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Google's Rasmussen on Google Maps

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the musing-and-supposing dept.

Google 134

jbp1337 writes "During a presentation at Sydney University last week, the lead engineer behind Google Maps, Lars Rasmussen offered an interesting insight into how it all came together. Rasmussen is working on a number of AJAX applications that provide a rich desktop-like interface to the end-user from within the Web browser. Other interesting things include a Linux port of Google Earth, the company is opening a new engineering center in Sydney, and Google's design philosophy is based on end-user loyalty - not money. On the rumor of a Web-based office suite from Google, Rasmussen said he is unaware of one 'but there are 3000 people that work for Google'."

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134 comments

FIRST POST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804168)

OMG FIRST POST!

1st post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804179)

Lucky me :)

Is XUL part of AJAX? (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804183)

Is XUL part of AJAX? I know it has the XML component, but I'm unclear on this one. Can anyone shed any light on what AJAX is and how it differs from XUL?

Re:Is XUL part of AJAX? (5, Informative)

zallus (714582) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804203)

XUL is a user-interface description language created by Mozilla. XAML is a user-interface description language created by Microsoft. AJAX is a method of using Javascript to asynchronously update parts of page content without refreshing the entire page.

Re:Is XUL part of AJAX? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804289)

And parent is a karma whore. :-D

Re:Is XUL part of AJAX? (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804440)

In other words, AJAX is a new fancy name for what people have been doing with Javasript for the past five+ years, XUL is a user-interface description language created by and for Mozilla.

Re:Is XUL part of AJAX? (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 8 years ago | (#13806169)

AJAX is using Javascript RPC methods. So that part of the program is running in your browser and the other part on the server.

Re:Is XUL part of AJAX? (3, Funny)

The OPTiCIAN (8190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805335)

And don't forget XENU, the galactic ruler who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of people to Earth, stacked them around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs.

AJAX Info (4, Informative)

AngryNick (891056) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804600)

From a ComputerWorld article on AJAX (July 2005): [computerworld.com]

The AJAX acronym was born on Feb. 18, 2005, when it first appeared in a paper titled "Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications" [adaptivepath.com], which was written by Jesse James Garrett, a founder of Web consultancy Adaptive Path LLC. The term has generated a lot of buzz among developers and bloggers so far this year, but it's only the name that's new.

Rasmussen must really rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804196)

Google map:

You are here ------> Rasmussen.

Does the map update whenever he moves. Could be quite a security risk if someone wanted to bomb him.

AJAX (-1, Troll)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804219)

Does Slashdot get a kickback for promoting this stupid acronym?

Re:AJAX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804245)

CmdrTaco loves web technology which is too sophisticated for him to use.

Re:AJAX (2, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804379)

Like CSS. :D

Re:AJAX (1)

Gnascher (645346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804612)

You might want to go ahead and view source.

This page has SIX linked style sheets for various aspects of the page, as well as for print and handheld media.

Looks to me like Slasdot's gone to CSS school.

Re:AJAX (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804719)

Hi, you must be new here.

Slashdot only implemented proper CSS within the last couple weeks.

Re:AJAX (1)

Gnascher (645346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804749)

Quite aware of that ... and they did a fine job of it too.

My point is that your post is a couple weeks late, since CSS is no longer a technology that is too advanced for Cmdr Taco to implement on Slashdot. ;)

Re:AJAX (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804846)

Except, I'm pretty sure all he did was implement it. I don't keep up on the goings on of slashcode, but I seem to recall that others had cleaned up and fixed the CSS stuff in slashcode long ago and they just got around to actually activiating it on Slashdot itself.

So what is the next technology Malda needs to implement? And remember, it'll be a good six years before it actually happens. I'm thinking some sort of dupe-detector that does a quick link/headline search of previous articles and forces the editor to see a list of them after submitting the article, but before publishing. It's revolutionary, but . .. it just might work!

Re:AJAX (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804415)

Does Slashdot get a kickback for promoting this stupid acronym?
Seriously, the article summarised does not use this term - it's clearly been added either to push it, or to provoke discussion (again)...

