Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Google Moves From Search To Inventor 131

Posted by Zonk
from the leaping-the-gap dept.
TubHarsh writes "The New York Times reports that Google continues to expand its scope from search engine to inventor. Google assembles the majority of the hardware it uses and deploys at such a large scale, that Google may be 'the world's fourth-largest maker of computer servers, after Dell, Hewlett-Packard and I.B.M.'. The article also states that Google may be entering the chip design market with new employees who were ex-Alpha Chip engineers."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Moves From Search To Inventor

Comments Filter:
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:21AM (#15649129) Journal
    I don't like being a karma whore but here's a working link to the NYTimes article [nytimes.com]. And, if you're like me and hate ads, try out the text only version [nytimes.com]. That's right, in order to get to read an article without obstruction, you have to pretend to be both an RSS feed AND a printing machine.

    Now to comment on something I read in the article:
    "At some point you have to ask yourself what is your core business," said Kevin Timmons, Yahoo's vice president for operations. "Are you going to design your own router, or are you going to build the world's most popular Web site? It is very difficult to do both."
    I disagree with that. I think it should be re-stated to say "It is very difficult to accomplish more than you have the resources to sustain." It's fatal in thinking that you only do one thing for a business to be successful. A simple analogy would be the farms that I grew up on. No one specialized in one crop or animal. Why? Because sometimes the market would tank for one particular thing and it would tank hard. If you had a distributed investment in produce (like a portfolio) then you would survive most of the market problems. I think Google's strategy is much the same in that they are trying to cement themselves in other technologies--not because they're going to lose the search market--just because it's a smart thing to do.

    I think that there's a lot to be said about concentrating on one thing and getting it right. If you do get it right, then it's encouraged to move on to something else. I think Google has found themselves in the top of the search engine market. They found out that their technology doesn't work so well for closed domains (military or business level searching) so I think they just need to keep looking for new ways to stay ahead of the competition. Meanwhile, they have seemingly unlimited resources. Why not try to build your own router?

    I mean, fresh graduates are cheap. Some fresh graduates have a lot of ideas and are decent workers while the majority of others are lemons that don't do anything. Why not hire a bunch of them and spend a lot of money weeding them out? I think it's great that Google's taking a stab at other technologies and I honestly think they have a good strategy for doing it.

    To comment further on the article, Google makes unreliable machines reliable en masse via redundancy. They are indeed very secretive about their technology but if you want to learn more about their page ranking algorithms or basic technologies, why not read their patents? They always seem to be covered on Slashdot anyway.
    • "you have to pretend to be both an RSS feed AND a printing machine"

      You just invented and RSS feed printer!
      Don't forget to run to the patent office ;)
    • Secretive? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kripkenstein (913150)
      They are indeed very secretive about their technology

      Yes, so I thought. And indeed the article says, "Google is notoriously secretive about its technology", "Google will not comment on its costs". Yet Bill Gates is quoted as saying "Google doesn't have anything magic here. We spend a little bit more per machine. But to do the same tasks, we have less machines.".

      A web search doesn't turn up the reference for that quote (and the article doesn't link to it), so it's hard to know the context. But stil
      • Re:Secretive? (Score:3, Informative)

        by danskal (878841)
        I think that the article means "software technology". Google has in the past been quite open about the hardware it uses. I remember a quote (though I am not enough of a karma whore to dredge it up), where one of the google guys said that if they ran out of server horsepower, they just wandered down to the nearest Kwik-e Mart (TM) and picked up a bunch of new PCs. Most big companies would think to themselves: "We are really big so we must need really big servers", without actually doing the maths of what
        • They're still not too specific about what those servers are. The basic premise that it's lots of cheap stuff is one thing, but cheap (in this area), might still mean a 2-socket Xeon/Opteron (a rather odd definition of cheap) versus gigantic Itanium/SPARC/POWER machines. The balance between disk and RAM is probably also not that of a typical desktop.
          • The numbers are a bit out of date as the quote is from the 2002 timeframe but here's one about the google hardware:

            Because Google servers are custom made, we'll use pricing information for comparable PC-based server racks for illustration. For example, in late 2002 a rack of 88 dual-CPU 2-GHz Intel Xeon servers with 2 Gbytes of RAM and an 80-Gbyte hard disk was offered on RackSaver.com for around $278,000. This figure translates into a monthly capital cost of $7,700 per rack over three years.

