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Ten things Google has found to be true …

1. Focus on the user and everything else will follow.

 

From its inception, Google has focused on providing the best user experience possible. While many companies claim to put their customers first, few are able to resist the temptation to make small sacrifices to increase shareholder value. Google has steadfastly refused to make any change that does not benefit the users who come to the site:

 

The interface is clear and simple.

Pages load instantly.

Placement in search results is never sold to anyone.

Advertising on the site must offer relevant content and not be a distraction.

By always placing the interests of the user first, Google has built the most loyal audience on the web. And that growth has come not through TV ad campaigns, but through word of mouth from one satisfied user to another.

 

2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.

 

Google does search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well and how we could do it better. Through continued iteration on difficult problems, we’ve been able to solve complex issues and provide continuous improvements to a service already considered the best on the web at making finding information a fast and seamless experience for millions of users. Our dedication to improving search has also allowed us to apply what we’ve learned to new products including Google Mail, Google Desktop and Google Maps. As we continue to build new products* while making search better, our hope is to bring the power of search to previously unexplored areas and to help users access and use even more of the ever-expanding information in their lives.

 

3. Fast is better than slow.

 

Google believes in instant satisfaction. You want answers and you want them right now. Who are we to argue? Google may be the only company in the world whose stated goal is to have users leave its website as quickly as possible. By fanatically fixating on shaving every excess bit and byte from our pages and increasing the efficiency of our serving environment, Google has broken its own speed records time and again. Others assumed large servers were the fastest way to handle massive amounts of data. Google found networked PCs to be faster. Where others accepted apparent speed limits imposed by search algorithms, Google wrote new algorithms that proved there were no limits. And Google continues to work on making it all go even faster.

 

4. Democracy on the web works.

 

Google works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting websites to determine which other sites offer content of value. Instead of relying on a group of editors or solely on the frequency with which certain terms appear, Google ranks every web page using a breakthrough technique called PageRank™. PageRank evaluates all of the sites linking to a web page and assigns them a value, based in part on the sites linking to them. By analysing the full structure of the web, Google is able to determine which sites have been “voted” the best sources of information by those most interested in the information they offer. This technique actually improves as the web gets bigger, as each new site is another point of information and another vote to be counted.

5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

 

The world is increasingly mobile and unwilling to be constrained to a fixed location. Whether it’s through their PDAs, their wireless phones or even their cars, people want information to come to them. Google’s innovations in this area include Google Number Search, which reduces the number of keypad strokes required to find data from a web-enabled mobile phone and an on-the-fly translation system that converts pages written in HTML to a format that can be read by phone browsers. This system opens up billions of pages for viewing from devices that would otherwise not be able to display them including Palm PDAs and Japanese i-mode, J-Sky and EZWeb devices. Wherever search is likely to help users obtain the information they seek, Google is pioneering new technologies and offering new solutions.

 

6. You can make money without doing evil.

 

Google is a business. The revenue the company generates is derived from offering its search technology to companies and from the sale of advertising displayed on Google and on other sites across the web. However, you may have never seen an ad on Google. That’s because Google does not allow ads to be displayed on our results pages unless they’re relevant to the results page on which they’re shown. So, only certain searches produce sponsored links above or to the right of the results. Google firmly believes that ads can provide useful information if, and only if, they are relevant to what you wish to find.

 

Google has also proven that advertising can be effective without being flashy. Google does not accept pop-up advertising, which interferes with your ability to see the content you’ve requested. We’ve found that text ads (AdWords) that are relevant to the person reading them draw much higher click-through rates than ads appearing randomly. Google’s maximisation group works with advertisers to improve click-through rates over the life of a campaign, because high click-through rates are an indication that ads are relevant to a user’s interests. Any advertiser, no matter how small or how large, can take advantage of this highly targeted medium, whether through our self-service advertising program that puts ads online within minutes or with the assistance of a Google advertising representative.

 

Advertising on Google is always clearly identified as a “Sponsored Link.” It is a core value for Google that there is no compromise on the integrity of our results. We never manipulate rankings to put our partners higher in our search results. No one can buy better PageRank. Our users trust Google’s objectivity and no short-term gain could ever justify breaching that trust.

