. In the 2007 Jobs / Gates discussion at D5 . He pointed out that the whole thing only works because
of PC guy (they were joking about the PC guy vs Mac guy ads). What he meant was, the Apple approach requires that context. Where they can be the high quality, high profit, smaller market share position and always have the PC guy competitor as the contrast to amplify their own appeal.
If everyone has a Gucci bag, it's not a Gucci bag any longer.
The best thing that ever happened to Apple, was Google buying and building up Android as the 85% market player. Jobs should have been thanking them every day for that perceived betrayal. The ideal was always to have another PC guy scenario to play off of. You want tons of shitty Android phones out there in the market to compete against. Let them have the worthless bottom ~50% of the market financially, where there's zero profit to be had and lots of mediocre consumer experiences. That makes what Apple does a lot easier, in terms of pitching their value proposition to customers.
With the EU fining Google 5 Billion dollars for essentially bundling search to google play in order to make some money off of all the money Google spent on android, the EU has shown that the Apple model is the only real way to go.
IOS is way more restrictive than android and they can get away with it because they only make expensive devices that only a subset of people can pay for thus isolating themselves from antitrust arguments.
Is that true? That doesn't match the definition of any antitrust regulation I'm aware of. AFAIK antitrust regulation is intended to enforce _fairness_, not _innovation_. Often the two go hand in hand, of course, but I think it's worth not conflating the two.
The idea of anti-trust regulation is to break up companies that cornered a market, that is, (mostly) prevented competition on it. Breaking them up serves to make more, smaller companies (out of the split giant) that would start to compete again.
Anti-trust laws can be seen as pro-market laws that try to prevent long periods of monopolized markets without waiting for a naturally occurring disruption, instead providing a mandated disruption.
Whether it's _efficient_, and whether it works as intended, can be discussed.
I think something for folks to keep in mind is that much of the US antitrust laws were made back in the early 1900s to combat _literal_ monopolies, objective collusion between companies to harm consumers, and so on. We're talking price fixing here.
> Anti-trust laws can be seen as pro-market laws that try to prevent long periods of monopolized markets without waiting for a naturally occurring disruption, instead providing a mandated disruption.
This sentence is dangerous: it is very close to saying that any long-term, successful company should be "disrupted". Interpreted differently it could be read that startups should have some inherent right to evenly compete with large companies (by fining or splitting up large companies to be "beatable" by startups).
Again, that is not all the point of anti trust laws. I won't argue whether there should be laws like that (as you can tell, I think not), but the anti trust regulation in the USA is definitely squarely aimed at _actual_ monopolies and collusion.
No it isn't. "Successful company" and "company that has cornered/monopolized their market" are not even close to the same thing.
Anti-trust laws don't aim to make competition fair, they aim to make it possible.
Bell the telecom company was a monopoly that financed Bell Labs. Bell Labs did not go down in flames when Bell was partitioned in 1982, and continued providing the world with great achievements.
Also, while Xerox PARC was also a legendary research institution in its day, I don't put it at the scale of Bell Labs, which touched a much broader array of fields. To quantify this distinction, compare the research budgets in 2018 dollars:
- Xerox PARC: ~$450 million (http://articles.latimes.com/2001/dec/12/business/fi-parc12)
- Bell Labs: $6 billion (https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2015/08/comparing-research-bud...)
These sources might be imperfect.
I guess it's totally different because google only uses their duopoly position in ads to finance everything else.
It was much better to work for these companies back then. Now, everything is super efficient and all that extra value the technicians generate go straight to executives and shareholders.
The problem is we're just being slowly boiled so nothing has been done to stop the complete perversion of democracy and slide into a corporate oligarchy.
As has been mentioned a bunch of times here, Google and Facebook have all too naturally embraced Microsoft's (and prior monopolies' ) approach of embrace, extend, and extinguish. There were at least 2-3 articles this week about the games Google plays (e.g. youtube loading faster on Chrome due to Google going ahead with their own suggested implementation without consensus).
I don't think there is any economic model out there that even argues monopolies are a good idea in some fashion.
