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Ex-Google Engineer Blasts Google's Technology

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the or-is-it-just-sour-grapes dept.

Google 158

lee1 writes "Dhanji R. Prasanna, an engineer who recently resigned from Google, describes Google's famous back-end infrastructure as a collection of obsolete technologies, designed 10 years ago for building search engines and crawlers. He blasts MapReduce and its closed-source friends as 'ancient, creaking dinosaurs', compared with outside open source projects like MessagePack, JSON, and Hadoop. He also criticizes Google's coding culture, which has become unfriendly to hacker types due to the company's enormous size." I suspect that most people would be happy to have company infrastructure problems as pressing as Google's, though.

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158 comments

MapReduce vs Hadoop (1)

Warlord88 (1065794) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394068)

Wait.. isn't MapReduce just a framework and Hadoop one of its open source implementation? How is the former a 'creaking dinosaur' as compared to the latter?

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394104)

I'm sure he's pushing his own brand new technology, Sour Grapes

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (2)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394272)

While I know google doesn't require apologists, I always have a little chuckle when I read articles like this. So what if it's 10 year old tech, it seems to be working well for them. Sour grapes and a healthy serving of plug-my-own-products.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394776)

The fat is that Google's products, by and large, work. If the whole damned thing is floating on top of Pentium IV's with 2gb of RAM, or whatever, does it matter? It's a moronic position, and clearly one formulated as an excuse to show how superior what he's doing is. What a prick.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395778)

The issue is that they might not have such a big lead on any competition than people may think. That's an amazing thought because Google are still generally seen as untouchable. What the guy's saying is that a modern, nimble company can come in and eat some of Google's cake.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395950)

I don't know about eating their cake, but I'd like to eat some pussy right about now. Hell, I'd suck the shit out of Kim Kardashian's asshole.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396264)

The big lead isn't the equipment. It's the AdSense algorithms. This guy is blowing smoke out his ass.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (2)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396396)

It matters because successful organizations often don't feel the need to continue innovating. "After all Google Is print money, why change?" And small little problems start cropping up. This feature becomes difficult to maintain. This product starts to lag behind the competition a little bit. But all of it can be ignored since they're still so successful.

Eventually some little whipper snapper comes along and eats their lunch (usually founded by 'sour grapes' ex-$organization members).

It becomes particularly problematic when a single organization starts to establish fiefdoms. Microsoft being the obvious case study. You can't add XYZ to ABC because it'll compete with UVW. It's good to have competition but you don't want to stifle disruptive technology since your competition won't be so accommodating in disrupting your existing product line.

Maybe what you have is working. But someone out there is cooking up something that's not just working... it's better. If you're in the lead you have to start competing with yourself.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395204)

Have you considered that he is probably right? Google was an innovator ten years ago, but the philosophy of don't fix what isn't broken means that eventually they are going to get a fat layer of crust.

Yes, Google products work, I don't remember him saying that they don't, that's not part of the conversation. His point is that Google's technologies are aging and that there's better stuff now, is it really inconceivable that technology has advanced in the last 10 years? Just take his word and move along, there isn't much to discuss here.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (0)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395390)

Just take his word and move along, there isn't much to discuss here.

There isn't much to discuss here because you didn't RTFA.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (2)

cshark (673578) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396208)

I thought the real insight in the article came from the piece about the coding culture. Staking out territory and maintaining complete control of the design and implementation of systems. If that's the case, is it any wonder the systems are obsolete? The way I see it, this article is really less about how antiquated Google's systems are, and more about how pig headed the culture can be. Made sense to my feeble warped mind anyway.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395330)

Especially given the As a member of the Google Wave team in the article.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394302)

Also how does it compare to MongoDB [slashdot.org] ? Thanks to (somebody) for the original reference to msgpack. You can't go to sleep for 15 min without getting behind on something new.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394352)

Not really. MapReduce is more "an idea" with multiple possible implementations and API.

For instance, Hadoop is an implementation of MapReduce. MR-MPI is an other one. But they are totally incomparable in term of programming interface and obtained performance.