 

Thousands of advertisers use our Google AdWords program to promote their products; we believe AdWords is the largest program of its kind. In addition, thousands of web site managers take advantage of our Google AdSense program to deliver ads relevant to the content on their sites, improving their ability to generate revenue and enhancing the experience for their users.

 

7. There’s always more information out there.

 

Once Google had indexed more of the HTML pages on the Internet than any other search service, our engineers turned their attention to information that was not as readily accessible. Sometimes it was just a matter of integrating new databases, such as adding a phone number and address lookup and a business directory. Other efforts required a bit more creativity, like adding the ability to search billions of images and a way to view pages that were originally created as PDF files. The popularity of PDF results led us to expand the list of file types searched to include documents produced in a dozen formats such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. For wireless users, Google developed a unique way to translate HTML formatted files into a format that could be read by mobile devices. The list is not likely to end there as Google’s researchers continue looking into ways to bring all the world’s information to users looking for answers.

 

 

 

8. The need for information crosses all borders.

 

Although Google’s headquarters is in California, our mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world, so we have offices around the globe. To achieve this, we maintain dozens of Internet domains and serve more than half of our results to users living outside the United States. Google search results can be restricted to pages written in more than 35 languages according to a user’s preference. We also offer a translation feature to make content available to users regardless of their native tongue and for those who prefer not to search in English, Google’s interface can be customised into more than 100 languages. To accelerate the addition of new languages, Google offers volunteers the opportunity to help in the translation through an automated tool available on the Google.com website. This process has greatly improved both the variety and quality of service we’re able to offer users in the most far-flung corners of the globe.

 

 

9. You can be serious without a suit.

 

Google’s founders have often stated that the company is not serious about anything but search. They built a company around the idea that work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun. To achieve this, Google’s culture is unlike any in corporate America, and it’s not because of the lava lamps and large rubber balls everywhere, or the fact that the company’s chef used to cook for the Grateful Dead. In the same way Google puts users first when it comes to our online service, Google Inc. puts employees first when it comes to daily life in our Googleplex headquarters. There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to the company’s overall success. Ideas are traded, tested and put into practice with an enthusiasm that can make you dizzy. Meetings that would take hours elsewhere are frequently little more than a conversation in the lunch queue and not many walls separate those who write the code from those who write the cheques. This highly communicative environment fosters a productivity and camaraderie fuelled by the realisation that millions of people rely on Google results. Give the proper tools to a group of people who like to make a difference, and they will.

 

 

10. Great just isn’t good enough.

 

Always deliver more than expected. Google does not accept being the best as an endpoint, but a starting point. Through innovation and iteration, Google takes something that works well and improves upon it in unexpected ways. Search works well for correctly spelt words, but what about typos? One engineer saw a need and created a spell checker that seems to read a user’s mind. It takes too long to search from a WAP phone? Our wireless group developed Google Number Search to reduce entries from three keystrokes per letter to one. With a user base in the millions, Google is able to identify areas of conflict quickly and smooth them out. Google’s distinguishing feature however, is anticipating needs not yet articulated by our global audience, then meeting them with products and services that set new standards. This constant dissatisfaction with the way things are is ultimately the driving force behind the world’s best search engine.

The most-inspiring books I’ve read

Most of the most-inspiring books I’ve read are about human endeavour.  The 4 that stand out are:-

  1. The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby - it’s the true story of a successful editor who is struck down by a crippling illness.  It will amaze you how the book was written but, also, some of the chapters are about as poignant as you can get.  It puts life in context.  This is the book that I read over and over again to remind me how lucky I am.
  2. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom - true story of a guy who finds out that his old college mentor is dying.  He visits him regularly and learns a few life-lessons.  I’m not embarrassed to say that I cried on a train at one point.
  3. To the Edge of the Sky by Anhua Gao - unbelievable story about growing up in very-recent China.  You just cannot believe some of the things that people have to go through just to lead a ‘normal’ life.
  4. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson - a mountaineering book!?  But, a truly remarkable survival story.