Are they blocking other browsers from utilizing said efficient tool because claiming that they are purposefully slowing other browsers is disingenuous as they are almost certainly just optimizing efficiency between their various products (chrome and youtube).
Blaming google for optimizing their systems without supporting every other possible system under the sun is beyond ridicules. Nobody has the engineering capacity to perfectly optimize their services for every use case.
yes, basically true, i think. the article says Google spent more money on lobbying last year than any other corporation...
why does Google think that spending money in this way is useful? what does Google get in return? how does Google explain to shareholders that this is not a waste?
It's not useful, it's required. You have two choices. You can do the equivalent of what Microsoft did for a long time, and hide in the Pacific Northwest and pray that the Monster in DC just leaves you alone, while all of your competitors lobby to have you destroyed. You will not be left alone no matter what, if you achieve that kind of success, no matter how you achieve it. The only rational choice, is to get in the game and try to influence the outcome, which is what all of your competitors are going to be doing. Microsoft learned that very painful lesson after waiving at the US Government for years and thinking they could ignore what was going on with their competitors lobbying. Google learned from Microsoft's mistake, and got in almost immediately once their position became dominant.
With the politics in DC, you're either in it defending your position, or you're dinner being served up by your competitors who are very aggressively in it and trying to use the political machine against you as a weapon. The US has a $7 trillion government system top to bottom, one third the size of the economy. There's no avoiding that.
a skeptical journalist or consumer might immediately conclude that Google is unfairly influencing government to create an unlevel playing field.
but i'm genuinely curious to hear how Google would spin it.
If you are not for technological progress, is the corollary true, that you are for technological stagnation? Is not tech stagnation also tech attrition?
Edit: am I really being downvoted for asking for evidence that technological progress (the driving force that made all people on Earth extraordinaly more rich) is bad? What is wrong with you, people?
In the 19th- early 20th century they were treating radioactive substances like they were chew toys (making toys etc). The worst nuclear accident happened near lake Karachay, because they had the technology to create nuclear weapons, but did not understand, or knew the danger and how to manage the waste. (Russians were trying to catch up and create their own arsenal, had acquired fragmented knowledge that were piecing together.)
Besides I could just as easily say some knowledge is good and some knowledge is bad. If you want to say that "knowledge is definitely not bad" then I'm going to ask you your own question - can you support that statement?
False. Every day, dozens of thousands of people in academia engage in basic research (actual term), something that does not lead to "usable technology" most of the time.
> some knowledge is good and some knowledge is bad
Are you saying that guns kill people? I thought that people kill people, using guns.
I don't understand why you're resorting to metaphor, I think what I said was pretty clear. Can you support the statement that all knowledge is good?
At least read the pagers linked. I strongly recommend the book in its entirety.
One might also argue that European model is better because it might prevent one company from dominating the market. But if that is the case, why does EU face technology dominance from American companies (smartphones, search, e-commerce, operating systems etc), rather than having that marketshare captured by European companies?
That argument has been made and argued by a number of economists -- will try to find some citations if I get the time -- feel free to google scholar in the meantime.
I understand the fear of regulation that exists, however we need to take a step back from time to time and evaluate the options. Right now, U.S. has really shitty internet (I am serious, price/value is really bad...), because the 3-4 companies, crash smaller ones or bully them into suicidal terms; and have shared the U.S. pie among them. (I bet in your area only 1 carrier has acceptable speeds -- given you have more than one.) The companies were paid though to improve the infrastructure and people chose to effectively let them roam free. They pocketed the cash.
I am sorry, but Braess's paradox  is real.
ASML. The entire SV depends on it.
Seimens is a very old - 170 years old - industrial conglomerate. That's like using GE, Berkshire Hathaway or 3M as an example.
Nokia is barely a good example. They're a $30b market cap company, Google can sneeze and lose or gain that in a day. Texas Instruments and Broadcom are worth 3x what Nokia is; Cisco is worth 7x Nokia. In a land of giants, Nokia is pretty small.