            The cost a
      • A web search doesn't turn up the reference for that quote (and the article doesn't link to it), so it's hard to know the context. But still, it does seem odd. How can Gates know such details, which are supposedly secret? I don't know whether to doubt the truth of his claim, or to wonder about how he could have found it out.

        Possibly all those "ex-Microsoft" employees, perhapps, maybe?

    • by 70Bang (805280) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:03AM (#15649716)


      Microsoft won't change their stance on Google.

      I've said many times [that] Microsoft's strategy (so far) has been to keep Google labelled a search engine, and only a search engine, (albeit covertly) as long as possible to keep Google hemmed in and avoid letting people begin to see what's up Google's shirt sleeves. This has been a stall tactic. Microsoft has got to have a lot of gerbils running on the wheels to come up with ways to find the silver bullet to put right between Google's eyes. Do they think they'll find it? Probably. Will they? Probably not. Should they be scared? Yes.

      I don't think it's worked, but it's the only tactic Microsoft knows. After all, their primary arsenal has always been Huey, Dewey and Louie (Marketing, Sales, and PR). When Microsoft runs out of arrows in its quiver, it'll become the one thing it has thought would never happen: become just another company, just as IBM became when Microsoft didn't renew their contract ('89? '90?)for a joint OS and it became Windows & OS/2. IBM just wasn't able to get the sell-through Microsoft got with Windows, and Microsoft was the new king of the mountain.

      What's hurting Microsoft isn't they came late to the show (avoided during the most infamous "Summer of Bill" but they've had to grow from the desktop up to a global perspective, but that Google hasn't even worried about the desktop (so far). They got started at the global level and just focused upon information management, leaving a browser, essentially any browser, as the interface. I see it to be what happened to Encyclopædia Britannica when everything was electronic and they were left thinking about their next hardcopy print run, then trying to get an electronic format (and people buying CDs and DVDs) vs. something such as Wikipedia which started online.

      I'm not saying every company or product which starts online will always be better, but the odds are against a hard world company|product being able to prevent or leapfrog a company which doesn't have to worry about a bridge from the past to the future and not lose sight of both balls in the air.

      Another good example is BlockBuster and Netflix. Blockbuster's underlying algorithm (business model) was based upon late return fees. NetFlix comes along such that brick & mortar means nothing, reducing all of the financial obligations which go along with it, including a dependence upon those late fees. BlockBuster suddenly realized they were getting dusted in all but impulse rentals and had to do something. First, they tried to pull a fast one over everyones' eyes by declaring "no late fees" whilst slipping a hand into your wallet. When they got caught, they realized they'd better do something...and fast. So they picked the most successful video rental business model they could find on short notice: NetFlix. Just a price war.

      Lots of other stories could be listed as well (e.g., Amazon vs. B&N, Border's, etc.)


    • A simple analogy would be the farms that I grew up on. No one specialized in one crop or animal. Why? Because sometimes the market would tank for one particular thing and it would tank hard.

      Then a giant corporate farm that specialized in one crop would come in and buy it out, right?
  • Google chips? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tygerstripes (832644) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:25AM (#15649146)
    Now that does interest me. If they can show the same level of industrious innovation that they have in other fields, I'm excited about the impact this may have on the server-market, if nothing else.

