How Google Works: Think about Making Sausage in 4K on a Big Screen with Dolby Sound

November 16, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb, dinobaby humanoid. No smart software required.

I love essays which provide a public glimpse of the way Google operates. An interesting insider description of the machinations of Googzilla’s lair appears in “What I Learned Getting Acquired by Google.” I am going to skip the “wow, the Google is great,” and focus on the juicy bits.


Driving innovation down Google’s Information Highway requires nerves of steel and the patience of Job. A good sense of humor, many brain cells, and a keen desire to make the techno-feudal system dominate are helpful as well. Thanks, Microsoft Bing. It only took four tries to get an illustration of vehicles without parts of each chopped off.

Here are the article’s “revelations.” It is almost like sitting in the Google cafeteria and listening to Tony Bennett croon. Alas, those days are gone, but the “best” parts of Google persist if the write up is on the money.

Let me highlight a handful of comments I found interesting and almost amusing:

  1. Google, according to the author, “an ever shifting web of goals and efforts.” I think this means going in many directions at once. Chaos, not logic, drives the sports car down the Information Highway
  2. Google has employees who want “to ship great work, but often couldn’t.” Wow, the Googley management method wastes resources and opportunities due to the Googley outfit’s penchant for being Googley. Yeah, Googley because lousy stuff is one output, not excellence. Isn’t this regressive innovation?
  3. There are lots of managers or what the author calls “top heavy.” But those at the top are well paid, so what’s the incentive to slim down? Answer: No reason.
  4. Google is like a teen with a credit card and no way to pay the bill. The debt just grows. That’s Google except it is racking up technical debt  and process debt. That’s a one-two punch for sure.
  5. To win at Google, one must know which game to play, what the rules of that particular game are, and then have the Machiavellian qualities to win the darned game. What about caring for the users? What? The users! Get real.
  6. Google screws up its acquisitions. Of course. Any company Google buys is populated with people not smart enough to work at Google in the first place. “Real” Googlers can fix any acquisition. The technique was perfected years ago with Dodgeball. Hey, remember that?

Please, read the original essay. The illustration shows a very old vehicle trying to work its way down an information highway choked with mud, blocked by farm equipment, and located in an isolated fairy land. Yep, that’s the Google. What happens if the massive flows of money are reduced? Yikes!

Stephen E Arnold, November 16, 2023


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