Google’s Cambridge Office Assumes Growing Role Inside Search Giant
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things that we do here, but what we didn’t have until recently is the client that you actually play the video on—we were responsible for the streaming but not the actual playing.
X: It sounds like you’re saying it’s good for this office, and for the company, if you have more ownership of certain products.
SV: I think instead of looking at it from the standpoint of products you need to look at in terms of problems. For example, one of the concepts that Google has been very prominent about espousing is that the Internet is all about speed. When experiences go from 10 seconds to 1 second you get a very different value proposition, and more people using it. So performance, and especially reducing latency, is a fundamental part of the Web’s success. When you play a YouTube video, there are many reasons that cause that video to take a certain amount of time to start, and it’s our job to ensure that that experience is a smooth one despite the constant growth in demand and bandwidth requirements.
In order to have influence on all aspects of performance, you’ve got to understand and be involved in every aspect of the user experience. So you, we could get information about the client side of the YouTube playback, but actually working on that client to make the experience better is a fundamentally different way of contributing and gives us greater depth. It’s being able to solve a bigger problem by having all the pieces of the problem available to you.
X: So what parts of Chrome and Chrome OS are you working on here?
SV: We have core teams for both Chrome and Chrome OS. It’s a big investment. But at the moment there is not a ton more we can talk about.
X: Okay, what other projects can you talk about?
SV: There is an open source project that we work on called Page Speed. The idea of Page Speed is to enable any arbitrary developer to assess the performance of their site and make recommendations about how to improve the performance of that site. That tool is something that is available to Google internally, but we see Google’s success as being dependent on the Internet’s success, and on the Internet’s speed. So making that tool available to everyone is in our best interest. The same thing applies to browsers; we are interested in making not just the Chrome browser but all browsers as fast as possible.
X: What about Google Book Search—that’s been one of your big projects for a while.
SV: Google Book Search is one example of a number of corpuses of information that we do searches for. We also do magazine search out of this office, and also patent search. Basically, we’ve been involved in taking the Book Search pipeline—the projects of taking scanned input and turning it into search results—and reusing that pipeline for … Next Page »