SAP is a very serious tech company, and by far the only good big tech example Europe has today. They're slow growth, have a $140b market cap, with $4b in profit (equal to about a month of Apple's profit). They're less than half the size of Oracle and will be eclipsed in size by Salesforce in the near future.
ARM was one of the more exciting European opportunities, until Softbank ate them. NXP might be able to make some good growth moves now that they're apparently not ending up in the belly of a US giant. I could see them forging a good path as an independent.
Spotify might have a bright future. They have to make a decision soon about whether they're going to be culturally an acquiring and aggressive growth company, or whether they're going to watch that extreme valuation (which they can probably never justify given the margin situation) disappear and get acquired in the next market downturn. If they play their cards right, they could be a legitimate long-term $30b-$50b market cap media/tech company (legitimate as in actually backing that up with earnings).
I think Europe's big opportunity, broadly speaking, is in artificial intelligence over the next decade plus. That's a solid inflection point where some new big companies will emerge. Europe has tons of AI talent to make something happen there (if they don't all sell out to big US or Chinese tech).
I can only see this happening if the the US doesn't continue sucking up the best talent in the field, which is unfortunately very often the case over the last 20 years. Europe is pretty un-competitive in terms of remuneration, especially for those at the leading edge of AI work. Many European markets need to wake up and start treating their software engineering grads better, today it too often feels like they get lumped with 'the IT guys' rather than seen as a creative instrument for new business ideas. How you fix this culture I have no idea though.
I actually think a more difficult immigration environment in the USA could be a potential factor in improving Europe's fortunes, if it stems the leak of smart people leaving. The recent change in posture over things like the H1-B visa, the likely rescinding of the right to work on an H4 dependent visa especially (this would prevent a huge number of immigrant spouses from being able to work if their partner moves to the US - this makes a job in the USA a much harder sell for married couples), could have a pretty big chilling effect.
Also, Nokia and Siemens were founded in the 1800s, they did not emerge in "the last 20 years". SAP dates to the 1970s as well.
It pains me to admit as a European, but the lack of any real large modern internet success stories to emerge from our continent is a real shame.
I wonder if Snap suffers from similair thinking.
Part of the reason why Google can have a clear and good user experience, is because they can afford it. On the other hand, for smaller company, not meeting user count goals could mean not getting funding and die. This will force them to nag the users to get them to install the app, even if doing that could annoy some of the users.
And this is pretty much a classic example of why monopoly is bad.
If beating Google was as simple as needing more money to build a better product, then why couldn't startups just pitch that to investors and raise more funding? Probably because beating Google is harder than throwing money at a random startup's app.
At that rate you might as well outlaw venture capital funds because they disadvantage people trying to bootstrap their own startup.
There are certainly many reasons why monopolies are bad, but having capital is not one of them.
> Part of the reason why Google can have a clear and good user experience, is because they can afford it. On the other hand, for smaller company, not meeting user count goals could mean not getting funding and die. This will force them to nag the users to get them to install the app, even if doing that could annoy some of the users.
They don't have to do that. They can use the same tracking resources that other online companies use to show increased usage.
I'm not saying that I have a better solution. But their current solution is sub-optimal. Their website is crap, looks outdated. What are they even working on?
They have a monopoly on what people see when they want to find something, and can use that to point you to google properties, or should they expand into further ventures such as selling their own goods, move you away from other retailers.
IOW, just like i wonder if i'm missing an excellent restaurant when i search for restaurants in Yelp, i also wonder if i'm missing an excellent review website when i search for "restaurant reviews" on Google.
This hurts MapQuest's brand, gives people malware, and of course, conveniently, makes Google a lot of money. They've been doing it for at least a number of years. There is no way to report the malicious ad to Google, and I've seen the exact same site over and over again confusing computer illiterate users into believing MapQuest requires they download a plugin.
A significant portion of Google's ad business is malware content, and they put it above legitimate rankings. Which is to say, Google is not downranking bad sites for being bad, Google is downranking sites who don't pay them for the privilege of being on top.
Google doesn't care about MapQuest and it remains the top non-advertised listing for searching MapQuest. MapQuest is a has-been and it has nothing to do with Google's ranking them, and everything to do with a terrible UI that was entirely inferior to Maps on release.