There is probably as many differences between Hadoop and Google's MapReduce (or whatever the official name is) than between windows 7 and macos X.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (2, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394406)

To be honest, it sounds like a guy who thought that he knew best, and wanted to just mash bad code out... Google told him to write good code or fuck off... he chose the latter.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396470)

Renegades. They're the non-team player types that shoot from the hip (without drawing), and fly by the seat of their pants. They're the most dangerous and reckless type of employees you can have. Oh, and the concept of a contingency plan? It doesn't even cross their mind. If you ask, you will get the typical "what ever, please..."

If you have a renegade for a boss, leave your company, like yesterday. Trust me on this.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394582)

quite and lets be honest here googles proprietary implementation probably has a lot more developer time than hadoop look how far behind mysql legged oracle and DB2 in features.

And I have seen internally a next gen HPCC that out performs hadoop by 4X - and I suspect Google's internal systems are as good if not better.

Re:MapReduce vs Hadoop (1)

kcitren (72383) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394656)

MapReduce is both an approach Map/Reduce and the name of Google's implementation of the algorithm.

There is nothing easier... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394074)

Than finding fault in what people choose to do.

Former Employee Has Chip on Shoulder... (4, Funny)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394078)

news at eleven.

Re:Former Employee Has Chip on Shoulder... (0)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394148)

He is not to be having a very good time goodday to you sir.

Re:Former Employee Has Chip on Shoulder... (4, Interesting)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394160)

Not just former employee:

As a member of the Google Wave team, Prasanna helped build the search and indexing pipelines for the ill-fated effort to reinvent communication on the web

Probably angsty nobody liked his baby.

Re:Former Employee Has Chip on Shoulder... (0)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394228)

Probably angry nobody liked his junk .

ftfy!

Re:Former Employee Has Chip on Shoulder... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394422)

Probably angry nobody liked his junk .

ftfy!

Start a thread fannation interns we haven't have a Favre thread in ages. (Backs away slowly and runs away)

Re:Former Employee Has Chip on Shoulder... (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394304)

Hey, I would be too if I made the mess that is Wave. Difference is I'd be pissed at myself for ignoring basic design principles and writing something no one wanted.

Re:Former Employee Has Chip on Shoulder... (3, Informative)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396520)

Wave was misguided. It had really cool tech and it did have potential...

but where they failed was they couldn't even tell people HOW to use or even WHY they'd want to.

I thought of things I could use it for, but when telling others about how it worked, not only could I not explain it well (who could?), no one really saw the point of it.

FAIL is an understatement.

Re:Former Employee Has Chip on Shoulder... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396820)

I thought of things I could use it for, but when telling others about how it worked, not only could I not explain it well (who could?), no one really saw the point of it.

My thoughts as well. Seemed to be the 21st Century equivalent of Lotus Notes.

Re:Former Employee Has Chip on Shoulder... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395888)

I read his posting as well as those of his friends who've also recently quit, and one of them had a better critique that seemed to explain why Wave turned out as the jumbled mess that it was. From the post:

If you pitch an idea or a project to Larry and Sergey, their feedback is quite easy to anticipate. They'll tell you you have to solve the problem in a more generic way. ... Come up with something that solves everything!
...
Wave is a case in point. Wave started with some fairly easy to understand ideas about online collaboration and communication. But in order to make it more general and universal, more ideas were added until the entire thing could only be explained in a 90 minute mind blowing demo that left people speechless but a little later wondering what the hell this was for.

To me, that perfectly explains why Wave turned out the way that it did. Rather than building a simple tool and adjusting it based off of how people used it, they tried to come up with the single solution that solved every problem. They ended up producing something that solved many interesting technical challenges but did very little to solve anyone's real-world problems.

It could be that this is specific to Wave and the fact that all this disgruntled feeling is coming from one group may not be an indication of any larger problem at Google. On the other hand, if this attitude is as pervasive as it's claimed, I can see it being incredibly frustrating to work there as an engineer. Imagine having a good idea, then having management talk you into turning into some grandiose and monolithic monstrosity that then gets panned as being overly complex and difficult to understand when all you wanted to do in the first place is make a smaller tool that would have been ideally suited to a more limited task and would have been well received and appreciated by those that used it. I know I'd be bitter if I'd wasted years of my life pursuing someone else's mutated version of my own idea.

