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Google Announces Plans To Shutter Knol, Friend Connect, And More (techcrunch.com)
19 points by ssclafani on Nov 22, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments

Kinda wish they would keep FriendConnect. It is a nice container to run Javascript apps on 3rd party sites (it proxies your requests so you can call your home server and serve up data). Also, the polling and newsletter apps that are baked into the FriendConnect toolset was sure nice.

Also it kinda sucks that I trusted them to handle the sign-in for my community. 12K users. {Sigh}

I see they are shutting down their clean energy program. The renewable energy cheaper than coal initiative showed a unique level of arrogance. We, a software company, can solve a problem in which we have no experience better than people who have devoted their lives to the subject.

Google runs about 3% of all the webservers in the world. They have a very vested interest in cheap and clean energy.

I don't think it's arrogance at all to launch a program to explore solutions to the problem when they'd be one of the prime beneficiaries of such a program, and given their corporate culture of "fix things that haven't been done right yet".

> We, a software company, can solve a problem in which we have no experience better than people who have devoted their lives to the subject.

The false assumption here is that Google is only a software company. Any company with lots of machines is at least in part a power management / hardware company, and in the field of datacenters, Google is likely the best in the world. They put a lot of engineering into getting heat from point A to point B.

If they were working on data center efficiency, that would be one thing. The RE<C program was an attempt to make solar power more efficient. This involves basic physics, material science, and manufacturing. Nothing that Google had done to that point would qualify them to work in that area.

Nothing Google had done in 1999 would qualify them to dominate internet search or scalability either. This is a fallacy. Asserting that the only people who can productively solve a problem are those who have dedicated their careers to it is just plain wrong. It flies in the face of almost every success story, ever.

That said, clearly they didn't solve this problem. If they were making serious progress, they wouldn't have killed it.

Read about their approach. All the things they attempted seem much more in line with their competencies. http://www.google.org/rec.html

If having experience and dedicating entire lives to the subject was the requirement for success, I think it would be easier to build great companies. 'Experience' can in many ways prohibit innovation because it constrains ones horizon.

Thank god they're getting rid of Knol.

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