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Your disrespectful and patronizing tone is disappointing, but it would be more understandable if it were founded in a deep understanding. Many things whose possibility is now obvious were not obvious at the time; many things that are now being tried will fail.

To pick apart your post:

* "main area of expertise" is not the same thing as "main source of income".

* RankDex or for that matter HITS, is not the same thing as a search engine that you would actually use in preference to AltaVista; 1998 Google was already better than AV for the things that were in its index. Baidu didn't exist as a company until 2000.

* "just a matter of resources and monetizing" is hindsight bias. Hotmail was so sure Gmail was an April Fool's joke that they issued a response press release in which they offered more space than Gmail. The fact that Gmail was capable of offering two orders of magnitude more machine resources was, in large part, a result of internal infrastructural innovations at Google that weren't copied at other companies for many years. Of course, some people dismissed it as a "PR stunt".

* Where2 had a downloadable C++ desktop maps application and an idea about doing it browser-side when Google bought them. Gmail and Google Maps popularized AJAX, which had been previously considered impractical, despite our efforts at KnowNow.

* By "many parts of the world" do you mean a few apartment blocks in Seoul, Hong Kong, and Tokyo? I don't really think Kansas City is comparable in either density or wealth.

* I don't care what's innovative about Android (which, you forgot to mention, started as a separate company, like Where2). I care that I don't have to sign my first-born child away to Apple to program my smartphone. I'd care a lot more if Google had actually achieved what they set out to achieve with Android.

* If you're equating SquirrelFish (pre-Extreme) to the first release of V8, you're living in a fantasy world. There was an order of magnitude difference. Apple and Mozilla closed the gap substantially in the next few months because (a) V8 showed it was possible; (b) V8 showed how it was possible; and (c) V8 made it necessary.

* I meant MapReduce, which is another of those things that's obvious in hindsight, but was actually far from obvious, and which underpins nearly every data-heavy startup today.

* "Would have put out if" is Monday-morning quarterbacking, just like your hindsight bias on the other items. And there are plenty of companies with more money than Google that don't have robot cars on the road.

We'll see what happens with the robot cars and balloon internet. I think there's a substantial chance they'll fall far short of hopes, just like Wave (which I notice you didn't mention), but that's the way it is when you try things that may not be possible.

I'm not actually all that positive about Google, but I think that if you want to understand them, you need to understand what they value. You can do that without thinking, yourself, that it's awesome.




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