Re:AJAX (1)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805756)

It might be stupid, but it a hell of a lot easyer to tell your boss your gona use ajax for a project then telling him that your gona use a javascript that talks to whatewer backend which returs the neded data as xml which the javascript then can use to dynamicly update the page.

a bit of a "plug" for google in the submission (0, Flamebait)

jkind (922585) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804225)

"and Google's design philosophy is based on end-user loyalty - not money."
Wow, I figured it was all based on dollars..
Next time there is a MS story posted, be sure to note how MS brings clarity into the world
http://www.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com]

Re:a bit of a "plug" for google in the submission (2, Interesting)

Hyperlink Processor (923293) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804280)

Does it cost you to do a google search? Does gmail cost? My "opinion" is that that "opinion" is fairly factual. Google uses free services to instill loyalty and keep people coming back... and clicking on their ads.

Hmm, I can't really think of any free MS services off the top of my head. Definitely not any that don't tie in with their OS or something.

Re:a bit of a "plug" for google in the submission (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804334)

and clicking on their ads

Which makes them money. Google is "all about" making money, just like every other for-profit company on Earth. They choose to do so by creating loyalty in the users of their products, which drives ad sales. In the case of Google, much like television networks, their "customers" are the advertisers, not the actual end users of their products.

Re:a bit of a "plug" for google in the submission (1)

Hyperlink Processor (923293) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804418)

Google is "all about" making money

Exactly! The users of their products do not buy anything and get access to quality product. "Giving somebody good stuff for free instills loyalty," and "Google ads are easy to ignore."


Google's design philosophy is based on end-user loyalty - not money.

That statement makes a good point, even though it's more like Google's design philosophy is based on using end-user loyalty to make money.

Google spends a lot of it's time developing quality products that people keep coming back to use. Loyalty. Google doesn't develop those products and then sell them, they develop those products to support their user base and therefore their advertisements.

Re:a bit of a "plug" for google in the submission (1)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 8 years ago | (#13806020)

"Google ads are easy to ignore."
Not to mention "Google ads are more likely to be something you actually care about".

Why I don't care (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804644)

No offense, but it doesn't really matter right now. If a result of Google serving it's advertising customers is a bunch of good stuff for me, I'm generally happy. I mean, there is a risk that the advertisers could then have so much power over Google as its "customers" that they force Google to do things we don't like. But given how that is possible in other industries where the customer-company relationship is traditional (i.e. TiVo), it doesn't seem like any sort of negative change.

Re:a bit of a "plug" for google in the submission (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804762)

Hmm, I can't really think of any free MS services off the top of my head. Definitely not any that don't tie in with their OS or something.

MSN search, MSN messenger, maps.msn.com, hotmail, encarta online, ...

Have you even looked for free services from Microsoft?

Re:a bit of a "plug" for google in the submission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804785)

Hmm, I can't really think of any free MS services off the top of my head. Definitely not any that don't tie in with their OS or something.

MS has a lot of free web-based services on MSN.

Re:a bit of a "plug" for google in the submission (3, Insightful)

BFaucet (635036) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804457)

End user loyalty isn't charity at all. It's a long term profit tactic.

Re:a bit of a "plug" for google in the submission (1)

vavilu (787576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804868)

So whose talking about charity anyways? And whats so wrong with making money while it serves the purpose for which millions of people come in ?? I use to you yahoo for email since 90's and now that I am hooked on to Gmail (read that as end-user satisfaction converted to end-user loyalty) and now I don't mind paying to Google. Its simple economics which is taught in all theoretical lessons. Its just that companies like google implement it in a new way, which later is known as 'googlism'. I don't know about you, but as far as most of the things go, things being legal, I don't mind if someone makes money if I get my work done.

Google Maps Release Worse Than Beta? (4, Interesting)

doodaddy (92272) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804251)

Does anyone else feel that the released Google Maps is worse than the beta? Interstate names are missing, printing via the print button doesn't work right, the list of streets to choose form is on the left which is awkward. The first page take 5 seconds to load often, which is not very Googlish. If you have half of your street info typed in and the page finally finishes loading, it erased your typing so far...

I also have trouble using is from Mozilla 1.7.x but it may be because of adblock or flashblock. But this has been going on in the beta too.

Re:Google Maps Release Worse Than Beta? (2, Insightful)

bleckywelcky (518520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804324)

Yeh, and half the time I'm doing an address search, it does a local search instead of a map search. So when I type in 12345 Street, Town, ST it brings up a local search of pizza houses or something ...