Re:Former Employee Has Chip on Shoulder... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394328)

Actually the blog post itself says almost nothing but great things about working at Google, with a few criticisms interspersed about how he thought they could be doing better. Of course who writes an article "Working at Google, mostly swell, a few complaints"

Hadoop? (1)

JobyOne (1578377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394084)

Don't they mean "Hadoop MapReduce?"

Re:Hadoop? (2)

sockman (133264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394128)

The original paper from google was "MapReduce" of which Hadoop is an open source implementation of the concepts described in the paper.

http://labs.google.com/papers/mapreduce.html [google.com]

Re:Hadoop? (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394712)

But the guy is not talking about the research paper, he's probably talking about Google's implementation of those concepts, which wouldn't be surprising if it were called simply, "MapReduce."

      -dZ.

Re:Hadoop? (1)

sockman (133264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395854)

but the question was "don't they mean Hadoop MapReduce" and the answer was, "no, Hadoop is based on the paper Google released"

Sour grapes. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394102)

At best, he's lost the plot.

Google still does a totally amazing thing in as-good-as zero time.

The essence of hacker coding culture is not giving a damn what everyone else is doing and doing things your way anyway, unfriendliness be damned and ignored.

Re:Sour grapes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394226)

Thus why they are about 10 times more productive. They don't piss away nearly as much time working the corporate political structure.

Re:Sour grapes. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394438)

And also on the flipside, thus, why they produce code that works only 70% of the time and will rapidly become 1 tenth as productive once they need to extend things at all.

Re:Sour grapes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394536)

And why Google OSS projects tend to be 10x buggier than comparable projects ;).

Google does awesome architecture design but it seems like 95% of their open code is written by code monkeys/hackers.

Re:Sour grapes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394810)

Google has good and bad projects just like everywhere else. Chrome and V8 are definitely not written by code monkeys.

Re:Sour grapes. (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395790)

Corporate political structures can reek havoc when it comes to IT. The larger the corporation the more their top level managers are removed from the technical aspects of a particular implementation. On the other hand not defining and enforcing some coding practices can lead to applications that only the original developer can understand. At a minimum this should include mandating the use of common libraries for implementing the cross cutting features across all the different applications developed for the company.

Re:Sour grapes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396494)

If, on the other hand, he knows what he's talking about and happens to join the Hadoop project, then we might get an open source alternative to Google that gets the same quality of results while requiring less hardware. In that case, it may be possible to decentralize it as well to gain both performance and privacy.

Though I am skeptical that this is the case, I certainly wish we didn't have to put up with Google anymore.

I wonder (4, Interesting)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394106)

Does an obsession with following a certain set of methodologies always benefit the bottom line?

Re:I wonder (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395090)

Ideally you'd pick the best solution for the problem every time. The problem is then that you end up with very many solutions, and you need ideal people who understand all of them.

Methodology is a way of narrowing down the variables, here we do it this way and that's what you need to learn too. That way developers become more flexible and components more reusable.

Then you go too far and try banging the square peg in the round hole. Obsession is not good. Total lack of methodology is not good. As usual the answer is somewhere in between, that kind of fuzzy answer nobody really likes.

Re:I wonder (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396234)

When it comes to methods, you pick the set that makes the most sense, and stick with it. It's like I keep telling my boss. You can't just copy and paste a new method into your culture, and expect it to work properly. Choice of methods should come from trial and error, and a commitment to doing things right. What right means to you may vary. But if you're switching out your method for every solution... you're not using a method. You're playing chicken.

If you choose wisely. Yes.
Those methods do impact the bottom line.

But only if you've picked the right method, and implemented it properly.

