Simon Willison’s Weblog

Entries tagged google

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Aside from Google I/O, does Google organize any other conferences?

They run a whole bunch, but many of them aren’t widely advertised—they have a lot of invite-only events for customers of their advertising tools, for example, and there are things like the Google Analytics Summit.

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Why doesn’t Google use their resources to improve coding languages?

Google invest vast resources in to language improvements, and have been doing so for over a decade now. Just off the top of my head...

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What computers do Google engineers use when doing heavy programming?

Loads of people at Google use Macs. Google as a company is way too smart to stop using a good product just because it is produced by a competitor.

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What’s it like being an attendee at Google I/O?

It’s a fantastic opportunity to spend quality time with the Google employees who built the APIs you build software on top of—the core Android team, the Google Maps people, the Chrome engineers etc. it’s kind of like Apple’s WWDC in that regard—short of going to work for Google there is no better way to meet and interrogate that many expert Google engineers in one place.

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Can I pitch my app idea to google?

You could pitch it to Google Ventures, but you’ll need a lot more than just the idea.

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What has Google given out at I/O in the past years?

I/O 2013 was a Chromebook Pixel (with or without LTE) and 1 terabyte of Google Drive space for three years.

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Is GitHub looking to be acquired?

Raising $100 million at a rumoured valuation of $750 million is not the action of a company that wants to be acquired. http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/09...

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How can I sort a huge amount of numbers?

Sorting large amounts of data is one of the first exercises you’ll see described in any Hadoop or map/reduce tutorial—so I’d suggest taking a look at Hadoop.

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If you missed out on joining to work at Google and Facebook, what should you do?

Remind yourself that there will always be more opportunities, and obsessing over what might have been is a huge waste of your time.

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Why does Google use “Allow” in robots.txt, when the standard seems to be “Disallow?”

The Disallow command prevents search engines from crawling your site.

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Why is Google indexing & displaying www1 versions of my site and how might I stop this?

You should stop serving your site to the public on multiple subdomains. Configure your site to serve a 301 permanent redirect from www1-www4 to the equivalent page on www—also, make sure that your site accessed without the www redirects to the right place as well.

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What platform was YouTube using before they were acquired by Google?

It was written in Python—I don’t think they used any particular framework (they started the site in 2005).

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Does Google (company) have their own Audio Visual department for their large conferences, or do they contract another company?

I believe it’s their own in-house team—when we ran the first DjangoCon at Google’s Mountain View HQ a few years ago I understood that the video team were their own (the same team that records their internal Google Tech Talks). It might be an external company that they contract in, but it felt like they were permanent staff.

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Is a relational database with many-to-many relationships difficult to develop into a web app?

Many to Many tables can be a bit of a pain to deal with using regular SQL, but a good ORM can abstract away any potential complexity almost entirely. I find using the Django ORM means I’m much less likely to shy away from a design that involves a many-to-many relationship because I know it won’t increase the complexity of the application. I imagine the Rails ORM has the same effect.

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Why did Google Wave fail to get significant user adoption?

When Wave first launched, individual Waves didn’t have a URL. This made it impossible to link to them from outside of Wave—people were having to say “log in to Wave, then search for X”. If you can’t link to something on the internet, it may as well not exist.

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Is it not time for Google to redesign its search page by removing the “search” & “I’m Feeling Lucky” buttons since the buttons are now useless with the new “Instant” structure?

I don’t think so. The “Search” button defines their entire purpose. The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button is an important part of their brand.

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Hack Day tools for non-developers

We’re about to run our second internal hack day at the Guardian. The first was an enormous amount of fun and the second one looks set to be even more productive.

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DjangoCon and PyCon UK

September is a big month for conferences. DjangoCon was a weekend ago in Mountain View (forcing me to miss both d.Construct and BarCamp Brighton), PyCon UK was this weekend in Birmingham, I’m writing this from @media Ajax and BarCamp London 5 is coming up over another weekend at the end of this month. As always, I’ve been posting details of upcoming talks and notes and materials from previous ones on my talks page.

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Figuring out OpenSocial

So it’s out, and lots of people are talking about it, but I’m still trying to work out exactly what it is. There seem to be two parts to it: a standardised set of GData APIs for accessing lists of friends and their activities (like the Facebook news feed) and a bunch of JavaScript APIs for enabling developers to write hostable widgets and “container sites” to embed those widgets.

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How is Google giving me access to this page?

Google have an open URL redirector, so you can craft a link that uses that:

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Google Base is interesting

I’m still trying to get my head around Google Base. Here’s a brain-dump of my thinking so far. First, some links.

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Dissecting the Google Firefox Toolbar

Google have finally released a Firefox version of the Google Toolbar, with some nice praise for XUL in to the bargain. Of course, the most interesting part of the toolbar from a geeky point of view is the bit that queries Google’s servers for PageRank. Sure enough, if you download the google-toolbar.xpi file, unzip it, then unzip the google-toolbar.jar file within there’s a file called pagerank.js with all of the juicy details.

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Fighting RFCs with RFCs

Google’s recently released Web Accelerator apparently has some scary side-effects. It’s been spotted pre-loading links in password-protected applications, which can amount to clicking on every “delete this” link — bypassing even the JavaScript prompt you carefully added to give people the chance to think twice.

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Google cruft

New Google feature: Google Movies. Displays aggregated movie reviews (like Rotten Tomatoes), looks up local movie times based on your zip code saved in Google Local (more evidence of the fabled Google cookie), and even handles recommendations.

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Google Maps and XSL

I’ll probably write more on this later, but it seems that Google Maps is using XSL. I spotted it loading the following pages while sniffing its activity with LiveHTTPHeaders:

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Google conspiracy theories

Microdoc News have a poorly researched story suggesting that Google have been engineering their search results to favour their own properties:

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Google oddities

Dave Winer:

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