Google's had quite the week

This is a discussion on Google's had quite the week within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Is it just me, or has Google experienced a phenomenal growth spurt this past couple of weeks? It seems like ...

  1. #1
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    Google's had quite the week

    Is it just me, or has Google experienced a phenomenal growth spurt this past couple of weeks? It seems like they're suddenly offering a new service every other day: Google DNS, the Google Phone, increased ports of Chrome, that search-by-picture-thingee, etc....

    I really like the way Google does things, but the sudden power surge is actually quite alarming, I think. Thoughts?

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Dunno. Them getting busy I guess. Can only guess.

    I don't trust Google more than I do Microsoft. In fact I trust less. All that do no evil talk is only good for selling soap to brain-washed internet addicts with acne still growing on their face. It's a business, it's a million dollar business. and it never invited me to lunch at its place. Google is not my friend and neither it is a rugby club I can barrack for. At least Microsoft is the devil you know.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I don't trust Google more than I do Microsoft.
    heh, I remember when Google was nothing but a search collation page. All it did was search the other search engines of the day and present all the results to you. I wonder if it doesn't still rely at some level on doing this, because it seems that nothing shows up on Google like it used to, even if you specifically search for it. Used to be, if you made a homepage, it was listed within 24 hours on every search engine. Now you almost have to pay to get listed, which knocks out a lot of relevant sites that I might be interested in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario
    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.
    Off topic, but I have to disagree here. This only holds true for very small systems. A good example is distributed computing, where the cost of upgrading the system 25% is completely out of the question. So reimplementing BOINC or SETI@HOME in a different language to get a 25% increase is obviously the most effective method. The same goes for much smaller clusters as well. It also goes for Google, which sort of brings it around to quasi on topic.
    Last edited by abachler; 12-15-2009 at 11:10 AM.
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean View Post
    I really like the way Google does things, but the sudden power surge is actually quite alarming, I think. Thoughts?
    I totally admire Google for it's open source principles, and that they give back to the community thru that (eg, with google code) and things like GSOC.

    Unfortunately, where there's $$$ there's some bunch of jerks with a "business model" that will sour everything, and investors who will help them do it. They are like flies to tish.

    So we'll see what happens because of this. No doubt they stand to raise their stock prices, but that is not an indication of anything IMO.

    Sounds like the phone should put more control in the hands of the phone owner, as opposed to leaving them at the mercy of service provider contracts.
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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    Off topic, but I have to disagree here. This only holds true for very small systems. A good example is distributed computing, where the cost of upgrading the system 25% is completely out of the question. So reimplementing BOINC or SETI@HOME in a different language to get a 25% increase is obviously the most effective method. The same goes for much smaller clusters as well. It also goes for Google, which sort of brings it around to quasi on topic.
    Hmm... I would assume that for such large systems the costs in porting the code to another language would also be overwhelming. Adding more computers to the current cluster however would be much cheaper and produce similar results. But I agree there is a line somewhere.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    l'Anziano DavidP's Avatar
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    Personally I don't see how this kind of growth is sustainable, but then again, I'm not an expert in these things. It's just the past few weeks...it's the past year or so that Google seems to constantly be offering more and more new services.

    I often think to myself, "how do they have the manpower to actually support and develop and maintain all these new services and their old ones too?"

    Then I took a look at this.

    No doubt they stand to raise their stock prices
    Raise their stock prices? My gosh I hope not. I wish their stock would split so I could actually buy some. I've been waiting for it to split for ages. Look at it! It's sitting at over $500 a share! That's astronomical.

    In the meantime, take a look at their "revenue per employee" on that Wolfram Alpha link I posted. $1.153 million dollars of revenue per employee. Those employees must be sitting well.
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    Disrupting the universe Mad_guy's Avatar
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    I totally admire Google for it's open source principles, and that they give back to the community thru that (eg, with google code) and things like GSOC.
    They do certainly make some of their stuff open source, and they do support open source, but a lot of their really awesome stuff is 100% proprietary and likely always will be: BigTable, Google File System, their MapReduce implementation, Mondrian, etc. etc.. In terms of contributions to e.g. Linux, as a company they are actually one of the smallest contributers there is, although they are built almost entirely on Linux from what I understand. To be fair, part of that is because their kernel development process is apparently completely out of wack w.r.t the mainline kernel, so they follow a very different workflow, and the other part of it is that a lot of their kernel changes are not 'nice' or clean enough to get integrated back into mainline. Lots of their modifications are also backports or forward ports of newer/older features, or things which have been subsumed by functionality that is now mainline. This makes their development process a lot more difficult.

    That's not to downplay their other stuff: Chrome, V8, Protocol buffers (totally freaking great by the way, if you haven't used them; no idea where I would be at work without them!) just to name a few are all awesome open source contributions and I appreciate all of them, but in terms of their really cool stuff, they're pretty secretive. BigTable and GFS are the two things I would really like to look at the code for.
    Last edited by Mad_guy; 12-15-2009 at 03:14 PM.
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    Reverse Engineer maxorator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Hmm... I would assume that for such large systems the costs in porting the code to another language would also be overwhelming. Adding more computers to the current cluster however would be much cheaper and produce similar results. But I agree there is a line somewhere.
    So if Google wanted to improve the performance of it's server mass by 25%, you think it would be cheaper to buy 100000 new servers than rewrite the software?
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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    I hate to sound all Stallman-esque, but I don't like Google's promotion of cloud computing. All of the big players seem to be raving about this being the future, but network security has just never shown itself to be good enough to keep all of my personal data on a cloud.

