Posts tagged ‘google’


The Google Interview: Python isn’t special

I’m gonna depart somewhat from my usual practice here today, and talk about something that more or less normal people might be interested in :) and talk more explicitly than usual about The Employer.  I will also put in an odious subhead, to help normal people find it; regular readers are invited to read it ironically:

How to Ace that All-Important Google Coding Interview

Note that this isn’t actually about how to ace that all-important Google coding interview, but it might help some people do better on it.

First, some credentials: I’m a SWE (SoftWare Engineer) at Google’s New York City office (Google NYC). I do candidate interviews, both for interns and full-time applicants, both on the phone and in person. Many of these are the archetypal Google coding interview, where you come in and say Hi, and then the interviewer gives you a little problem to write the code for a solution to, in basically the language of your choice.

(Not all Google interviews are like this, but if you’re applying for a job at Google that involves coding in any way, some of your interviews will be like this; likely even most of them will.)

One thing I’ve noticed recently, and that this weblog entry is about, is that people tend to pick Python as the language to do their interview coding in, even if they aren’t actually fluent in Python.

I don’t know why anyone would do this, but I’ve heard the same thing anecdotally from other interviewers, and just the other day I had a candidate tell me that while e was actually more fluent in C++, e was going to do the interview problem in Python because it was “more appropriate for the interview context” or other words to that effect.  (It turned out eir Python was not all that good, and that fact did not improve how the interview went.)

Maybe there is a page out there on Quora, or LinkedIn, or the vast ecosystem of How to Ace that All-Important Google Coding Interview links, that encourages everyone to do it in Python.  Maybe there are even recruiters who suggest it as a good language for the interview if you are fluent in it, and some people falsely assume that they are fluent because they know about the colons and indentation conventions.

Maybe the thought, the meme, is that since Python is supposedly good for quickly developing short one-off programs, and that’s pretty much what you’re doing during a code interview, Python should be good for code interviews.

Here’s the thing, though: Python is good for quickly developing short one-off programs only if you’re actually fluent in Python. Otherwise, you will do better using whatever language you are in fact fluent in.

(Ideally one of the Official Google Languages, which are, in alphabetical order and lower case: c++, go, java, javascript, and python; and also including any other language specifically mentioned in a job listing you’re applying for, if any.  If you can absolutely rock the interviewer’s socks in Haskell or Oberon or LISP or something, I’d say go for that, too, but only if you can really rock their socks, not if you just think you can; and those are hard to tell apart from the inside. So maybe play it safe.)

What does it mean to be actually fluent in Python?  As above, it’s not just knowing the basic syntax with the colons and indenting and all.  Before using Python for an interview, rather than your actual preferred language, you should be sure:

  • You are comfortable writing Python code, and have done a significant amount,
  • You know what __init__ does,
  • Writing “self” in the right places (and not in the wrong ones) comes naturally,
  • You know what “self” is for,
  • You know that it doesn’t actually need to be spelled “self”,
  • You know why it always is, despite not needing to be,
  • You know how to code a list comprehension, and do it naturally when appropriate,
  • You know that range() only operates on integers, and what do to about this,
  • You know how to compensate for method parameters being untyped,
  • You could add two or three more things to this list with a bit of thought.

And yeah, that is a relatively high bar; you want to show off your problem analysis and design and coding skills, and you don’t want your unfamiliarity with your chosen tool to get in the way of doing that.

In general I’d say just always go with your preferred language (from the Official List, with caveats as above).  But if you’re convinced that the interview will really go better in Python, check yourself against the list above.  And then consider using your preferred language anyway, one more time.

The above is solely the opinion of the author, and in no way an official position of his employer, or anyone else. Google has some pretty good advice on this general subject that you’d be well-advised to look at; see for instance


If you do something, dye something

I have this little “skin tag” on my neck, which sometimes my fingers play determinedly with, and if they do this enough it becomes Irritated, and sometimes even Bleeds and things (WTMI, I know, but anyway), so to prevent this I sometimes put a, you know, “band-aid” on it in order to prevent myself from playing with it (see this entire subfield of philosophy).

So today I wanted one of those “band-aids” for that purpose, and The New Employer made it really easy. And this brought to mind the following little bit of snark, which while somewhat snarky and mean-spirited and all, I can’t resist posting…

Old IBM: Non-emergency first-aid supplies are available from the on-site RN during regular business hours, once you have management approval and have filled out the right form. Your department will be charged $27.50, plus $11.92 per individual supply item.