All 4 were ‘easy-reads’, gruelling at times, depressing at times but ultimately up-lifting.  They’ll either teach you something about others or something about yourself.

I saw the 3-part series documenting the whole challenge a few months ago. For me this encapsulates what people are capable of if they are passionate and determined. Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons over 51 days with only two weeks of training at the age of 47. If anyone hasn’t seen these films, I advise that you take some time out of your busy schedules to watch them. It’s not just about what Eddie himself achieves, which in itself is nothing short of astounding, it’s also about how support from ‘Joe Public’ gets him through the tough times.

You can’t control what you can’t measure.

Taken from a technology white paper.

All you need is love…

When things are getting on top of you, here is something to help you keep things in perspective.

What does ‘Love’ mean? A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, ‘What does’ love mean?’   The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think: 

 
'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. 
So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too.  That’s love.  
Rebecca-age 8            



'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. 
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’  
Billy - age 4              



'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.' 
Karl - age 5            



'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'  
Chrissie - Age 6            



'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'  
Terri - age 4            



'Love is when my mummy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.' 
Danny - age 7              



'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. 
My Mummy and Daddy are like that They look gross when they kiss’  
Emily - age 8            



'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.' 
Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)            



'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,' 
Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka’s on  this planet)          



Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.’ 
Noelle - age 7              



'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man  who are still friends even after they know each  other so well.' 
Tommy - age 6              



'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. 
He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’ 
Cindy - age 8            



'My mummy loves me more than anybody 
You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’  
Clare - age 6            



'Love is when Mummy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.' 
Elaine-age 5            



'Love is when Mummy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.'  
Chris - age 7            



'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day' 
Mary Ann - age 4              



'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.' 
Lauren - age 4            



'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.'(what an  image) 
Karen - age 7            



Love is when Mummy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.’ 
Mark - age 6              



'You really shouldn't say' I love you 'unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget. ' 
Jessica - age 8              



And the final one - Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge.  The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. 

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.  Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.  When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said, 'Nothing, I just helped him cry'            



When there is nothing left, that is when you find out that love is all you need. 

Ten things Google has found to be true …

1. Focus on the user and everything else will follow.

 

From its inception, Google has focused on providing the best user experience possible. While many companies claim to put their customers first, few are able to resist the temptation to make small sacrifices to increase shareholder value. Google has steadfastly refused to make any change that does not benefit the users who come to the site:

 

The interface is clear and simple.

Pages load instantly.

Placement in search results is never sold to anyone.

Advertising on the site must offer relevant content and not be a distraction.

By always placing the interests of the user first, Google has built the most loyal audience on the web. And that growth has come not through TV ad campaigns, but through word of mouth from one satisfied user to another.

 

2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.

 

Google does search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well and how we could do it better. Through continued iteration on difficult problems, we’ve been able to solve complex issues and provide continuous improvements to a service already considered the best on the web at making finding information a fast and seamless experience for millions of users. Our dedication to improving search has also allowed us to apply what we’ve learned to new products including Google Mail, Google Desktop and Google Maps. As we continue to build new products* while making search better, our hope is to bring the power of search to previously unexplored areas and to help users access and use even more of the ever-expanding information in their lives.

 

3. Fast is better than slow.

 

Google believes in instant satisfaction. You want answers and you want them right now. Who are we to argue? Google may be the only company in the world whose stated goal is to have users leave its website as quickly as possible. By fanatically fixating on shaving every excess bit and byte from our pages and increasing the efficiency of our serving environment, Google has broken its own speed records time and again. Others assumed large servers were the fastest way to handle massive amounts of data. Google found networked PCs to be faster. Where others accepted apparent speed limits imposed by search algorithms, Google wrote new algorithms that proved there were no limits. And Google continues to work on making it all go even faster.

 

4. Democracy on the web works.

 

Google works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting websites to determine which other sites offer content of value. Instead of relying on a group of editors or solely on the frequency with which certain terms appear, Google ranks every web page using a breakthrough technique called PageRank™. PageRank evaluates all of the sites linking to a web page and assigns them a value, based in part on the sites linking to them. By analysing the full structure of the web, Google is able to determine which sites have been “voted” the best sources of information by those most interested in the information they offer. This technique actually improves as the web gets bigger, as each new site is another point of information and another vote to be counted.