    I just hope that, if they are developing chips in-house (and if they are, I expect them to be cheap and powerful), they are less tight-fisted than they are with their other technical innovations. A new power-player in the CPU market would be great for us end-users

    Seriously though, if they start manufacturing all their own hardware from scratch, they're probably going to be more independent than any major computer-based international in recent history. *exaggeration ends*
    • Re:Google chips? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jasin Natael (14968) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:46AM (#15649223)

      Hmm... I'd kind of like to buy a RAID card that is accelerated for database and/or search work. I mean, issue high-level commands to the controller hardware, and let it collect the results while the main processor is doing something else. We're getting to the point where classical RDBMS systems are pretty well-understood, and the average RAID controller has a fair bit of hardware already. How far are we from having some relatively simple processor with an inflated L1 cache and high clock rate that does the heavy database work (including RAID/transaction logging) before it even reaches your machine?

      It makes sense to do this, because database performance is big business -- just look at what some companies spend on licensing Oracle! As long as you're not worried about spatial queries, you could probably even get by without an FPU. There might be a lot of justification for this.

      • Are you talking about a kind of Super-SCSI? How much takes place on the card and how much on the RAID (or on the drives on the RAID)? How much would you gain by moving this onto the motherboard as a support chipset? You seem to be talking about a Storage Processor Unit. An SPU.
      • I think you're onto something there. Google is all about search. They're probably going to make a search chip that puts various search algorithms on a chip so that their search appliances find stuff faster.

        Of course there will be a lot of speculation about them making CPU's and are going to take on AMD and Intel. But the simplest explanation is that they are making hardware to improve their search performance.

      • Hmm... I'd kind of like to buy a RAID card that is accelerated for database and/or search work.

        RAID card? irrelevant. Google's entire production database is in RAM. Disks are just for boot and persistence.
        • Re:Google chips? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jasin Natael (14968)

          That's the traditional model. TFA talks about Google needing to get away from some of their search-business habits for their new ventures, like online payment processing and the like. Redundant persistence, logging, failover protection, etc. is a huge issue any time your database works with information that represents some kind of monetary value. It could be manipulating auction bids, virtual property like Second Life or WoW, or actual money, but there are grave legal dangers if there is something in dis

          • I'd kill for one of these. Doesn't even need to be very big - even 8Mb would be fine. Doesn't strictly need the power fail mechanics either, as long as the battery lasts a few hours.

            But most of the solid state stuff I see is geared as hard disc replacement - in the order of gigabytes, usually operating using slow IDE interfaces. Anyone know of something that plugs in (and interfaces through) a PCIX port?

      • So the system CPU(s) would then be free to work on finding Sarah Connor?
      • Re:Google chips? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cowbutt (21077)
        I'd kind of like to buy a RAID card that is accelerated for database and/or search work. I mean, issue high-level commands to the controller hardware, and let it collect the results while the main processor is doing something else.

        This was my degree supervisor's main research interest. Searching for 'Intelligent File Store' in conjunction with 'Essex' and 'Lavington' should find lots of juicy info.

      • Netezza has already been doing exactly this in their product line. They use FPGAs on each compute blade that handle disk access but also handle database record layout, and can do where clauses and projection while streaming from disk.
        See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netezza [wikipedia.org]

        I also believe that intelligent disk IO will be important in the future. No, it's important right now. Disks are a bottleneck and having dedicated hardware that can leverage spindle parallelism and free up the memory disk controller pat
    • by kv9 (697238) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:04AM (#15649280) Homepage

      The article also states that Google may be entering the chip design market with new employees who were ex-Alpha Chip engineers.

      lemme guess, the chips are gonna be called... "Beta"?

    • Even if they released the specs, there's no guarantee that these chips would be general-purpose units compatible with your average beige-box, discount-store, consumer-level workstation mobo.
    • Gawd yes. Alpha chip designers -- back to KESU model? Complete eradication of buffer overrun problems? Maybe they could get Dave Cutler to help. He moved VMS to WNT (to a security-crippled chip architecture, compared to Vax / Alpha wrt. instruction/address space ring-fencing). I wonder what magic he could weave if given his 'druthers in a chip's instruction design. I wonder what he would do to the Linux kernel. I wonder how many chairs Ballmer would throw.