Those of us in the tech industry don't use MapQuest. We don't click on ads. A lot of us have ad blockers. So we don't really think about the fact that the cushy online presence adtech has built for us is built on taking advantage of less technologically savvy. You may not pay for Google, but indirectly, the old lady down the block does, every time she has to take her computer into Best Buy to have the garbage scrubbed off of it.
And where the antitrust drops back in: Google doesn't let people bid on ads for their own products, so "google maps" never returns a malicious map site.
And, as I noted above, this site's been heavily promoted in Google Ads for years, at least five, and there's no way to report it in Google Search. Several Google employees are likely reading this thread who have the ability to do something about it or know who to escalate it to, but I'm reasonably confident it'll still be there next week.
Because I just did a few hours ago, and its since been taken down.
(I work at Google, but I submitted this report via a funnel that afaik can be accessed by the public)
I see a dropdown that offers me a single option: "Why this ad?", which of course, just tells me it's based on my current search terms since I have personalization off. Clicking Ad Settings didn't bring me a report option either. I was kinda expecting a button like the "Report Ad" button you can see if you look at an ad on DuckDuckGo.
EDIT: I've bookmarked the below link and will use it liberally against malware.
...And I'll use the generic "submit feedback" button to point out I should really just be able to report a bad ad on the ad itself.
(Note: "Send feedback" has gotten pretty obscure on Google Search, nobody scrolls that far! On Google+, it's always on the left, on Gmail it's on the settings gear (I checked Settings on Google Search first and didn't find it there.)
As far as I know, there should be a "send feedback" button on the bottom of pretty much any page. It could be used for something like this, although I have no idea how long resolution would take in that case.
There's also this form, which I found by Googling "report bad Google ad" (its accessible via the first result). This is essentially what I did.
Specifically, in every test I've ever run, Google puts http://www.mapsanddrivingdirection.com/Maps as the ad run above the official MapQuest link. It's a company out of Cyprus that repackages OpenStreetMap data with a big giant "Download to Continue" button when you try to get directions.
I can tell you the download requests admin privileges on your machine to install (aka, is not just an extension alone), and overrides your New Tab page and changes your search provider. I will admit I didn't have the courage to actually install it anywhere to confirm the extent of it's behavior, but placing the registry key that disables Chrome auto-updates is pretty par for the course on these type of infections.
Here's a screenshot I took on July 18th: https://twitter.com/ocdtrekkie/status/1019593753227681793
Clearly Microsoft had no dearth of talent or money. So how come it could not keep Google at bay? In my view the answer lies in the fact that Google's engineering led culture meant they could follow a release cadence that is unheard of for such large systems. Chrome was releasing every 6 weeks, and Android every 3-6 months or so in the early days. Meanwhile we had 1.5 - 2 years between each Windows Phone release.
When Chrome started, IE had nearly 70% market share and the benefit of being deployed on nearly every computer on earth. Microsoft was in the mobile phone market from 2000. In 2011, IDC predicted Windows Phone would overtake the iPhone. Both Google and Microsoft were taken aback by the iPhone, but Google was able to turn on a dime, Microsoft was not. Google achievement has been to stay agile even as it grew big - in my view this remains the secret to their success.
Same goes for the public cloud. Although Google had the app engine, they did not aggressively invest in it. Azure clearly over took Google in cloud space.
I am sure there would be many such examples from all the Tech Giants.
You also did not feel that you were being given something for free that had a catch to it - see HN story today about prisons getting 'free' tablets.
Make no mistake, Microsoft can do free very nicely too - Internet Explorer in the Netscape days was partly ascendant for doing 'free' very well at a time when Netscape was emerging from 'shareware'. But with Microsoft 'free' you always felt that you were a pawn in their plans for global domination, to blot out the rivals.
I think that Google came along with a great series of products and services that put the user first with an ethos that Microsoft, Apple and others just did not 'get'. Although Chrome was marketed with billboards and a link in the search results, the real work on adoption was done by the users recommending the superior, user centric product to their workmates, friends and family.