Re:Google Maps Release Worse Than Beta? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804359)

Are you guys all smoking crack? You missed the main thing..

Google Earth for Linux!

How can you fail to miss that? Finally! GE for linux! Rock on! Wheeeeee!!!

Re:Google Maps Release Worse Than Beta? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804419)

I'll wait until they have something for GNU/linux

Re:Google Maps Release Worse Than Beta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804649)

Yes, Google Maps is worse than beta, and Gmail sucks too. Sigh, I used to like Google.

Re:Google Maps Release Worse Than Beta? (2, Interesting)

TeacherOfHeroes (892498) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804901)

Google maps seems to be running very slowly, but it doesnt seem that the slow-down is contained to google maps, either. The google mail server continually goes on and off line like a yo-yo, usually right when I'm about to hit 'Send'.

Even their search pages seem to be taking more time than normal to be served. Maybe speedy, widespread adoption of all these new services is comming back to bite them in the rear.

It's the same thing (3, Insightful)

Fapestniegd (34586) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804293)

Google's design philosophy is based on end-user loyalty - not money.

When you sell ad space alongside your applications, end-user loyalty is money.

Re:It's the same thing (1)

Da Penguin (122065) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804855)

When you sell ad space alongside your applications, end-user loyalty is money.

Exactly! So unlike other companies their business models require them to be considerate and helpful. Combine this with not actually taking money from customers at any point, and you have an environment that shareholders cannot rightfully destroy (never mind that most shareholders have non-voting shares anyway).

Re:It's the same thing (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804900)

Yeah, but when you make less money than you could (say from graphical ads) you are also doing it for your users. It's a longterm thing - make your users happy by not placing colorful flashy ads, and they'll keep coming back. So yeah, it is about money, but the method to get that money is user loyalty.

I'd say they are doing a good job based on how many google fanboys are out there

Suggestion: walk soft, carry big stick (4, Insightful)

slittle (4150) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804298)

Rasmussen is working on a number of AJAX applications that provide a rich desktop-like interface to the end-user from within the Web browser.
Netscape had the exact same idea a decade ago (sans trendy development tools of course). "We're going to make the operating system obsolete" they said. And we all know what Microsoft thought about that, and what happened to Netscape as a result.

Re:Suggestion: walk soft, carry big stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804588)

If you were to somehow sum up all the idiotic things stated on the Net and pick out the median 'dumb point' it would be the "just look at what Microsoft did to Netscape.'

Re:Suggestion: walk soft, carry big stick (1)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804793)

A decade ago, Microsoft had a lot of "bling" power with Windows 95, and could do no wrong in the eyes of most people. Also, the computers of that era were "adequate" or "underpowered" for what they were doing. Network connections for the overwhelming majority were limited to dial-up.

Fast forward a decade. You have people using 1 GHz processors (and faster) just to check email and play solitaire. Memory is more abundant, browsers are more robust, and significantly more users have some level of broadband connection.

We shouldn't forget what Microsoft is capable of (ethically or financially), but it's unfair to worry that all new ventures will fail because of the MS presence.

Re:Suggestion: walk soft, carry big stick (2, Insightful)

millette (56354) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804823)

Also, it was pretty much just a dream in netscape's mind, whereas google is in a much stronger position today when comparing both to microsoft.

Re:Suggestion: walk soft, carry big stick (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804987)

At that time, Netscape made most of their money selling software: they even sold the web browser originally, and they sold server-side software. Microsoft was very able to hurt them: by giving away Internet Explorer, they cut out all the revenue from Netcsape's browser sales (Netscape was forced to give away their browser); by bundling IIS with server versions of Windows, MS put pressure on Netscape's server sales.

Compare with the current situation of Google vs. Microsoft. Microsoft can't force Google to stop selling search, because Google's search service is already free (supported by ads). All Microsoft can do is bring competing services to the market, but that's not a slam-dunk. When MS bundled IE with Windows that really cut into Netscape's browser market share, because most people would not bother to get a web browser if they already had one.

So, trying to compare history with the present, I guess the scariest thing Microsoft could do would be to ship IE with a bunch of links already pointing to Microsoft services. Don't they already do that? And isn't Google still doing well?