      Of course, they'd have the challenge of inven

    • If Google's need for server is as big as it appears, it makes sense to design and build custom servers for themselves. But my gess is that they'll be following the Sun Niagara architeture, with multi-core/multi-processor designs.

      My point, Google doesn't need raw performance, they need an architeture that scales well, supports lots of concurrent requests, and consumes very little power to make cluster mantaining costs less expensive. Well, thinking this way, at this point it looks like Google might buy Sun t
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:29AM (#15649154) Journal
    One of the advantages of the Opteron platform, as we saw recently, is that it is easy to plug in dedicated, specialised, coprocessors. I wouldn't be at all surprised if a lot of Google's work could be done more efficiently on a specialised stream processor; even things like SSL for gmail etc. run a lot faster (and much faster-per-watt, which is what really counts in an operation that scale) on dedicated silicon than on a general purpose CPU.

    Much as I'd like to see the Alpha return, backed by Google (or pretty much anyone else. The death of PALCode was a sad day for the industry), it doesn't seem likely. The Alpha approach was to build the fastest chip possible; in terms of performance-per-watt or performance-per-dollar, it didn't do so well.

    • Hardware is where DRM resides and operates. Why would Google buy DRM from HP, IBM or Dell? With all that talent at their disposal, Google would design their own brand of DRM... hell, even the chips and architecture... weeding out useless buses, registers and stuff.

      We already know they use a modified Linux kernel... what better than using proprietary hardware as well? That way, they are free from the cluctches of Intel, AMD, ATI, NVidia, HP, IBM etc., besides Microsoft, Oracle and the software gorillas.
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:37AM (#15649390) Homepage
      But then just how many specialized chips does one need? With personal computers it's getting a little out of hand. First we have graphics processors, and now physics processors. Oh, and we also have network cards that allow you to offload the entire TCP/IP stack to their own processors. Oh, and sound cards have hardware mixers, so you don't have to mix the sound in software on your general purpose CPU. Oh, and those video capture cards convert everything to mpeg in hardware, so you don't need your CPU for that either. All I need is a special processor for compiling code, and I could go right back to using a 486 as my main processor, since it wouldn't have anything to do anymore.
      • You say that like it's a bad thing...
        • Yes, it is a bad thing, because a regular processor only costs $150. On the other hand a video card and a physics card and all the other cards you would need to run a computer this way would cost much more money.
          • For you, this is not such a good idea. I would imagine that you, like most home users, barely use one CPU to capacity.

            For Google, the sums are completely different. Every watt Google uses on a CPU costs them twice; once to turn it from electricity into heat (via computation) and another to extract and dissipate the hear. In California alone, the amount of power to be used by proposed data centres (i.e. those to be built this year) is over 10% of the power consumption of the entire state.

            Any CPU owned

            • First of all, I was talking about home computers, so my point still stands, but to counter your argument, here it goes. The processors they would be building wouldn't be on the same market as Opterons, Xeons, Althons, or Pentions. Unless they have the same instruction set as the others, or can be programmed in the same way, then I doubt that there would be a lot of people who would want to buy them. And if they were general purpose enough that they could be used then they probably wouldn't be that good fo
              • I was going to jump in with the same point. Google's hired people from DEC and their primary concern in their data warehouses is undoubtedly performance and energy efficiency. It's very likely any innovation in either area that would be dramatically superior to the best offerings from Intel and AMD would not be x86-compatible.

                Unless the chip was so outrageously fast that they could run an x86 emulator in it without a performance loss, it would be dead in the home and office PC market.

                Or Google wants
      • Hardly. The trend has been fewer dedicated processors in recent years, not more. Sound cards rarely have hardware mixing anymore except at the high end, instead the operating system is expected to do it. Physics processors are too early to call but a bunch of people seem to think they aren't necessary given that video cards can do a lot of similar work. Modems lost a lot of their circuitry to software. Etc. The only real dedicated chip that came into its own lately is the GPU, and that's because it has a ve
    • The death of PALCode was a sad day for the industry

      Why? What advantage did it offer over doing the same functions in low-level OS software, for example?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:30AM (#15649156)
    Friends, remember that Google is the America hating empire [shelleytherepublican.com].