Big Deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394138)

An ancient creaking dinosaur on the largest distributed system in the world is still big enough to EAT YOU. - www.awkwardengineer.com [awkwardengineer.com]

Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394158)

He obviously didn't fit into the culture and completely missed the point of Google's infrastructure. They make great use of old tech. Instead of throwing it away because it can't process as quickly as the new top of the line, it processes what it can. There still isn't a solid commercial product that does what Google's infrastructure does. Hopefully one day we'll all be there.

Haha (3, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394168)

the guy got so accustomed to good that his standards seem to have perpetually got raised. he thinks google's state is 'bad'. lucky him.

Re:Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395210)

I want to hire him! After all, anyone who knows better than Google MUST be really good! And hopefully, he won't dump on my company when he leaves in disgust.

Re:Haha (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395308)

My thoughts exactly. He sounds like someone in academia land - the same guys who think that most industry players are dinosaurs for not using Haskell and similar bleeding edge stuff.

In truth, all big players have to be reasonably conservative in the adoption of technology, because otherwise the risks become unmanageable. For example, Google standardized on Java, C++ (or rather a fairly conservative subset thereof), and Python - all mature, established platforms. On the other hand, Google does actively participate in development of those; not sure about C++, actually, but they definitely have a strong presence in Java development process, and Python - well, Guido is a Google employee. And then there is experimental stuff, such as Go, being slowly adopted.

Few companies can boast being that far ahead from the bulk (think of all the companies still on Java 1.4 for in-house development, for example). If he's not content with this arrangement, then he shouldn't work for a company of that size in the first place. Find some startup where they can implement crazy ideas just like that, just to see if it works or not (and possibly fail if it doesn't, but on that size, who cares?).

Re:Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395762)

Haskell and other similar languages are not bleeding edge -

functional languages have been around since the 50's with lisp,

and strongly typed functional languages since at least the 70s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ML_%28programming_language%29

Re:Haha (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396388)

FP is not bleeding edge, and neither is strong typing. But Haskell is more than just a functional strongly typed language. ML is also that, but it's definitely not bleeding edge.

Haskell is on the forefront of type system research right now - a lot of various experimental stuff is there, especially if you look at GHC rather than language standard. STM is also actively investigated there. Finally, due to the language being pervasively lazy, it offers some unique optimization challenges.

Academia v. industry (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394184)

This guy seems to have never lost his academic mindset, it's not at all surprising, or bad really, that Google is keeping around old technology. Guess what, they have this thing called operations where they pretty much have to be up 24x7 so that they can serve customer requests. They cannot just start dumping infrastructure that:
a) work and
b) they have invested significant amounts of money in
just because some new technology came around. If everybody in industry did that, it would be absolute chaos and nobody would be able to get anything done. This is just as true in computers as it is with steel mills.

Now compare this with academia, where they have no real customer base to speak of. They can constantly push the boundaries, try new technologies, change their infrastructure etc. That seems to be where this guys mindset remains.

Note that I'm not bashing academia as being out of touch with "reality" or anything like that, the entire POINT of academia is to push these boundaries, industry exists to take these advances, combine them with their own, and then deploy them in an operationally efficient manner.

Re:Academia v. industry (4, Insightful)

back@slash (176564) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394346)

Was going to post something similar. I've observed that at some point most developers go from "must always use the latest and greatest" mindset out of college to "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mindset that comes with a few gray hairs. Just like any company Google would need to justify the cost of upgrading to newer technologies against any new capabilities the technologies would enable to either save costs or drive new revenue. If that cost can't be justified they could be running on existing technology for a long time (of course ensuring that you can hire people that know enough about these technologies is another story..)

Re:Academia v. industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395664)

Agreed, nothing is perfect and usually it is good enough if it works and provides results. I can only guess what amount of service takes to keep Google up and running in the hostile environment such as internet. Proven technology is pure gold in this case.

What abot Unix, Posix etc. It's ancient but well designed. Of course time always brings something that wasn't foreseen so you put in workarounds and live with it, not start from scratch every 3 years.