And i think Microsoft could have done this too. But perhaps the conflict between improving the open web vs pushing their own operating system was a conflict they never resolved internally, giving Google the time and space it needed to outflank them. And Google moved fast enough, and as you have said, created a great enough user experience, that it could quickly establish a strong foothold.
I think if Microsoft had truly been focused on keeping IE as the best browser in the world, it would have been difficult to displace given its dominance.
Chrome's success could be due to Google having an ad for Chrome at the top of the most visited site of the internet.
I don't believe the licensing cost of Windows Phone was what led to its downfall. The Nokia deal probably cost Microsoft more than any licensing fee it would have collected. Microsoft had the money and the presence in the market to out compete Google. It just did not have the right product at the right time.
Google had better leadership and easier choices. They had no prexisting customers or partners to annoy.
Companies get wacky like this on top. Think about a certain computer company shippping defective laptops for years to avoid disruption of the product schedule. :)
To say that abuse of monopoly is what has enabled Google to grow big is too simplistic. They have succeeded brilliantly in areas where they had equally big competitors, and failed spectacularly as well in others - social media being the most prominent. But more tech focused readers will recall Wave, or NaCl. Then are cases where we have a stalemate for example G Suite, where Microsoft still holds it own with Office.
Google Cloud is a strange case where one can argue that Google has failed to leverage many of its own innovations in containers and other data center infrastructure to achieve a dominant position. I would argue this is a case where Google should have been a market leader and much like Microsoft in the 2000's has frittered away a natural advantage.
> Gary Reback: Some were investigated, but only superficially, the government just really isn't enforcing our antitrust laws. And that's what's happened. None of these acquisitions have been challenged
Granted, most of Google's 200+ acquisitions would not trigger any scrutiny, but this line is mind boggling.
Talent (especially vetted talent) is both scarce and hard (expensive) to identify.
Buying Android hardly would have triggered anti-trust investigations given Apple's significant market share at the time, and the many other significant competitors (BlackBerry and Nokia just to name two).
Same goes with YouTube - Google bought it before it was a smash success, and before people thought that sort of thing would be a major viewership center.
510 Systems and their self driving car really still isn't a money-making center for Google (nor is self-driving technology for anyone at the moment).
Google Apps is a hard sale against Office 365, etc...
I just don't see how any one of these acquisitions, on their own, would have caused government Anti-Trust inquiries... unless your point is Google operates in too many different markets?
Even after Apple did release the iPhone, the strategy behind Android was entirely focused on competing with Microsoft, not Apple. Google was terrified that Microsoft would get into the smartphone OS market and achieve a dominant position, and then muscle Google out of mobile search and advertising. That's why Android is open source (well, mostly). Google made the Android OS free for manufacturers to use with their phones as a way to get them to use Android instead of a Microsoft OS.
The strategy worked brilliantly. Android has done exactly what Google wanted it to accomplish. Microsoft has never gained any meaningful market share in the smartphone market. And between Android and various deals with Apple, Google has a tremendous presence with smartphone users.
You're thinking of the apocryphal story that Google completely pivoted Android when Eric Schmidt heard about the iPhone at the last Apple board meeting before the iPhone announcement
It would be interesting to see how many of these acquisitions are still around. I think survivorship bias is strong here.
Google bought it in July 05, one year after IPO. The smartest phones available were the Blackberry 7750, Motorola Q, and Palm Treo. Google had $3B in revenue in 04 and was on its way to $6B in revenue in 05 when it spent $50MM on Android.
There was no way this acquisition would have been blocked without clairvoyance. Even then "stop this $3B company from buying a startup because it's going to destroy a $35B company in 9 years" is not exactly a compelling argument.
The argument is even more nonsensical than that against Facebook's Instagram acquisition, which is saying something. People argue that DOJ or FTC should have stopped a company that hadn't yet IPOd from buying a company that had raised $7MM (and would raise $50MM a few days before the facebook acquisition).
Sure they're obviously huge in retrospect but they really weren't at the time. Interesting and hot companies die all the time: YikYak and Secret looked like they were going to take over the world at one point.