    This new wave of innovation probably uses Linux (created by a European communist) [shelleytherepublican.com] with a sordid history [shelleytherepublican.com]. No doubt this is part of an insiduous plot to destroy the valuable patents of The Sco Group.

    Their so-called "inventions" have already led to a huge upturn in hacking, eponymously named "Google Hacking" [informit.com]. All true patriots must support tougher sentences [shelleytherepublican.com] for such evil terrorists [shelleytherepublican.com].
    • Is shelleytherepublican for real?

      It seems too out of whack even for right wing nutters... the tragedy/frightening part is that you can't really tell if its a joke or not.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...welcome our new Google - Cyberdyne Systems overlords.

    When will the Terminator-1 chip have been designed ?
  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <infoNO@SPAMdevinmoore.com> on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:35AM (#15649171) Homepage Journal
    I don't think we should think of this as a move that Google may 'sell' the machines they make, aside from selling Google search or app appliances one day. The vast majority of chips they would be making are probably to 'own the supply chain' for their own massive server systems. This is similar in concept to the early Ford Motor Company that owned the steel mills, etc. Google just wants the lowest net cost per computing cycle, and if Dell wants to earn a profit selling them computers in bulk, it might be cheaper for Google to bring that profit in-house.
    • There is a significant difference between steel and semiconductors; semiconductors cost less if you make more, steel is limited by the amount you can dig up from the ground. If Google were to make chips in-house that were useful to others, it would make sense for them to sell them:
      • If they make more, their costs go down.
      • If they sell some, they get an additional revenue stream.
      • If they are making the chips their competitors use, then they are always going to have lower costs, since they don't need to pay
  • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:35AM (#15649173) Journal
    I think they're just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks, much like VCs do. But their doing it all in-house, hoping to come up with the next big thing. And the thing after that.
    • by MoonFog (586818)
      It could also be the media doing this and hoping a story sticks. After all, Google have really moved into many different areas, so perhaps a journalist is going "why not?" and prints a rumour, wouldn't surprise me at all.

      Given Google's obvious love for thinking "outside the box" they have a higher chance of something sticking than with for example Yahoo.
    • by l3v1 (787564) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:55AM (#15649254)
      I think they're just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks, much like VCs do. But their doing it all in-house, hoping to come up with the next big thing. And the thing after that.

      Well, if you want to innovate, or research, you have to do that. VCs don't do that, they just hope that the pack of people they give money won't just waste that money but actually come up with an idea that sticks to that wall. In-house research is not comparable with what VCs do with startups which usually base their entire future on one idea and if that fails, they fail. In research every idea that you prove is a failure is in fact a success since it gives you valueable knowledge and experience which you can use in the next trials if you have the money for it, and well, they have the money.

      • However, it's commonplace in the VC business to invest in a number of different businesses, hoping one of them will be the monster hit, and make all the money lost on the other companies worth the risk. So I'll stick to the metaphor, and even mangle it a bit. VCs throw bunch of ideas at the wall in hopes that one of them will hit a home run.
    • Seeing if a chip fabrication plant sticks seems to me to be extremely expensive. If they were to make their own chips, I would guess it would be a bit more well-thought out, and not just someone's 20% project, which is where most of their new products seem to come from.
  • It was part of a university to begin with.
  • I think google is just an amazing company, they hire some of the worlds top developers, build their own servers and apparently their own cpus now just to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Couple that with froogle, google maps and google earth, summer of code and submission of code back to open source projects such as wine. It's a shame that there aren't more companies like google that do everything they can to put their customers first and their profits later.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Bullshit. Customers come first only if they bring in profits. Non-profiting customers are not worth being in the business for.