I'm working on one of LHC's experiments. We can always say the tech is dated and could be built better. Go ahead, this iteration took 15+ years to get up to the working point. The core data format infrastructure is 90's work (ROOT) - I'm absolutely not happy with everything - but has received a lot of tuning, improvements and obligatory hacks and workarounds. It does everything it was meant to do, and people are generally happy with how experiment deals with ever increasing luminosity and collected data amounts.
Now to exploit multicore, GPU's and all that, most of it has to be heavily reworked - a 10 year work (only God knows how many man-years). Well newer experiments seem to be taking that route.

Re:Academia v. industry (1, Offtopic)

trout007 (975317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394588)

What about government? I am an engineer that works for the Feds. I use CAD software daily and had a 5 year old workstation that ran perfectly. But because of some BS contract change with the IT department they "upgraded" me to a new machine. Only it runs the software worse with more errors and crashes. Imalso have this nice feature where the first time I load a .PDF file it crashes but when I open it a second time it works. It's kind of like star trek where only the even numbered films are good. Anyway since I am not and cannot get to be admin on the machine and the contract they hired is clueless I am stuck with this POS machine.

Re:Academia v. industry (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395082)

>>Imalso have this nice feature where the first time I load a .PDF file it crashes but when I open it a second time it works

That my friend is a problem, you most likely have a pirated version of the software, or a related Adobe product, rather sure of it.
I learned that by helping a friend out after his son installed some downloaded crap and added Photoshop. had to do a clean install
go paid a WD passport for all my problems.

Re:Academia v. industry (2)

stabiesoft (733417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394794)

Agree completely, I think he should work at facebook. I hear they roll stuff out all the time for users to test for them. Skype seems to be following that model as well. I am quite satisfied that google operates as they do as I rely on them being there and working for search and so far they have never gone offline. I'm glad he left.

Re:Academia v. industry (1)

geniice (1336589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395290)

Except funding issues in academic environments means that a lot of old stuff that keeps working is kept on. Even if it is horrific VB hacks that run on windows 95.

Re:Academia v. industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395458)

"Now compare this with academia, where they have no real customer base to speak of. They can constantly push the boundaries, try new technologies, change their infrastructure etc."

Or they, in the ivory tower, can constantly build from scratch and reproduce what is already known and done before. You know sometimes they call that insanity [brainyquote.com] .

Re:Academia v. industry (4, Insightful)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396320)

Does it matter?
The point is, Google was once pushing technology. And now, they are not, at least, in these very fields.

None of your I-like-Google post goes against what the guy says. In fact, you're supporting his claims.

Neither are bad things - but I can understand an engineer who wants to use the latest tech or invent new innovative tech instead of using 10 year old stuff.

Re:Academia v. industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396680)

Agreed. In academia some guys with old Ph.D Degree, without having worked in industry at all, imagine a hypothetical world and change things without regard to the reality. This is similar to one of the Supreme court judge said that any reasonable person could refuse to open the door for police or refuse to talk to them. According to him a reasonable person should a Judge like him. Most schools replaced BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, then PASCAL,C,C++ etc., without realising that 50 billion lines of codes of COBOL is still being used by major financial institutions, FORTRAN is still used by Scientist and so on, because the codes work and one can add features if necessary. Tools continuously change and the academia is not dynamic. Because they don't have to code any large project or participate in it without any stake in the income , they want to show that they are the most progressive people. The reality is, their knowledge(in most universities and colleges) is stagnant and their worth is inflated. A very few do make significant contributions, rest are parasites. Unless the complaining guy has his own company and is innovative every day, he is wasting time.

Google seems to be doing okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394218)

U Mad Bro?

What's the opposite of Astro Turf? (-1, Troll)

DeathElk (883654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394222)

Perhaps he just got a job at Microsoft.

Backroom BoneYard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394246)

All companies of any age have obsolete tech. Everyone here knows this.

The shouts about sour grapes and so many people defending google are strange from a group who knows this.