New IBM: As a cost-cutting measure, the on-site RN is available only on alternate Thursdays from 1:11 PM to 1:27 PM. The forms are no longer available. There is still a box of non-emergency first-aid supplies in the building, but everyone who knows where it is has been laid off.

Google: Around the corner from each Espresso machine (i.e. five per floor) is a shiny metal self-service cabinet full of non-emergency organic free-range vegan first-aid supplies, never tested on animals. On the door of each cabinet are internal telephone numbers and URLs (automatically verified for correctness daily by a cluster of [redacted] servers located in [redacted] and [redacted]), in case you think your situation might be not entirely non-emergency, or if you just want to chat. Googlers may access the supplies inside at will, 24/7. Non-Googler access requires a Google+ account.

Ha ha ha! I am here all week.

Oh, oh, also!

In the Subway there are all these Signs, and some of them say:

If you see something, say something.

which is pretty amusing if you think about it literally (because everyone with their eyes open would be constantly saying things, and if they made the reasonable assumption that the two “somethings” are supposed to co-refer, they would be saying like “a person, a person, a person, a door, a sign saying ‘if you see something, say something’…”), and also calls to the idle mind all sorts of variants.

For instance

If you smell something, tell something.

which isn’t quite right, and then immediately after

If you smell someone, tell someone.

which is really just juvenile, what was I thinking?

Continuing with the senses,

If you hear something, fear something.

which I can imagine becoming extremely popular with DHS (see also the U.S. Department of Fear).

If you taste something, baste something.

I suppose. And then, one with more selfish and more Buddhist versions:

If you feel something, heal something.

If you feel someone, heal someone.

I like that last one.

In rereading this I realize that I haven’t really analyzed the form correctly; “see” and “say” don’t rhyme, they, you know, do something else. That other thing. Which seems to be harder to do.

If you touch someone, teach someone.

Maybe. Hm.

If you buy something, be something!

Oooooh, deep!


Amanda Fscking Palmer!

(That title’s sort of a joke, in that she has used “Amanda Fucking Palmer” as a sort of branding thing, and “fsck” is an old nerdphemism for “fuck” so “Amanda Fscking Palmer” is arguably a cute title for something about her appearing before a buncha nerds. Also it keeps me from having the F-word (“fuck”) in the title of a weblog post, which might be nice because who knows how ol’ WordPress reacts if you do that?)

I don’t want to just constantly gloat about how amazing my new workplace is, but just this once… :)

Amanda Palmer and some guy

So as I’ve probably mentioned before here and/or on the Face Book and/or elsewhere, I think Amanda Palmer (of Dresden Dolls and general musicness, not to mention a great TED talk) is awesome in all various ways, and I’d thought wistfully that it’d be great to see her live someday if I weren’t so lazy.

And then there was this poster at work saying that she and some guy were going to be appearing, right down the hall in the talk room.


Right after lunch.

That first picture up there is them doing a sound-check, which those of us who got there early to get good seats got to see, because they arrived late. :)

Palmer an' Gaiman

These picture are all awful, because it was dim and I was just using my iPad rather than something more camera-like.

That is her husband, Neil Gaiman, who is apparently a well-known Doctor Who impersonator writer in his own right, and was I think reciting a poem, while she laughed and looked appreciative from the piano bench.


And there she is probably singing the Ukulele Anthem, which is just marvelous on YouTube, and actually had me tearing up a bit near the end in person. Such energy and goodness…

(Not to mention boots and coat; I want them!)

So anyway she sang some things, and Doctor Who read some things, and the two of them sang one (very creepy) thing together (he says that he doesn’t sing, but she makes him do it), and then they sat down like talk show guests and answered some questions from the host, and a few from the audience, and then it was over, except for those of us who hung around forming lines of fanboys and fangirls to get our Gaiman books and Palmer CDs signed, and even…

Amanda Fucking Palmer, and some dork

… get our pictures taken with her. :)

I mean, you can sort of see from her eyes there that she is doing this because this random dorky fan she doesn’t know at Google has sort of attacked her with his iPad, and she is thinking about how she and Neil have to get over to Town Hall for their performance tonight, and do they have all the instruments packed and stuff, but still.


They were both warm and patient with the lines of adoring fans. And I really do know who Neil Gaiman is, more or less, and while a million years ago I read some comic of his and didn’t like it and haven’t read anything to speak of by him since, I do now have a copy of Neverwhere on the iPad.

