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Virtual Interview: David Krane

No doubt you're familiar with the Google search engine. It's now the number one search engine in the world, and in my opinion the best. In this virtual interview, Tim talks with David Krane, the director of corporate communications for Google. Tim asks David about the origins of Google, Googles hardware setup, the founders of Google, as well as Googles $10,000 programming competition and more.

Author Info:
By: Tim Pabst
Rating: 3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars / 2
March 02, 2002
  1. · Virtual Interview: David Krane
  2. · The Interview
  3. · Conclusion

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Virtual Interview: David Krane - The Interview
(Page 2 of 3 )

1. Could you please tell our readers who you are and what your role at Google is?

David Krane, Director of Corporate Communications, my responsibilities include corporate and product public relations, serving as a company spokesperson on a broad range of topics, and working closely with our executive team.

2. Many people (including myself) are amazed at how fast a search executes on Google. Can you tell us the details of Goggle's hardware setup, including number of PC's, operating system, networking gear, etc?

Google uses more than 10,000 machines running Linux to power the search engine.

3. Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the two masterminds behind Google. Can you tell our readers a little about each of them, including their contribution to Google?

Larry Page and Sergey Brin were Ph.D. candidates at Stanford University researching the link structure of the web when they built the search engine that was to become Google. Larry's patented technology that resulted from their research, PageRank(TM), remains the keystone of Google's search technology. Since that time, Larry and Sergey have been and remain hands-on leaders of the company, involved in developing new products, speaking with customers, mentoring new employees and determining the company's strategy for international expansion.

4. I understand that before Google became known as Google, it was known only as BackRub. What activity or shift in thinking made Larry and Sergey change its name?

Google is a play on the word googol, which was coined by Milton Sirotta, nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner, to refer to the number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeros. When Larry and Sergey began to realize the scope of the opportunity their idea presented they chose a new name that would reflect the immense amount of information available on the web and the company's mission to organize it.

5. Today you see all sorts of annoying pop ups and distracting banners of pretty much every search engine... except Google. I know that everyone truly believes the age of the banner ad is dead, so how is Google keeping afloat in terms of profitability?

Google's business model is based on two revenue streams: search services and advertising programs. Google's scalable search services, which include Google WebSearch(TM) and Google SiteSearch(TM), draw on Google's proprietary search technology and include a suite of fully automated options and capabilities.

Google's advertising programs provide online advertisers a choice of two text-based advertising programs: the Premium Sponsorship program and the self-service AdWords program. As result, Google powers 130 corporate customers in 30 countries, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And Google helps thousands of active advertisers reach users in a targeted manner without compromising the user experience.

6. Google is ranked as the worlds most popular search engine. Can you name the top 5 things that you think separates Google from "the rest of the pack"?
  1. Google search results are completely automated, objective and unedited. Once the order of results is determined, it is not edited or re-ordered in any way and positions among the results are never sold to advertisers.
  2. Google provides users with the most comprehensive search available with more than 3 billion web documents indexed including 2 billion web pages, 330 million images and 700 million Usenet postings.
  3. The interface on our homepage is clean and uncluttered by cumbersome banner ads or portal features and enables faster page-loads without distraction.
  4. Google's PageRank (TM) and sophisticated text matching technology offers users the most relevant search results available.
  5. Google's scalable infrastructure enables results to be returned quickly, usually in less than half a second.
7. Can you describe the setup of the Google indexing system in detail? Which programming language(s) was it written in? What data structures/repositories are used to store the information? How are they stored, cached and accessed?

As a policy, this information is confidential.

8. I understand that Google is currently running a competition that involves creating a solution to use some of Goggle's indexed data. How does this competition work and where can our visitors go to enter?

Google's first annual Programming Contest challenges programmers to create software that does something innovative and compelling with a preselected set of 900,000 webpages with the ability to scale to Internet proportions. The winner of the contest will receive $10,000, a VIP visit to Google, and may get to test their program on Google's 10,000 servers and collection of 3 billion web documents. More information about the contest can be found here.

9. I've always been curious as to what the Google offices look like. I know that you all bounce around on colored, inflatable rubber balls, but could you show us some photos of the Google offices and staff?

The Google team and Googleplex (our Mountain View, Calif headquarters) are fun and colorful just like Google. You can see pictures of our unique corporate culture here.
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