Seriously? (5, Insightful)

fyzikapan (1223238) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394250)

10 year old tech? My last job was using a bunch of stuff originally built in the 1970s! This guy needs to get a grip on reality. You don't throw out something that works, even if it's a bit kludgey sometimes, simply because there's some fancy new thing.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394428)

God, I wish more people had your mindset. I've been giving a lot of thought to this lately as the place I'm at has decision makers that love throwing out working stuff for shiny stuff, and I mean languages, methodologies, etc. Now, most of these guys are hard workers and study up to gain proficiency. I'm thinking now it's just a different approach... mine is to revisit _Datastructures and Algorithms_ or _Code Complete_, theirs is to figure out how to create an interface for every function how taking an Agile class. It's gotten to the point, though, where I've had about enough and will probably be moving to a different industry altogether.

Is it working, though? (2, Insightful)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395540)

Google has had a number of failures, and they do seem to have a hard time pushing out obvious updates and improvements to many of their products. Think about what it says if a company with 26000 employees can't keep a services like Wave going and instead suffers the embarrassment of killing it off three months out of beta.

The reason you still see so much tech coming out of Google is because they have hired a large chunk of the best coders in the world. Google has so many good employees and so few core products that it can be argued that they are actually not working very efficiently.

Re:Is it working, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396478)

Wave's failure had nothing to do with the infrastructure technology and everything to do with the UX and the goal of the product, which no one could figure out. It's not surprising that they killed off a product that had no direction, almost no user adoption, and when explained to users, got weird "wtf would I use that for" faces...

Re:Seriously? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395544)

Don't tell him how old NASA's space shuttles are?

Re:Seriously? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396152)

Totally like my VCR, VHS tapes, 20" CRTV from 1996, etc.

Translation (4, Funny)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394274)

Heaven SUCKS! The noise of all the angel's wings flapping is making it difficult to truly enjoy my harem of supermodels, swimming pool filled with wine and diamond roller skates! I'M OUTTA HERE, SUCKERS.

Re:Translation (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394432)

Seriously, I read "resigned from Google" and had to take a few minutes to get my mind around that concept. Especially if he was a coder. They treat coders like demi-gods.

Re:Translation (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394694)

Seriously, I read "resigned from Google" and had to take a few minutes to get my mind around that concept. Especially if he was a coder. They treat coders like demi-gods.

Well, maybe that's the problem: He didn't want to be treated as mere demigod. :-)

Re:Translation (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396088)

Many people have worked for google and left. They're not all that.

Re:Translation (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394476)

Bye, Doug!

McD's Special Sauce Not So Special (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394330)

Wrote former burger flipper Ferd McFaddle in his blog.

Don't dismiss Dhanji's street cred as a developer (4, Interesting)

MurrayTodd (92102) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394384)

His book on Dependency Injection is one of the few recent computer books I had to go through carefully, and with notepad and highlighter in hand. His work on Google Guice is really notable. This ain't just some Microsoft-bound disgruntled guy.

But it's not necessarily surprising. I'm not very familiar with it, but Google's Wave was one of those allegedly killer technologies that just didn't get the corporate support it needed to reach its potential as a disruptive technology. Still, there's a possible tone of sour grapes here. Hard to know.

I'll just say this: I would love to have the privilege to work with someone of his caliber.

Re:Don't dismiss Dhanji's street cred as a develop (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394704)

chances are he's just another frustrated genius type, pissed off that everyone else couldn't (or he thinks, wouldn't) see everything his way.

Often such arrogance goes hand in hand with hubris as he comes up with amazing stuff that sounds great, perfect in theory, but fails somewhat in the real world where we all know imperfection is good enough.

Maybe he was kicked out, maybe he left. either way, now's his chance to do all that wondrous stuff he dreams of. Slating Google is just unproductive.

Re:Don't dismiss Dhanji's street cred as a develop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395074)

chances are you just made a bunch of stuff up.

Re:Don't dismiss Dhanji's street cred as a develop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395198)

I currently work with a person like this. He worked to get everyone who knew what the hell was going on off the project. Now he has it and has no vision of what to add in. He considers all the 'older guys lazy and unmotivated because they do not want to add a bunch of stuff in'. Uh no we know just add a bunch of shit in makes for long hours for very little gain. Show me a iteration plan that does what you want and then we will talk. Smart guy though. And when he calms down will actually make a good developer.