      No-one runs a company to provide free meals. That is what the tax slurping, revenue leaking government of the US of A is for ...
    • It's a shame that there aren't more companies like google that do everything they can to put their customers first and their profits later.

      Generally, those companies that produce what the market wants do OK in terms of profits also. Google is certainly no exception.

      I think their challenge will be to stay true to their beliefs if they have a few disappointing quarters. The way they are going right now, they have a real shot at meeting their founders' extravagent ambition of changing the world.

    • I think google is just an amazing company, ...
      It's a shame that there aren't more companies like google ...

      I guess the main reason this hasn't been modded "-1, Shill" is that there hasn't so far been a tradition of people shilling for Google.

    • apparently their own cpus now

      Is it, indeed, aparent? I didn't think it was very clear at all.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday July 03, 2006 @09:46AM (#15649639) Homepage Journal
      Umm....
      Hey I like Google and I do think it is a good company but please throw in a few facts along with the extreme cheering.
      1. They make a ton of money. I.E. profits from advertising. I will admit that it is some of the least offensive advertising in the planet but they are ads none the less.
      2. Their search engine is closed source. Yep you got it baby cakes every bit as closed source as Microsoft Office and Windows.
      3. China.

      As I said, I like Google. I would work for them if they offered me a job. They are not perfect and frankly we are not their customers! We are no more their customers than wheat is a farmers customers. They harvest us and sell us to their advertisers. The people that buy Google ads are Google's customers.
      We are Google's product.

      • Hey I like Google and I do think it is a good company but please throw in a few facts along with the extreme cheering.

        Okay, you agree that Google is a good company, but now you are going to tell us some ways in which Google is bad, so that overall Google is not as good as we may think. I'm listening.

        1. They make a ton of money. I.E. profits from advertising. I will admit that it is some of the least offensive advertising in the planet but they are ads none the less.

        So, they profit a lot from ads. I was

        • "That comparison is so off-base! You're comparing apples to religious denominations. "Closed source" and "open source" would apply if they were distributing the software (as in "Microsoft Office and Windows"), but Google isn't distributing their search engine. You're using the negative connotations of "closed source" to create a misleading impression."
          I think they are distributing it.
          http://www.google.com/enterprise/gsa/ [google.com]
          I don't think that closed source is a bad thing. Some do but I really don't. I just also
  • As Google grows and start giant projects (like Google Earth) it requires more and more resources. It is natural if they start building own computers, it will be the base for new projects. I like Google because they are not afraid of global large-scale projects.
  • by Jeppe Salvesen (101622) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:11AM (#15649305)
    Google appear to be investing their pile of cash in a very interesting way: They encourage their engineers to spend 20 percent [wikipedia.org] of their time on unrelated work. Since they have some really bright heads in their workforce, they can be said to re-investing their pile of cash into ideas formed by their own employees. You know - all those half-baked, half-related ideas you get when you work on a project: They actually give you time and resources to refine and pursue them. And guess what - some of them turn out to be viable business ideas for the company. So, from a human-resources point-of-view, it's a stroke of genious. They realize more of the potential within their work-force.


    They also probably reduce thebrain-drain of their talented employees - since working on Google must be very, very rewarding for someone with an imaginative mind but not a lot of organizational know-how.

    • Google appear to be investing their pile of cash in a very interesting way: They encourage their engineers to spend 20 percent of their time on unrelated work.
      Boy I wish someone would pay me to read slashdot. Hey you know what, I'm at work someone already is!
    • Don't fool yourself. It's just a way for Google to own anything their employees do in their off-hours. 80% of a 50 hour week is still 40 hours, and you get the other 148 hours for free.

      Other companies just put it in the employment agreement, but Google makes people feel good about signing over their soul.

      Brilliant. Now THAT is innovation.
      -
  • by hcob$ (766699) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:24AM (#15649345)
    Google may be 'the world's fourth-largest maker of computer servers, after Dell, Hewlett-Packard and I.B.M.'.
    You're forgetting one Manufacturer: the NSA.
    • IIRC it's all Northup Grummond now.
      And they in turn outsource the production of their computing resources to other vendors (Cray, Sun, Supermicro, etc.)