But mostly now I’ve seen Amanda Fucking Palmer live. :)



New adventures every day!

Here are a couple more observations that I think I can share without revealing any family secrets.


You’d think that a place full of coders would be basically powered by coffee.

That’s certainly what I was expecting.

I was picturing, like, huge wall-length banks of those shiny cylindrical coffee machines that are everywhere, constantly being emptied by jazzed young programmers, and filled by a steady stream of staff persons with new grounds.

But it’s not like that at all.

There are fancy digital coffee-making machines in the snack areas (“microkitchens”, whee!), which produce what I imagine is quite good coffee (I’m no judge), but do it slowly. And there aren’t very many of them.

There are a couple or three of the shiny cylindrical coffee machines in the main food-places, but they tend to be awkwardly placed, and there are many things that it’s easier to get to.

There are also espresso machines (cappuccino machines, whatever they’re called) in the microkitchens for general use, along with signs about the time and place where the “how to” classes are offered, and the intranet URL of the relevant informational page(s). Naturally.

All of which encourages slow and thoughtful and high-quality consumption of only finite amounts of coffee.

Which I find fascinating.

As I pointed out the other day, I’m drinking a lot less coffee than I did before the venue change. Maybe the work keeps one awake all by itself. :)


I poked around the intranet a bit my first couple of weeks, figuring that these young hip (haha, “hip”) persons might include some number into meditation (“meditation”) or sitting or even zazen, and while I found some interesting groups dedicated to thinking about the impact of digital technologies on our practices of attention, and about being sure to pause now and then and be in the moment, and like that, they seemed to be mostly based out in Mountain View.

I did one “Mindfulness at your Desk” thing at Noon Eastern, 9am Pacific, where someone out on the Left Coast led a small group of us in meditation over videoconferencing, and that was fine, but a little odd.

I was figuring I could bring in a zafu of my own, and maybe just remember to sit in a quiet place somewhere now and then, when while exploring one of the higher floors of the building I came across a sign saying that sits take place twice daily (!) in the little sort of exercise room / dance studio. And in exploring it I found a cabinet with a bunch of nice high-quality zafus and blankets to go under them.

And the next time one of the twice-daily things came up, I was there, and this smiling person came and talked quietly and asked who would like some guided meditation, and talked softly to them while the rest of us just sat (on the nice zafus and blankets, which it turns out are for general use), and then he rang a lovely Zen bell, and we all sat more, until he rang it again and we slowly got up and went out.

ZOMG, eh?

So I may have a little practice, and maybe even a vague sort of sangha (not that there’s any particular reason to think all or any of the people are Buddhist as such), right there at work.

Who woulda thought?

P.S. This is a very good recipe for Butternut Squash Soup!


some additional words

So I woke up with some Upper Respiratory invasion on Saturday morning, and didn’t feel pretty much normal until yesterday sometime. That was no particular fun!

It did allow me to determine firsthand that, while the New Employer do as a general rule like team members to interact in person, if you need to work from home for three days because of an invasion of replicators, it is No Problem.

Also, they do Working From Home, like everything else remotely technical, very very well. Really very well. Remarkably. Quite.

read more »


So much…

So very, very much.

All my walking muscles ache in gratifying ways.

I feel like whole sections of my mind are waking up after long, long naps. Or maybe opening up for the first time.

I like the subway more every time I take it. When you see the same thing for the second, third, fourth time, you see more deeply into it. And seeing more deeply into things is good.

The subway, that’s a good segue into some sort of coherence for this posting. :)

NYCMy morning schedule is now: alarm goes off around 0700, I leave the house around 0720, deal with the parking machines around 0736, catch the 0740 very-express, or the 0745 or 0749 also-expresses, from Croton-Harmon to Grand Central, walk to the Shuttle Passage and take the S to Times Square (around 0830), walk (nice long aerobic walk) through the underground passageways from 42nd Street Times Square (1237NQS) to 42nd Street Port Authority (ACE), take the 8th Avenue subway down to 14th Street (the express stops at Penn Station on the way, the local stops at Penn Station and at 23rd Street), go up the stairs into the old Port Authority building, wave my badge at a reader-thing, go up the elevator to the 5th floor, get breakfast, and there I am, at 0900 or a bit before.