Google became the #1 search engine because they returned better results than the competition, and PEOPLE SWITCHED. The browser wars history shows us that people don't usually switch browsers, but Google shows that people do switch web services if one is better.

So all Google has to do is keep offering really good services and there is little Microsoft can do to hurt them. If Google keeps offering the best services, and pioneers new ones to get first-mover advantage, they will keep winning.

creators mapping yOUR future (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804346)

easy come, easy goo?

don't forget, for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way) there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/US as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Office Suite (5, Funny)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804369)

Obviously Mr. Rasmussen needs to spend more time on Slashdot and he would know that he has in fact preparing to release an office suite.....

Re:Office Suite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13806104)

Actually, it is Dr. Rasmussen instead of Mr. Rasmussen.

Gmail as a web-based word processor (4, Interesting)

Sundroid (777083) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804382)

Gmail is another AJAX application, and it has immense possibilities. I wrote this comment using Gmail, checked my spelling with its spellchecker, saved it in Draft, and it is stored on Google's server, which is safer than my own hard drive.

Web-based applications are here to stay, and if they are from reputable companies like Google and Yahoo, you know your files stored on their servers will remain there for a long time, if not forever.

Re:Gmail as a web-based word processor (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804430)

Terminal computing is here to stay! It's cheaper and safer. The data is centralized, where it can be backed up by people smarter than me. Applications are updated, added, and managed for me!!! I can sit down at any computer in the lab and instantly, get everything I worked on. I mean, like, wow!

Terminal computing ain't going anywhere, not for a long time.

Re:Gmail as a web-based word processor (1)

nharmon (97591) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804801)

What happens when your network goes down? Either because of an outage or because you're with your laptop and you're miles from the nearest net connection?

Giving up responsibility (1)

drx (123393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804859)

All this stuff is just about giving up responsibilty on the simplest things. Like storing your own files and making backups. Why should i want a "web app" that technically simply cannot compete with a desktop app? ... so Google gives how many Gigabytes of Mail memory, and has database search and threading ... well i have a 120 GB harrdrive here and Opera mail. Computing speed and storage was never cheaper, easier, more portable or saver than now, great free software in beer and speech is behind every corner and exactly at this very moment all these "web apps" are becoming a success. I think this is plain weird.

Re:Giving up responsibility (3, Interesting)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804962)

When was the last time a non-geek friend of yours made a backup of his personal hard drive?

Thought so.

D

Re:Gmail as a web-based word processor (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804528)

Some might say that allowing a corporation to store your files forever is a bad thing.

Re:Gmail as a web-based word processor (2, Insightful)

russint (793669) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804695)

and if they are from reputable companies like Google and Yahoo, you know your files stored on their servers will remain there for a long time, if not forever.
Whether you want it or not

Re:Gmail as a web-based word processor (1)

alan.briolat (903558) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805024)

All well and good, until the US government yet again exercises their right to obtain any information held on US servers, then you might think twice about using the services if you value your privacy...

What would be good is some kind of encryption integrated into such services, so that nobody can obtain any useful information of yours from the server, however I can't see that happening as Google would get legal flak for 'obstruction of "justice"'. Remember, if you value privacy, you're a terrorist!

Re:Gmail as a web-based word processor (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13805045)

Gmail is another AJAX application, and it has immense possibilities. I wrote this comment using Gmail, checked my spelling with its spellchecker, saved it in Draft, and it is stored on Google's server, which is safer than my own hard drive.

For those of us using reliable hardware, that's not a real benefit. I could've written this reply in any of a dozen text editors or word processors on my system, spell checked it, and saved it to my hard drive, a CD, a flash drive, a floppy disk, my work's network or my hosting company's servers. All of which I trust more than google's servers.

Web-based applications are here to stay, and if they are from reputable companies like Google and Yahoo, you know your files stored on their servers will remain there for a long time, if not forever.

Possibly. Or they can cancel your account and delete all your data at their whim. From gmail Terms of Use: Google may at any time and for any reason terminate the Services, terminate this Agreement, or suspend or terminate your account. In the event of termination, your account will be disabled and you may not be granted access to your account or any files or other content contained in your account although residual copies of information may remain in our system.