      I think it's a bit of wising up on their part. Why should they be so suspicious of what are now anonymous, commodity products? Just get it while the getting's good, you know? Better to stay simple and low profile than high profile and complicated that just screams "Government Purhcase! Government Purchase!"
  • Very unlikely, with these numbers. Unless you mean perhaps "a distant fourth."

    IBM had server sales of more than five billion dollars [itjungle.com] last year (or three billion, if you don't count mainframes). Even lowly Sun beats out Dell [com.com], which comes in at almost $1B.

    Keep in mind that this is just for one year. Pick your favorite guess for how large Googles server farm is and divide by the average age of those machines. Do you still think they're assembling more than a billion dollars of hardware per year?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:25AM (#15649355)
    Can Google [visitware.com] become an artificial intelligence [artilectworld.com]?
    Google certainly has the data to whet the appetite of an AI Mind [blogcharm.com], but first Google would need an AI Engine such as Mind.Forth [sourceforge.net] to impose order on the data, so that Google would not just store the data but would know the web of data.
    Maybe Google will trigger a Technological Singularity [blogcharm.com].
  • by StaticFish (839708)
    Is it just me, or does the microprocessor business seem a REALLY bad one to get into right now. Maybe 30, 20 or even 10 years ago, it wouldn't have been such a bad option. But with Intel and AMD going forward in this perpetual juggernaught race, it seems like anyone getting into this business is Dead On Arrival. Transmeta Corp anyone? Dan
    • this would only matter if they plan to sell their processors to the public. if it's an inhouse supply chain they are developing then its not an issue. but it could be they have a need for something new and unique, rather than an x86 clone, since they have ready supply of those anyway. and if they do build something new and unique that other people have a use for, then perhaps they could market it externally.
    • Well, I understand they need a big server upgrade and could use one of those ultra low power*, quantum partial event horizon processors, that actually executes orders BEFORE they reach the processor's memory bank. allowing a double write of the original data and the answer instantly at an infinite* rate of processing :)

      * the power is directly proportional to the number of simultaneous particles being processed.

      So really all of existance could be processed in a single instant with sufficient mater to energy
    • Is it just me, or does the microprocessor business seem a REALLY bad one to get into right now. Maybe 30, 20 or even 10 years ago, it wouldn't have been such a bad option. But with Intel and AMD going forward in this perpetual juggernaught race, it seems like anyone getting into this business is Dead On Arrival. Transmeta Corp anyone? Dan
      "Chip buisness" can mean anything. Don't automatically assume its CPUs.
  • The Google Alpha Beta
  • Everyone is foolish in only seeing the search aspect of Google. The reason search is so prevalent on our minds is that Google took advantage of the greatest tech out of the gate, unlike MS, and made it the best first. Now they have time to focus on everything. We have to reevaluate our views on technology from desktop centric to the Network like Sun says. Google made sure search was done right first as it is the most important technology Google is the phone company! It's great they are creating chips with
  • Google assembles the majority of the hardware it uses...

    On several occasions I've suggested to customers that they consider building their own servers. Going by the look on their face you'd think I'd just asked directions to Mars. I'll usually let them ba-humbug the idea for a while before informing them that Google does it and always has. That usually gets them started asking questions instead of telling me why it's such a bad idea.

    That wouldn't work for most companies, but if they've got a technolo

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I would never consider buying a pre assembled computer for myself. But on the converse I would never under any circumstances advise my customers to build there own hardware. The nightmare that is part end of life, driver hell and the general supply issues involved is not worth it for the majority of businesses. Google assembles thousands upon thousands of servers every year. Even the government department I consult to only does around 5000 servers a year. For the cost of pre assembled blades and servers now
    • I'd say if it is a small office, you don't want to build your own. If you have one or two servers, I think it'd be smart to let someone else support your hardware.

