Google @ JHU


Google came to campus tonight, so I figured I would go, even though I'm not an engineer. I knew I made the right decision before I even got in the room, as they were providing free pizza outside. And not just any pizza—they ordered Papa Johns. They also had plenty of free stuff on the tables outside the room. We were probably only supposed to take what applied to us, but I took one of everything, including a handout describing a scholarship program for women majoring in computer science or engineering.

Mmm... these Google mints are good.

The presentation was pretty cool, and done on a PowerBook. Some things I remember:
⁃ Google has a website.
⁃ "Googlers" (Google employees, I assume) eat 500 lbs of breakfast cereal every day. Last year, the figure was 300 lbs/week.
⁃ Google uses a custom programming language for certain tasks, such as managing code submissions.
⁃ Most code submissions occur around midnight; things are pretty quiet in the morning. Programmers are asleep at 10 am.
⁃ During the blackout in August 2003, they could tell exactly when people lost power based on the sudden lack of queries from different areas. At first, they were wondering whose code broke Google.
⁃ Google has context-based spelling correction that learns by crawling the web. Try searching for "Kofe Annan" and see what it corrects to. Now, try "kofe shop." The presenter also noted that "a popular word processor" corrects Kofi Annan to "Koki Anna." In Microsoft's defense, (what am I saying?) Mac OS X suggests "Coif Anon."
⁃ I don't know what this means, but apparently some versions of Mozilla, Safari, and Opera don't have an XML parser, so Google wrote one in JavaScript to allow these browsers to interpret Google Maps. I think.
⁃ Google employees work in small teams, usually of 3-5 people.
⁃ Orkut is really big in Brazil. It was developed on someone's "20% time."
⁃ Google can neither confirm nor deny the existence of Google Base. But "wait and see."

After the meeting, we got free long-sleeved t-shirts. This is a pretty good deal, considering mine cost $21.

Now how many of you actually tried going to

Posted: Thursday - November 03, 2005 at 04:53 PM