Re:Gmail as a web-based word processor (1)

cmglee (886682) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805338)

> Yahoo, you know your files stored on their servers will remain there for a long time, if not forever. Try not checking your Yahoo mail for 3 months. Dunno about GMail but I wound't be surprised if they have a similar policy.

Marketing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804383)

Google have the one thing almost no other advertiser have. User loyalty and brand identity. Who the hell *loves* ClearChannel? No one. I bet even most people that use their services would say they loved them. People never stop saying how much they love Google.

*Everything* Google do is a way to make people look at more adverts. Providing services for users just makes more users look at them. Perhaps this is why they are the largest advertising agency in the world?

Re:Marketing (1)

bastardsquadmuzz (573762) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805352)

> *Everything* Google do is a way to make people look at more adverts.

Slightly off-topic I know, but partly relevant. When Gmail was first released everyone was saying how awful it is that they would be scanning your emails and printing ads. Yet I've been using Gmail for about two weeks and haven't seen any ads yet, and the only ad-blocking software I use is Firefox's pop-up blocker. Is this normal?

Re:Marketing (2, Informative)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805538)

"Perhaps this is why they are the largest advertising agency in the world?"

Correction...they are not an ad agency, they are in the business of ad sales. The difference is that while an ad agency creates ads for clients, Google sells ad space. Just a note from your friendly local ad exec.

Technology vs Ethics (3, Insightful)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804482)

Rasmussen offered plain advice for people wanting to develop a Web application, "Don't break the simplicity of the Web" because that is what made it so popular in the first place.

"Google has an amazing infrastructure to do this [and] we have the power to process it; all we need are engineers," he said.

What about ethicists? How many of the people at Google are in charge of considering the impact of what they do, or do they all just assume the spread of knowledge is unconditionally good? (It hasn't necessarily worked out that way in atomic energy, for example. And even less auspicious technological advances like reverse-indexing the phone book have had mixed results sociologically. Not to mention search engines themselves, which haven't been 100% positive in their privacy impact.)

Knowledge is not Wisdom. The Ability to do something is not the Right to do it. Were it so, terrorism would be utterly defensible because it pretty uniformly involves the use of knowledge and ability to take some action that serves the selfish or thoughtless need of the person doing it. What stands between terrorism and righteous/respected power is not ability but ethics--not the knowledge of how to do something, but the wisdom to know when not to do something.

Note that I have not called the Google folks terrorists nor said they shouldn't do what they do. I'm just tired of seeing stories about what Google can do, and I'm interested in seeing more stories about how Google itself decides what is good and bad for it to actually do. Is it really mere lack of engineers that is holding them back from doing arbitrary things? Or do they factor in issues of privacy, security, morality, etc. into their basic design. I'd love to see some stories about that because in stories like this one here, it always seems to be a lacking element. Is profit motive and national law all that the world needs to adjust in order to assure that our collective sensibilities are not violated? If something is not illegal, is that an invitation for Google to do it (ready supply of engineers permitting, of course)?

I don't think they only need engineers. I think they also need ethicists. What I don't know is whether they think that.

Re:Technology vs Ethics (1)

Mathiasdm (803983) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804513)

You know, engineers have ethics too...

Re:Technology vs Ethics (1)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804656)

You know, engineers have ethics too...

I never said they didn't. (Nor that they did.) Engineers are people. Some are ethical, some are not. On the whole, probably most are ethical just like any other cross-section of society. But engineers do not have the power to enforce their ethics.

If I, as an engineer at a search engine company, told my boss that I didn't think I felt ethically good about some product we were deploying, I'd feel my job was on the line. It's not like there's a federal protection like the "whistleblower law" that ensures my safety. Besides, ethics is often something that involves more information and time than the average engineer has. It's just not his/her job to worry about. But I think it should be someone's.

Not that all cases are even so clearcut as binary Good and Bad. Some ethical lines are complicated and require discussion. I just never hear stories about such discussion. And the people involved in the discussion when it does happen rarely sound to me like a group of employees at the company in question who are specifically charged with coming up with an ethical position, protected from being fired for actually taking a position contrary to "go ahead", and reliably capable of influencing rollout based on such a position.