5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

 

The world is increasingly mobile and unwilling to be constrained to a fixed location. Whether it’s through their PDAs, their wireless phones or even their cars, people want information to come to them. Google’s innovations in this area include Google Number Search, which reduces the number of keypad strokes required to find data from a web-enabled mobile phone and an on-the-fly translation system that converts pages written in HTML to a format that can be read by phone browsers. This system opens up billions of pages for viewing from devices that would otherwise not be able to display them including Palm PDAs and Japanese i-mode, J-Sky and EZWeb devices. Wherever search is likely to help users obtain the information they seek, Google is pioneering new technologies and offering new solutions.

 

6. You can make money without doing evil.

 

Google is a business. The revenue the company generates is derived from offering its search technology to companies and from the sale of advertising displayed on Google and on other sites across the web. However, you may have never seen an ad on Google. That’s because Google does not allow ads to be displayed on our results pages unless they’re relevant to the results page on which they’re shown. So, only certain searches produce sponsored links above or to the right of the results. Google firmly believes that ads can provide useful information if, and only if, they are relevant to what you wish to find.

 

Google has also proven that advertising can be effective without being flashy. Google does not accept pop-up advertising, which interferes with your ability to see the content you’ve requested. We’ve found that text ads (AdWords) that are relevant to the person reading them draw much higher click-through rates than ads appearing randomly. Google’s maximisation group works with advertisers to improve click-through rates over the life of a campaign, because high click-through rates are an indication that ads are relevant to a user’s interests. Any advertiser, no matter how small or how large, can take advantage of this highly targeted medium, whether through our self-service advertising program that puts ads online within minutes or with the assistance of a Google advertising representative.

 

Advertising on Google is always clearly identified as a “Sponsored Link.” It is a core value for Google that there is no compromise on the integrity of our results. We never manipulate rankings to put our partners higher in our search results. No one can buy better PageRank. Our users trust Google’s objectivity and no short-term gain could ever justify breaching that trust.

 

Thousands of advertisers use our Google AdWords program to promote their products; we believe AdWords is the largest program of its kind. In addition, thousands of web site managers take advantage of our Google AdSense program to deliver ads relevant to the content on their sites, improving their ability to generate revenue and enhancing the experience for their users.

 

7. There’s always more information out there.

 

Once Google had indexed more of the HTML pages on the Internet than any other search service, our engineers turned their attention to information that was not as readily accessible. Sometimes it was just a matter of integrating new databases, such as adding a phone number and address lookup and a business directory. Other efforts required a bit more creativity, like adding the ability to search billions of images and a way to view pages that were originally created as PDF files. The popularity of PDF results led us to expand the list of file types searched to include documents produced in a dozen formats such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. For wireless users, Google developed a unique way to translate HTML formatted files into a format that could be read by mobile devices. The list is not likely to end there as Google’s researchers continue looking into ways to bring all the world’s information to users looking for answers.

 

 

 

8. The need for information crosses all borders.

 

Although Google’s headquarters is in California, our mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world, so we have offices around the globe. To achieve this, we maintain dozens of Internet domains and serve more than half of our results to users living outside the United States. Google search results can be restricted to pages written in more than 35 languages according to a user’s preference. We also offer a translation feature to make content available to users regardless of their native tongue and for those who prefer not to search in English, Google’s interface can be customised into more than 100 languages. To accelerate the addition of new languages, Google offers volunteers the opportunity to help in the translation through an automated tool available on the Google.com website. This process has greatly improved both the variety and quality of service we’re able to offer users in the most far-flung corners of the globe.

 

 

9. You can be serious without a suit.

 

Google’s founders have often stated that the company is not serious about anything but search. They built a company around the idea that work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun. To achieve this, Google’s culture is unlike any in corporate America, and it’s not because of the lava lamps and large rubber balls everywhere, or the fact that the company’s chef used to cook for the Grateful Dead. In the same way Google puts users first when it comes to our online service, Google Inc. puts employees first when it comes to daily life in our Googleplex headquarters. There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to the company’s overall success. Ideas are traded, tested and put into practice with an enthusiasm that can make you dizzy. Meetings that would take hours elsewhere are frequently little more than a conversation in the lunch queue and not many walls separate those who write the code from those who write the cheques. This highly communicative environment fosters a productivity and camaraderie fuelled by the realisation that millions of people rely on Google results. Give the proper tools to a group of people who like to make a difference, and they will.