And during all of that, so many people, faces, eyes, briefcases, shoes, scarves and dresses, ties, suits, and the subway musicians, steel drums, cellos, saxes, opera singers with tipjars, the tables of patient Jehovah’s Witnesses giving out their little books in eight languages, the loud man declaiming how urgent it is to come to Jesus, five-by-seven shiny paper rectangles left on subway seats about Jesus or an upcoming performance of Shakespeare, the song of rails, trains pushing air down the dark tunnels, the clack of heels, voices chanting over the speakers, “please keep clear of the closing doors”, the paper “Planned Service Changes” sign where someone has supplemented the tiny black type with a big crayon arrow pointing to the left and labeled “TO QUEENS” and someone else has written underneath it “thanks”.

Ehem, I was going to be coherent. But there is so much!

As previously noted I work at Google now.

It is extremely awesome.

The extent to which I can and can’t go into detail about things is interesting in itself. IBM’s big emphasis is on getting confidential information only to those who need it, inside or outside the company. Lots of information isn’t confidential, so everyone, inside and out, is free to have it, and as an internal person if I wanted to get for instance the source code to some random other project’s product, it would have been difficult just to figure out where it was and who to ask for access, let alone actually getting approval.

Google is much more Hard Shell and Creamy Center that way; anything that hasn’t been officially published is to be kept inside, but Googlers can get to an amazing amount of stuff. Just how amazing that amount of stuff is, and what it contains, I’m not sure if I can tell you.

I can reveal that Google has more than seven machines, located in more than three datacenters that are all over the place. I cannot speculate on rumors that we have a major datacenter in the back room of every Starbucks, or that we have a radical new way of cooling datacenters using Fair Trade coffee beans.

swagFor my own part, I can definitely reveal that I’m drinking a lot less coffee than I did a few weeks ago; apparently drinking from firehoses is a good substitute, in terms of staying awake.

I can also reveal that whereas it used to take me forty-five minutes to an hour to get out of the house (or, to be brutally honest, even to get all the way out of bed) on a weekday morning, it now takes twenty at the most.

Also, there really are secret rooms behind bookcases in the library, and a slide (I went down it yesterday; twice). And of course scooters (which I will have to try some day when I am feeling brave and well-balanced).

And additionally, swag! :)

I have switched from my snazzy Fossil messenger bag (a gift from M) which is too nice for daily subway abuse, to the pictured Google backpack, which is tougher, has less sentimental value, has just as many tons of pockets (perhaps a little harder to reach into ad hoc), and distributes the weight of an iPad and macbook and assorted stuffs more symmetrically for the back. I am wearing the pictured Google tee shirt even now :) and the propeller hat is still hanging there on the corner of one of my monitors.

“One of my monitors” hee hee.

I have been like a kid on Christmas all week. Giddiness!

So, summary: work is amazing, Google is awesome, I am energized as I haven’t been in probably years. And finally I have found time to write in my weblog about it!

More posts as the situation develops… :)


Change of address

This has been up on the Facebook for a bit, but it fits nicely into the narrative here, so:

We've been eating grass!

Okay, I really ought to announce it myself, rather than just hijacking the little daughter’s status on the subject. :) As of Oct 21st, I will be retiring from IBM after 33 good years, and starting at Google in Chelsea for the next 33. Yep, it’s quite a commute, and I’m looking forward to it anyway. The place is packed with former Watsonites, and I expect it to be a Good Time. Also, they provide Lego!

I expect there will be more postings on this general subject going foward :) but right now here are a couple of exclusive pictures (well, on the Instagram, but not the Facebook) which are related.

The cake is not a lie!

Sorry about that!

Oops! Sorry about that, stockholders…

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The infographic plot thickens!

Interesting developments in the saga of the infographics.

While out of town on business I received this very polite note:

Subject: Request for link removal –

Good evening Webmaster,

We were notified that our site, has come under review by Google for some link building practices from the past. We are contacting you in that context.

We are making major changes to the site and undertaking efforts to build great content that we hope people will naturally link to. However, in the interim period, we are contacting people who have linked to us in the past where there’s even a remote possibility that Google could view the link as “over optimized”.

We have also removed a lot of our infographics and some of our other content. So you might be linking to a 404’ed page.

As such, we would like to respectfully request that you remove all links to our site including the link on

We appreciate your past efforts to link to us, and as the new owners of this site, we are excited to unveil our upgraded site and content very soon, and would like to be able to keep in touch with you as that happens.
If you would be so kind as to respond and let us know if you can take the above requested actions, we would appreciate it. Apologies if you have received this email multiple times as we are being very aggressive in this, and thanks again for your patience.