Typically it is jealously that they didnt think of something and it all needs a total rewrite.

Google wave had the same problem many of these cool things have with them. If you have to explain it your already done. It doesnt work right. I show people a scanner app and THAT they get instantly what they can do with it. Google wave not so much. It was an answer in search of a good problem. It looked cool though. Then they automatically signed everyone up for it. Which made everyone instantly hate it. Yeah his ego was probably bruised pretty hard by that one. 'How dare they not like it why are people so stupid and not seeing the thing I spent the last 2 years working on isnt the coolest thing ever'. Then to get 'big failed project' hung around his neck in a geek culture like that. Yeah I bet he had some biting words on the way out. While the rest were thinking 'dont let the door hit your ass on the way out'.

Re:Don't dismiss Dhanji's street cred as a develop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395388)

Haha fuck you, Dhanji. Google wave didn't die from lack of corporate support, it died because it was utterly fucking pointless.

Re:Don't dismiss Dhanji's street cred as a develop (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395964)

His book on Dependency Injection is one of the few recent computer books I had to go through carefully, and with notepad and highlighter in hand

Is that a good thing? Personally, If I am going through a book closely with a notepad and highlighter, I am either:

  • editing somebody's work
  • trying to extract the useful information from a poorly written work, such as Cocker's Arithmetick [wikipedia.org]
  • Trying to extract meaning from a well written work that assumes knowledge of some topic I am not familiar with (thus I am not the target audience)
  • or making note of all the blatant mistakes/problems in preparation for publishing an article demonstrating the author's sheer incompetence

Re:Don't dismiss Dhanji's street cred as a develop (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396694)

Sometimes there are key phrases in books that summarize a concept well... I like to highlight those. Sometimes something in the book is related to another concept that I'm aware of in another book or in another chapter, I'll make a note of it. If you don't mind marking up a book, which I rarely mind, it's a great way to read... Taking notes while you read can help retention, and it can make it convenient as either a reference or something to cite later in your own work.

That way in the future when you go back to that page, you don't have to scan all of the text on the page about the history of the concept to find what you need to know...

Re:Don't dismiss Dhanji's street cred as a develop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396154)

This isn't a good thing. Dependency injection is another garbage pattern thats trying to work around the design flaws of Java as a language.

duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394390)

designed 10 years ago for building search engines and crawlers.

Well duh..

Obsolete is the new stable? (2)

phoebe (196531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394400)

I think many other companies would be happy to have remotely 'ancient, creaking dinosaur' technology. I ponder to think what the authors opinion of infrastructure technology in the rest of the world that would be lucky to be only 15-20 years old.

Citing MessagePack is certainly surprising as that particular technology is significantly worse than Google Protocol Buffers, the website is littered with bad test procedures and many errors. Google's serialization doesn't have the speed of say TIBCO's QForms or the compactness of Reuters RForms but it is pretty clear from their documentation that flexibility and easy management were preferred goals over utmost highest performing technology.

So what? (2)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394434)

All my ex'es blast me too. And for good reason. According to them.

The moved on to another loser of their own making. How's that workin for ya, honey? Gotten through his six months worth stupid stories yet? Ask him how he likes your hyena-like laugh. Later, babe. See if your latest will move you into your new trailer. Love your new hair.

ps - Hackers struggle in almost every corporation. Something about breaking stuff and not valuing availability over innovation. So do I want a hacker mentality ruling at my bank? Depends. Keep them away from the transaction system and the website, so I can get in and get my money, ok? The ops guys hose it up enough already.

Re:So what? (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396268)

Yeah, but I'm sure all your exes are vindictive whores to begin with.

Good Riddance (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394498)

I worked at a company where the people deploying Hadoop were like him. Most everyone doing actual work wanted to strangle them while yelling "it works fine, stop upgrading every other month and causing hundreds of hours of unnecessary work." Especially since most of the changes made things worse (read: bug testing, who needs bug testing) or added features no one wanted. But they were "cutting edge" so the academic minded fools in charge just kept putting them into production. The features that would have helped productivity were of course too boring for them to bother with.