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    Disrupting the universe Mad_guy's Avatar
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    So if Google wanted to improve the performance of it's server mass by 25%, you think it would be cheaper to buy 100000 new servers than rewrite the software?
    It's unfair to ask a hand-wavy question like that without actual numbers to support a reasonable claim: how much does 1 of those 100,000 servers cost? Let's make it more reasonable: 10,000. If they can get reasonably cheap commodity hardware, and factoring in that you will typically get a deal on buying in the large, let's say that 1 server out of those 10,000 costs $1,000. Then they are spending ~$100,000 (i.e. nothing) on this new hardware. Even if you bring it back up to 100,000, that's only $1mil USD, which is, to google, something along the lines of pennies in your pocket.
    Let's say their existing cluster is 100,000 computers: if they double that, and get double the speed increase with that extra 100,000 computers, they have effectively doubled the performance of their application by spending very little money and time, compared to the amount of time and money it not only takes for a developer to rewrite the code, but also test it and make sure it performs well and even better.

    Here's another question: how big is the software that could potentially be rewritten, in question? If it's 5,000,000 lines, well, you're probably better off buying hardware and trying to scale upwards if your design lets you.

    Also it's a question of *what* they're trying to speed up by 25% or whatever. Some things naturally scale: technologies like BigTable and GFS at google were designed so that you could just throw cheap hardware at them, and have the data scale linearly with the amount of hardware. So things backed by BigTable or GFS can scale very easily by just adding more hardware. Other things may be much harder to optimize - for example, tasks/processes which are I/O-bound in nature. Throwing hardware at it isn't going to help as much, and it will require software optimization. So maybe it's better to rewrite portions of the software in this case.

    Point being: there are tons of variables here you aren't considering. The question of whether or not it's "better to rewrite the software" or "better to throw more hardware at it" is not as clear-cut and dried as people would like to make it out to be.
    Last edited by Mad_guy; 12-15-2009 at 03:56 PM.
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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad_guy View Post
    That's not to downplay their other stuff: Chrome, V8, Protocol buffers (totally freaking great by the way, if you haven't used them; no idea where I would be at work without them!) just to name a few are all awesome open source contributions and I appreciate all of them, but in terms of their really cool stuff, they're pretty secretive. BigTable and GFS are the two things I would really like to look at the code for.
    Yes to all of them, except one. Chrome.

    I'm still at awe as to what makes Chrome the thing of the day. I honestly cannot have it outperform Firefox in any noticeable way. Zero, nada. It's just not faster in any way I can measure with a hand stopwatch and definitely not by simply looking at it. Bunch of hype.

    As for V8? Whatever. As if we needed yet another engine. Yet another web standards headache to contend with. But all in all it's not that I'm against them developing Chrome or V8. It's instead people making of these some kind of awesome thing I still fail to see were the awesomeness is. Not that I'm saying you did. But that's the general feeling.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 12-15-2009 at 04:15 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    As for V8? Whatever. As if we needed yet another engine. Yet another web standards headache to contend with.
    That is more the MS approach (make up their own non-compliant standard so everyone must deal with it).

    Fortunately:
    V8 implements ECMAScript as specified in ECMA-262, 3rd edition
    Nobody else has had a problem doing this, so there's no reason to believe Google will either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlyMaelstrom
    I hate to sound all Stallman-esque, but I don't like Google's promotion of cloud computing. All of the big players seem to be raving about this being the future, but network security has just never shown itself to be good enough to keep all of my personal data on a cloud.
    Speaking of security: SSL can only be used with the given appspot.com subdomain for App Engine, which kind of makes it useless/cumbersome/unprofessional if you actually intend to use App Engine for something other than a hobby project... but I do not need cloud computing for my hobby projects anyway.
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserlight View Post
    Speaking of security: SSL can only be used with the given appspot.com subdomain for App Engine, which kind of makes it useless/cumbersome/unprofessional if you actually intend to use App Engine for something other than a hobby project... but I do not need cloud computing for my hobby projects anyway.
    Never mind security, check this out:

    AppleInsider | Microsoft's Danger Sidekick data loss casts dark on cloud computing

    that was only a few months ago and MS is not exactly a "fringe player" -- the fact that they can end up responsible for so much data loss because of a power outage (or whatever) kind of demonstrates "the cloud" may not be at all what it is cracked up to be. I believe there was an even bigger data loss event in the summer, whereby entire corporate databases were destroyed, just I could not find a link to a story.
    C programming resources:
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    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Hmm... I would assume that for such large systems the costs in porting the code to another language would also be overwhelming. Adding more computers to the current cluster however would be much cheaper and produce similar results. But I agree there is a line somewhere.
    Porting code is often not as painful as you think. Many Algol derived languages have similar syntax and types, so its usually just a matter of changing some formatting and function names. The general rule of thumb is if it takes more than 10 man hours per node in the cluster per percentage point increase, its cheaper to add capacity. The theory being a faster application does more than save you hardware costs, it also saves you maintenance costs.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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