Re:Technology vs Ethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804670)

You need to do more research...perhaps on google about google...:-)

id est: "Do no evil", etc.

Re:Technology vs Ethics (1)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804708)

The same kinds of concerns you raise could also be used with respect to libraries or even printing presses. Progress is impossible without limited negative consequences. The important thing is that the negative is out balanced by the positive and that deliberate evil should be avoided. I may be naive, but I believe Google when they claim they try not to do evil. I think they are actually unusual among US corporations in having that attitude.

Re:Technology vs Ethics (2, Interesting)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805304)

I believe Google when they claim they try not to do evil

I don't know if I'd believe or disbelieve such a statement, but I've not seen it in so plain a form. But even then, to "try" is an interesting thing. In a person, I take it to imply that meaningful amounts of energy are expended toward the acheivement of the stated goal. So what really interests me is how they implement it. Trying not to do evil has to be more than simply an accidental effect of getting probably-well-intentioned people together and letting them do hopefully-well-intentioned things; I would not accept that as a process. If they do have a process, I'd like to hear something about why it leads to a better-than-chance set of ill effects. If they don't have a process, I'd like to know why they think they can make such claims (if they even do).

Heck, for that matter, as a first round of discussion, I'd almost bargain down to a clear definition of the goal they are "trying" to achieve--that is, an understanding of what they think is the "evil" they are trying to avoid. Without knowing what they think is good and evil, how can I know that the evil they are trying to avoid is the evil I or you or anyone cares about? And if I don't know that, I don't know what it means to trust them. They might mean that claim in all good faith, and yet not be doing what I want or need them to do.

Re:Technology vs Ethics (2, Insightful)

danFL-NERaves (302440) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804722)

What they should do? Google is a corporation. That is, they are a legal entity which was created for the purpose of creating value and limiting the liability of a group of owners. It's mandate is to do whatever it is capable of doing in pursuit of creating additional value for the owners.

Why would Google have Ethicists 'in charge' of considering the impact of what it does? Ethicists function best when they are able to independently comment on the actions of such corporate entities in a forum conducive to public review and consideration. A forum where an open debate of the pros and cons of actions can be proposed by a plurality of Ethicists and concerned observers. Having an Ethicist in a position where their self interest is coincident with the business interests of their employer seems like a situation designed to marginalize the ability of the Ethicist to affect change.

Dan

Re:Technology vs Ethics (0)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 8 years ago | (#13806211)

What they should do? Google is a corporation. That is, they are a legal entity which was created for the purpose of creating value and limiting the liability of a group of owners.

I am not limited in my commentary to only asking questions for which there are easy answers. Nor is the only possible result of my commentary (or a discussion in which my commentary is just one of many posts) a change in Google. It might be that indeed a change in law is needed. It might be that through talking, I come to accept what Google sometimes does as more reasonable than I thought.

But, in point of fact, I don't take it as fixed that corporations must have as their sole goal the instantaneous enrichment of their stockholders. That is a possible reading of present law, but both law and readings of law can change.

Also, one way to limit liability is to not do things that others might find unethical, so having ethics is not necessarily incompatible with profit.

But some of us are both stockholders and affected parties, so a company that pollutes may improve the profits of its stockholders but if it poisons the waters those stockholders drink, it isn't clearly helping those people either. Liability law addresses some of this, but I think it doesn't take a huge stretch to explain to stockholders that you didn't go into a certain business area because it seemed bad for society. At the point where stockholders are suing corporations for breach of fiduciary responsibility by not exploiting technology at the expense of the public interest, then we can worry about it not being in the corporation's best interest. Google is not running short of ways to make money, as nearly as I can tell, so I don't personally expect it to experience a nearterm rash of such suits.

And anyway, if your posture is that corporations are not the right place to house ethicists, and if corporations like Google agree, then all the more reason for people on the outside to subject them to scrutiny of this kind. Not just me but people writing these stories. My original comment was not just about Google, but about the starstruck style of reporting Google always gets. "Wow, Google is so cool. If I just tell you what they think, you'll be so awestruck you won't dare ask for more of me, the reporter. Just let me open a pipe from God (them) straight to you and you will ask for nothing more." As far as I'm concerned, it's not necessary to merely quote what Google people have to say--let's see some critical analysis of what Google is saying and doing.