 

 

10. Great just isn’t good enough.

 

Always deliver more than expected. Google does not accept being the best as an endpoint, but a starting point. Through innovation and iteration, Google takes something that works well and improves upon it in unexpected ways. Search works well for correctly spelt words, but what about typos? One engineer saw a need and created a spell checker that seems to read a user’s mind. It takes too long to search from a WAP phone? Our wireless group developed Google Number Search to reduce entries from three keystrokes per letter to one. With a user base in the millions, Google is able to identify areas of conflict quickly and smooth them out. Google’s distinguishing feature however, is anticipating needs not yet articulated by our global audience, then meeting them with products and services that set new standards. This constant dissatisfaction with the way things are is ultimately the driving force behind the world’s best search engine.

The most-inspiring books I’ve read

Most of the most-inspiring books I’ve read are about human endeavour.  The 4 that stand out are:-

  1. The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby - it’s the true story of a successful editor who is struck down by a crippling illness.  It will amaze you how the book was written but, also, some of the chapters are about as poignant as you can get.  It puts life in context.  This is the book that I read over and over again to remind me how lucky I am.
  2. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom - true story of a guy who finds out that his old college mentor is dying.  He visits him regularly and learns a few life-lessons.  I’m not embarrassed to say that I cried on a train at one point.
  3. To the Edge of the Sky by Anhua Gao - unbelievable story about growing up in very-recent China.  You just cannot believe some of the things that people have to go through just to lead a ‘normal’ life.
  4. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson - a mountaineering book!?  But, a truly remarkable survival story.

All 4 were ‘easy-reads’, gruelling at times, depressing at times but ultimately up-lifting.  They’ll either teach you something about others or something about yourself.

I saw the 3-part series documenting the whole challenge a few months ago. For me this encapsulates what people are capable of if they are passionate and determined. Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons over 51 days with only two weeks of training at the age of 47. If anyone hasn’t seen these films, I advise that you take some time out of your busy schedules to watch them. It’s not just about what Eddie himself achieves, which in itself is nothing short of astounding, it’s also about how support from ‘Joe Public’ gets him through the tough times.

You can’t control what you can’t measure.

Taken from a technology white paper.

All you need is love…

When things are getting on top of you, here is something to help you keep things in perspective.

What does ‘Love’ mean? A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, ‘What does’ love mean?’   The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think: 

 
'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. 
So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too.  That’s love.  
Rebecca-age 8            



'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. 
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’  
Billy - age 4              



'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.' 
Karl - age 5            



'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'  
Chrissie - Age 6            



'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'  
Terri - age 4            



'Love is when my mummy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.' 
Danny - age 7              



'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. 
My Mummy and Daddy are like that They look gross when they kiss’  
Emily - age 8            



'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.' 
Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)            



'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,' 
Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka’s on  this planet)          



Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.’ 
Noelle - age 7              



'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man  who are still friends even after they know each  other so well.' 
Tommy - age 6              



'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. 
He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’ 
Cindy - age 8            



'My mummy loves me more than anybody 
You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’  
Clare - age 6            



'Love is when Mummy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.' 
Elaine-age 5            



'Love is when Mummy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.'  
Chris - age 7            



'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day' 
Mary Ann - age 4              



'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.' 
Lauren - age 4            



'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.'(what an  image) 
Karen - age 7            



Love is when Mummy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.’ 
Mark - age 6              



'You really shouldn't say' I love you 'unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget. ' 
Jessica - age 8              



And the final one - Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge.  The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. 

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.  Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.  When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said, 'Nothing, I just helped him cry'            



When there is nothing left, that is when you find out that love is all you need. 

Ten things Google has found to be true …
The most-inspiring books I’ve read
You can’t control what you can’t measure.
All you need is love…

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