Thank you
Cristina Roberston

I thought that was somewhat intriguing, but I was busy and didn’t do anything about it right away, and not long after there appeared this reminder:

Subject: Link Removal Request Reminder –

Dear Webmaster,

I’m not sure if you have responded, I tried searching for your response in my spam box, but couldn’t find it. Sorry if you have already. We were notified that our site, has come under review by Google for some link building practices from the past. We are contacting you in that context.

We are making major changes to the site and undertaking efforts to build great content that we hope people will naturally link to. However, in the interim period, we are contacting people who have linked to us in the past where there’s even a remote possibility that Google could view the link or the anchor text as “overly optimized”.

As such, we would like to respectfully request that you remove all links to our site including the link on

We appreciate your past efforts to link to us, and as the new owners of this site, we are excited to unveil our upgraded site and content very soon, and would like to be able to keep in touch with you as that happens.
If you would be so kind as to respond and let us know if you can take the above requested actions, we would appreciate it. Apologies if you have received this email multiple times as we are being very aggressive in this, and thanks again for your patience.

I’ve just now gone and removed the link to Forensic Psychology dot net from that page (along with an update pointing to this page), ’cause I am a Nice Guy. I notice that it is no longer the case that Criminal Justice Degree dot net says that it is copyright by Forensic Psychology dot net. On the other hand, the two sites still look veeeery similar and generic and Infographic in style, and one still wonders just what the heck might be going on.

And amusingly I also just received this, on my Second Life self’s email account:

Subject: Infographic about Nintendo’s Wild Success

Hey Dale,

I recently developed another infographic that could be a good fit for your site. I just wanted to reach out and share. It highlights and illustrates how Nintendo became the king of video games and the numbers behind their success.

You can check it out here:

Title: Nintendo MBA

Let me know what you think, I would love for you to publish it if you find it suitable for your site.

Thank you,

Chloe |

Maybe I should suggest that Chloe have a word with Cristina about the dangers of… whatever it is that they are doing.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So I was down at the Drug Store getting more of the pills to inhibit my neurotransmitter reuptake, and there on the bottom shelf of the cabinet near where you drop off prescriptions there were some Home Pregnancy Tests, and some Home Cholesterol Tests, and next to those there were some Home Drug Tests (Marijuana).

And while I realize there are all sorts of Important Social and Cultural and Moral Things to say about these, what I’m really thinking is what a great routine George Carlin could have done on these.

Just imagine, someone sees one of these in the store when he’s a little wasted, and he’s like “whoa, cool, I’ll take some o’ those, man”, and he takes them home and opens one up and figures out how to use it, and then he yells “SHIT!” and his roommate says “what’s wrong, man?”, and he says “Man, I’ve got WEED!!”.

Something like that, anyway.

I was going to write down other things, too, but I can’t remember what…

Oh yeah! So we forgive Jen Rhee for whatever role she is playing in the mystery infographic spam thing, because one of the things that she links to on her Digg page is 5 Questions We Desperately Need a Buckaroo Banzai Sequel to Answer, and Buckaroo Banzai references are worth alot.

(Although we also dimly suspect that the things on her Digg page are carefully selected to contain at least one thing that is worth alot to each of seventeen carefully-selected Internet Demographic Groups, about which she also has infographics. But probably we are just paranoid.)

Passive media invades the Internet!

In the sense that I heard something on NPR or somewhere about how all various people with lots of money, like Google and I guess Yahoo and all various other people are apparently spending lots of money to put together “channels” which would carry “programs” that people would then be expected to “watch” like they do (or used to do) with “television programs”.

Which strikes me as bizarre!

I personally have very little patience with non-interactive media these days, and the only things I really consume that you can’t click on, so to speak, are (a) background music, (b) WNYC while doing other things, and (c) occasional old Buffy episodes on Netflix. My impression of YouTube “channels” is that they are, like, places where you can go to find some mildly amusing “JibJab” thing with animated talking pictures of politicians or something, except now they have advertisements which if you have to watch more than like six seconds of invariably causes me to go do something else instead.

But apparently I may not be entirely typical (shocking thought), or at least some people with lots of money are willing to bet that I’m not. So there are whole “channels” on YouTube and YahooTube or whatever and maybe like Hulu and things, where people make “episodes” of “programs” with High Production Values, and advertisers, and all like that there, so you can have the whole stultifyingly dull and ad-saturated television experience right there on your computer, oh joy oh rapture.