Mercator projection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13804556)

It took them forever to switch to the Mercator projection. The fact that they didn't initially start with the Mercator projection sets an upper bound on the IQ of Rasmussen.

Re:Mercator projection (2, Interesting)

s-orbital (598727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805116)

Hey, I live in (Alaska|Greenland|Russia) you insensitive clod!!! (Actually Russia, but I used to live in Alaska). The Mercator Projection really stretches out the Northern and Southern areas of the world quite badly.

Re:Mercator projection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13806161)

Water has a problem too: it freezes below 0 degrees C. That doesn't mean Coke should be made out of antifreeze.

pretty, but that's it; no real feature innovation (5, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804563)

Rasmussen is working on a number of AJAX applications that provide a rich desktop-like interface to the end-user from within the Web browser.

Too bad the only thing going for Google maps is that it is pretty (antialiased graphics, map can be as large as you want) and lets you pan. That's really the ONLY thing that is innovative about it- not even the "use google maps for displaying stuff from your site" is innovative; Yahoo and Mapquest have been doing this for years.

  • You cannot save addresses (such as your home address).
  • You cannot change the route or set preferences (ie avoid toll roads etc).
  • You can't see traffic or construction information.
  • You cannot do multi-point routes. Ie go from your house to Jane's house and then to the movie theater. Laughable, except that's something people want to do quite a bit.
  • Interstate numbers and road names are not shown nearly enough. Except for major highways, Google uses uncommon, unmarked road names. For example- headed into Tufts University, you take Route 2 to Route 16, and that is how they are marked on the streets. But Google Maps refers to it as "route 2 to Concord Turnpike to Alewife Brook Parkway. 99% of people in Boston would have no idea where "Concord Turnpike" is; 95% of them don't call Route 16 anything but "16", and it's not MARKED anything but "16"!
  • Local search is almost worthless. It only finds addresses which are on websites (was it too much effort to buy a yellow pages directory database?) and when you do a search and specify "in the map area below", it promptly COMPLETELY ignores you and shows you have a effing STATE.
  • Printing prints a LOW RESOLUTION version of the big map. Great, so I can tell I'm going from somewhere in the middle of Massachusetts, to somewhere in the middle of Boston, via the mass turnpike. Wonderful.

Funny thing, but MS Streets has NONE of these problems- it's not perfect, but it is FAR superior to Google Maps in useability and features people need; it has a nice way of compressing the map into a page, it's high resolution, saves addresses, does a near PERFECT job of finding "what's within the radius circle I draw", and it uses both route numbers and the uncommon road names. Nothing sets Google Maps apart from its web-based cousins, either- except for the basic map display. It certainly hasn't revolutionized online maps.

Re:pretty, but that's it; no real feature innovati (1)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804583)

Call me a fanboy, but I am completely confident that Google will fix every single problem that you noted above. You just need to wait until they're ready to release the update.

Re:pretty, but that's it; no real feature innovati (2, Informative)

millette (56354) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804913)

"Local search is almost worthless. It only finds addresses which are on websites (was it too much effort to buy a yellow pages directory database?)"

Why can't I find a particular business listing in Google Local? [google.com]

Where does Google Local get its information? [google.com]

Aside from the ms remark (can't comment on that), the rest of your points are quite valid. So everything that google touches doesn't turn to gold, what a relief.

Re:pretty, but that's it; no real feature innovati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13805155)

And if you want a fancy interface map.search.ch [search.ch] does a much better job of it anyway (try turning on their webcam overlay, or their train station overlay, and hover over the resulting symbols, for instance)...

Re:pretty, but that's it; no real feature innovati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13805522)

In regards to your Boston comment... look at your elected senators, the average Boston citizen isn't all that bright.

Re:pretty, but that's it; no real feature innovati (1)

soliptic (665417) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805967)

Completely agree: I never use Google maps, I stick with Multimap. No fancy Ajax interface, a smaller viewable map, and a lot more (offensive) adverts, may seem to make this a weird choice, but there's another point you didn't mention which swings it for me:

Google's projection simply f#&%ing sucks!

I can't stand it, it looks ridiculous and almost unrecognisable compared to both the world as I know it and other maps (OS, etc) that I've already seen.

mapsonus.switchboard.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13806083)

does multipoint routes. Was very useful when we were house hunting
and looking at 4-5 houses every day.