Did he just compare MapReduce to JSON? (1)

HenryKoren (735064) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394550)

Because a simple name-value pair object & array data serialization format is wayyyyyy better than a distributed data storage and retrieval system. Right...

Re:Did he just compare MapReduce to JSON? (1)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36396110)

Did he just compare MapReduce to JSON?

Yeah, that sounded funny to me, too. I'm used to hearing people say "programming HTML", but claiming "algorithms are better than data formats" is just... nonsense all the way down!

Re:Did he just compare MapReduce to JSON? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396826)

Because a simple name-value pair object & array data serialization format is wayyyyyy better than a distributed data storage and retrieval system. Right...

Uh, I think he's comparing Protocol Buffers to JSON.

The short release cycle is to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36394670)

Despite his complaints being slightly out of touch with the realities of the antquities that keep modern businesses running (we still have a useful fax machine where I work, and send bills with stamps by snail mail), I can see why someone would come to such conclusions. We seem to be living in a era of shorter and shorter, product release cycles. It seems everytime I read a news article or press release there is always a newer version of a product being released, or software being updated with new version numbers. There are so many "updates" it is hard to keep up with what products and what changes and features are being introduced. It is also strongly marketed that if you don't have the latest version of something you are somehow missing out. To me it seems like a psychological disease of our own making. I wonder what type of psychological stresses and consequences/costs these shorter release cycles are causing in the general populace? Personally I would prefer if things would slow down just a little for sanity. I have not lived long enough to know the pace of development say 100 years ago, but in my short 40 years of life it does appear that development is happening at a faster rate than say 20 years ago and my dad thought things were moving pretty fast then.

my 2c

The dude needs to grow up (2)

alexmin (938677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394714)

He will see the point in using those "obsolete" (read stable) technologies in 10 years: the goal of business is to make money, not make work by constantly upgrading.

Make Money Fast (1, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36394952)

I think I see what he's getting at. In the past few years, a few people have gotten rich doing something really dumb, but popular and scalable. Angry Birds, Farmville, and Twitter come to mind. (Not Facebook; there's a lot of heavy machinery behind the scenes making that go.) Google hasn't been doing that kind of thing. Some people think that's a problem.

In reality, Google has exactly the opposite problem. They've been frantically introducing cool "products" that don't make money. Meanwhile, quality has slipped over at the search engine, which generates almost all the revenue.

Basic truth: ads on a search engine are presented when someone is actively looking for something relevant to the ad, which means there's a reasonable chance of a sale. Ads on almost everything else are annoying interruptions. Google is in a really good business, one much better than "social". It's worth bearing in mind that Facebook only generates about 15% of the revenue of Google.

So having APIs which let people do quick little apps isn't going to affect Google's bottom line much. Sorry, hacker types.

All grown up (2)

CaroKann (795685) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395124)

Sounds like to me that Google's all grown up now.

Re:All grown up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396674)

Exactly. Much of Google's engineering staff was (and is) hired straight out of college/grad school. Their staff's demographic makeup must surely look a lot different today than it did ten years ago. So, yes, those who stayed must have grown up much.

In fact, if we are to believe their accounts, for many of these so called xooglers, Google, in retrospect, was just a stepping stone from college to the real world.

--
1 a bee (one of many countable cowards)
---
 
Q: You mean I can't login?

A: We're still working on a bug affecting users with non-letters in there usernames..

What's the problem? (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395494)

"describes Google's famous back-end infrastructure as a collection of obsolete technologies, designed 10 years ago for building search engines and crawlers."

Is this supposed to be a problem?

What makes Google money? Search and search ads.

Mature technology designed for search engines by a company with a billion in revenue per year from search ads is probably very good for making money from a search engine.

As I'm reading this through IE6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395686)

I am jealous, as I’m reading this on IE6 running on XP. Now I have to back and fix that stupid bug in the COBOL code that runs on our main frame.

Re:As I'm reading this through IE6 (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395826)

Least you could do is read it on Chrome running on XP like I am.

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