Here is one they talked about on whatever NPR story or whatever it was that I heard: Barely Political. If you click on that you will go to a YouTube page where some video will probably play even without you asking it to. The one it showed me was incredibly stupid, but maybe you will be luckier.

(It occurs to me that when I watched several in a row “episodes” of (what was that? oh, yeah) Dragon Age: Redemption, I was probably consuming one of these very “web program” things, but it was just to moon over Felicia Day, and obviously that doesn’t count, right?)

This interests me somewhat, in that I like to think of the Internet as extremely liberating and empowering and tending to inspire and facilitate creativity and collaboration and participation and all, which is pretty much the opposite of the “sitting on the couch staring at ads interspersed with brief stretches of plot” paradigm that TV and this stuff represent.

Passive consumption has, I tell myself at some level, been so successful on TV just because the technology doesn’t offer the superior alternatives, and now that the ‘net so definitely does offer those alternatives, we’re basically done with that whole TV thing.

But maybe not!

Time will tell…

oh P.S.: This is probably the NPR story that I heard.


Life after Google

(Reprinted from the secret Second Life weblog)

There’s certainly lots of turmoil within Google right now, between the clever and non-evil people who made it successful, and the “Google Plus At Any Cost, we will own the world!” people; and there’s no telling how it’ll come out.

But at the moment the g+ fanatics seem to be winning. (Even this Official Google Announcement was apparently posted only on Google+, so I can’t give a real link to it; but hopefully the URL there will continue working and pointing to the right thing.)

Over the next week, we’ll be adding support for alternate names – be they nicknames, maiden names, or names in another script – alongside your common name.

If we flag the name you intend to use, you can provide us with information to help confirm your established identity. This might include:
– References to an established identity offline in print media, news articles, etc
– Scanned official documentation, such as a driver’s license
– Proof of an established identity online with a meaningful following

We’ll review the information and typically get back to you within a few days.

(Gotta love that “typically”.)

And for anyone that’s nervous about sending their driver’s license to strangers, we are assured on mashable that

Google will destroy all documentation you send them once the account verification process is complete.

Everyone who feels they need more quasi-governmental agencies in their lives, demanding proof of identity and scans of your driver’s license, and assuring you that their random employees can be trusted with your information, raise your hand…

Didn’t think so.

There are at the same time reports that in order to sign up for any Google service these days, you have to also sign up for Google+ (including, presumably, telling Google your real name, and being prepared to offer official documentation for any nicknames you might want to use); and Google’s search results are starting to return Google Plus pages even when they are by no measure the best hits, which is incredibly stupid and the techs are already telling us how to get around it.

So there are clearly two things going on:

  • The Google Plus people at Google either don’t understand Internet culture, or think that they can change it (with themselves as the central storehouse and universally trusted driving engine of that change), and
  • Someone with power at Google thinks that (unlike Wave and Buzz, which were allowed to die when it turned out no one really wanted to use them) Google Plus is so important that all of Google’s other services can be taxed to supported it, by forcing anyone wanting to sign up for those other services to also sign up for Google Plus (and, if they don’t want to sign up for Google Plus, to go off to Yahoo or someone instead), and even corrupting search, which is Google’s base offering and frankly the only thing (well, maybe webmail) that we really want from them.

Of course Google may still save itself from these people; it’s far too early to give up.

But what if they don’t? Where will our bellweathers go to escape the stupidity, leading most of us along with them? Facebook for social stuff presumably, because that’s where everyone is anyway. But who will we use for search, and for webmail? And whatever else Google does that I’ve forgotten to mention?

Maybe the best thing would be for us to fragment again, and have there be more than one Big Obvious Search Provider, and more than one Big Obvious Webmail Provider, and even more than one Big Obvious Facebook-thing, and so on. If nothing else, Google’s failure would be a lesson on the dangers of bigness and obviousness, and the arrogance that tends to come with that.

On the other hand, Google’s implosion would open a very big opportunity for someone else to come in and take its place, by doing the good stuff without the dumb mistakes. Not sure who that would be; opinions welcome. What’s Yahoo doing these days? I tend to think of them as an old company that fell into the “web portal” rathole and never really returned, but maybe there’s potential there.

I really ought to make some bold prediction here, so that if Google does implode and my prediction turns out to be right, I can prove how clever and prescient I am. :) But for the moment I will just cross my fingers and hope that someone smart and powerful over there decides that shilling Google Plus isn’t worth corrupting all of the company’s other offerings, and that Google goes back to being the good guys. ’cause I am always an optimist!

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