3000 eh? (1)

mccalli (323026) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804610)

Wonder if one of them could find time to update their maps data to be correct. I'm in the UK - put in my postcode and it has me in a completely different town. Reported as a bug about three months ago (within a week of Google Maps UK launching, don't know exact date), reported by others since and still more people I know have reported that they've been placed incorrectly too.

It's the only mapping service to get me in the wrong place. Streetmap.co.uk is fine, multimap.com is fine, the MS one whose name temporarily escapes me is fine...just Google. Wonder where they're sourcing their data from?

Cheers,
Ian

You need to report it here (1)

NigelJohnstone (242811) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805107)

I'm doing a test on this, if you report it through the proper email addresses it gets filtered, you get that 'we welcome your feedback' crap from their Google *bots* in customer relations. If you mention it on a discussion board that the programmers read it will get fixed, quote the response number.

So describe it now in response to a Google story.

Read "Suggestions -> /dev/null ?"
http://www.nigeljohnstone.com/archives/2005/10/sug gestions_-_d.html [nigeljohnstone.com]
(My blog, so its full of half assed ideas).

For Google I've been doing the numbers, if you explain your comment or suggestion here, you get a much better response rate than their email addresses.

please stop (1)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804625)

You misspelled AJAX. It is supposed to be spelled j-a-v-a-s-c-r-i-p-t. What you memers call "AJAX" is some company's rebranding of existing javascript functionality that's been around for years. Please stop.

Re:please stop (1)

hey (83763) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804834)

Guess what, whether or not AJAX should be called AJAX... it is now.
Someday it will even be Ajax.

Two google posts today. (1)

LoveTheIRS (726310) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804678)

Yep...we've doubled the rate of the google articles on slashdot. Seems, that there's now one "google is awesomers!" post, and one "google is so popular it is making corrput governments worried post."

Ah ha (1)

Da Penguin (122065) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804826)

Like a secret society you have to know how to pick up on their clues.

>Rasmussen said he is unaware of one 'but there are 3000 people that work for Google'.

He is wrong about the latter, so he must be wrong about the former as well! Maybe he discovered something that he wasn't supposed to, so he left some mental hints lodged deep in his brain to remind himself of what he is aware of.

See, Google is much cooler than Microsoft.

end-user loyalty (1)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804902)

I didn't notice anything of this end-user loyalty when Google switched from the old Google Groups to the new layout & design. The old, loyal user base cried out against this move but Google didn't listen.

How does Google Maps Work? (1)

HeyBob! (111243) | more than 8 years ago | (#13804924)

I've seen a few articles on it but what I'm really interested in is how they do the scrolling. I'd like to build a slideshow based on the same priciples: load only the image the browser is currently showing and when the user scrolls the image left or right, load the proper image and get rid of the older ones. I've seen all the buzzwords (xmlhttprequest,dhtml,xml, ajax, etc.) but not any actual examples of code.
Cheers.

Re:How does Google Maps Work? (1)

giMlids (897648) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805447)

Some Google folks gave a talk at my school. The map is made of tiles that extend well beyond the edge of the display...when you drag to the right, the tiles on the far left are moved to the far right and new images are loaded inside them.

Re:How does Google Maps Work? (2, Informative)

lemnisca (919058) | more than 8 years ago | (#13806067)

I was actually at the talk Rasmussen gave at the University of Sydney. He gave quite a good explanation of how it all works. I wrote about it here: http://freespace.atomicscript.com/ [atomicscript.com]. Note, however, that I'm not a web developer or particularly good with javascript, so my interpretation of what he said could well have errors.

Google Maps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13805292)

Too bad Google Maps isn't very accurate.

Less bloat, better search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13805928)

It would be nice if Google stopped adding
crap and used all those PhDs to figure
out a way to efficiently support regular
expressions in their searches.

Crystal ball (1)

Agmon (890198) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805992)

That guy mentions a lot his crystal ball in the interview. What a poor chap.. I hope his other ball is real.

Not the Google Earth you're looking for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13806164)

Let's be clear, this guy had nothing to do with the keyhole Google Earth stuff. He's one of the 2D browser based mapping guys.
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