All About Google

Wow, has it really been a week since I last posted? Time flies and all that, and sometimes you just don’t have much to say. Right?

So I’ve got a few random things about Google that have been spinning in my head lately. First, Google Sync for iPhone has changed my life. Google recently released syncing capability for both Contacts and Calendar, eating the dogfood of both Microsoft Exchange and Apple MobileMe. Won’t be long until they add mail syncing, I imagine; in the meantime, contacts and calendar sync are a pleasure to use.

I’m usually a huge Apple fanboy, but Apple – I’d like a MobileMe refund, please. It was a lemon from the beginning and you knew it. Love your stuff, just ordered a new iMac at work, looking at getting a Macbook Air for home, but MobileMe sucks. $99 down the drain.

Ok, for more Google love I’ve been reading Jeff Jarvis’ “What Would Google Do?” I’ll start by saying I’m not a big Jarvis fan. As someone (who’ll remain nameless) said to me recently – “He’s an asshole, but as long as people buy his book he doesn’t care.”

However, I *am* a big Google fan, mostly because I manage web products for a living. It’s interesting to try to see things from Google’s perspective and apply it to your own products. Jarvis does a decent job with that. Here are a few nuggets I liked:

First, part of Flickr’s way of determining if a photo is “interesting” is itself interesting:

Flickr performs a reverse social analysis: If Bob and Sally are e-mailing and commenting on each others’ photos all the time, the system presumes they are relatives or friends; they have a social relationship built on familiarity. But if out of nowhere, Bob interacts with Jim’s picture, the system then presumes that their relationship is based on the photo, not on life. The interestingness algorhythm devalues Bob and Sally’s social relationship and gives greater value to Bob and Jim’s interaction around a photo. It’s counterintuitive but sensible when you think about it.

Indeed. Totally not what I would have thought of, but makes perfect sense. The second thing I picked up on (and something I’ve actually championed for years) is fast iteration. The web is this great place where you can figure out what the consumer wants very quickly and then change to meet that need. Google does it really well.

“Innovation, not instant perfect perfection,” was Google vice president Marissa Mayer’s advice to Stanford students. “The key is iteration. When you launch something, can you learn enough about the mistakes that you make and learn enough from your users that you ultimately iterate really quickly?”

Mayer is a genius. Watch her appearance on Charlie Rose to learn more about Googlethink.

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