      Now if you have 30 identical servers, it is probably a good idea to build your own. That way, even if you have to spend 20 hours one week diagnosing a hardware problem, you can apply it to all 30 machines. A lot more efficient than the work that would go into one or two machines.
  • WTF is "Driad", Gates claims it's Microsoft's answer to MapReduce?

    Also, sadly the article does not mention that Google runs almost entirely on Linux. There's room for a couple of Bill Gates quotes on how Microsoft's solutions are better, but no mention of the fact that Google has no need for any of them.

  • Thin Clients (Score:1, Insightful)

    What is Google doing with Sun?

    Internet based word processing and spreadsheets, email on the internet, a google service for everything else... It wouldn't surprise me if the next generation of personal computers are nothing more than a SunRay type thin client plugged into the internet, Sun helps with the hardware and google services will do the rest... it seems to be the vision of both companies...
    • Maybe google likes the only open source (and GPL) CPU out there. The scary thing is that it a much better webserver/appserver than anything that intel, ibm, or AMD are putting out in the next couple of years. Don't think for a minute that google is tied to x86 code. They are a big fan of java, thus they are free to move to the platform that suits them best. P.S. Sun Rays are extremely cool. Unfortunately on people have used thme for some time would truely understand why the PC model is crap.
    • I can already see that dreadfull clippy 'Hi, I see your values have lowered' with a box at the right:

      Increase Your Numbers
      Increase those spreadsheet numbers now,
      get an outcome with up to 500 units more!
      www.wearethespreadsheetsniffers.com
  • I knew it! Of course, we all did. I knew Google was going to get into computer sales sooner or later. I wonder when they're coming out with their Linux distro... you know it's coming.
  • It's rather interesting to see all the economic geniuses get together here on Slashdot and tell the world just how good their plans are. Integrate this, expand or die, etc. Is this new thinking? No. Has it been tried before? Yes. Most successfull as a whole is perhaps the Japanese Keiratsus (or how ever you spell that). Conglomerates in other words. How many of those do you see these days in the western world? How many are profitable? GE could be held as an example of success until lately. Don't quote me on
    • Down the road you might be right. But right now Google has something all the others don't: everyone wants to work there. They can hire the tops minds at the same rates others are highering the 'almost' top minds. It would be foolish for Google, in this position, to say, "tell these 'top minds' we already have enough 'top minds' and we'll do just fine, thank you very much. We'll start directly issuing all of our profits as dividends instead of taking the world's geniuses up on their bargain offer."
  • by j.leidner (642936) <leidnerNO@SPAMacm.org> on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:22PM (#15650658) Homepage Journal
    If Google indeed decides to get involved in hardware (or software that gets compiled into hardware), I welcome the decision, and joyfully look forward to any innovations that they might come up with.

    Maybe one day we have a GPU (Google Processing Uni) inside our PCs that has special hardware support for indexing, retrieval and text processing in general. Independently of Google or any particular vendor, the theoretical question that intrigues me is: what operations would you like to have built in to aid the search business?

    PageRank in microcode? Porter stemmer as an assembler instruction?

    For several decades, CPU design has been driven mostly by traditional numerical concerns. While ranking algorithms certainly are based on numerical principles as well, it remains to be investigated whether there are operations that are worth providing at hardware level, or (more likely) completely new architectures.

    Note that their MapReduce paradigm of parallel data processing is close to data flow machines in some sense, and while these were not a success at the time, times have changed (it's always a question of boundary conditions).

    • ... that talks to your secondary storage.

      A few PowerPC processors, and some FPGAs. Shouldn't cost much more than a typical hardware RAID SATA controller.

      It could run a virtual FS in microcode on partitions on the disk (in addition to giving you standard RAID access to the deices). You use a slightly abstracted API to talk to it. Just throw your files into it, and it versions them, extracts text strings, etc. all on its' own. Then you can do fast search and retrieval of said content.

      Man that would be cool. G

User hostile.

Working...