Tuesday, March 7

Google's Open House - Tracking the Internet into the 21st Century Click for more info

So Google opened shop for a bunch of Cambridge, Imperial, Oxford and UCL alumni this evening. I went along partly since the topic seemed interesting and partly since they're based just down the road from me. And of course, I couldn't ignore the chance to visit both Google and Vint Cerf, co-designer of TCP/IP.

Vint's talk itself was pretty standard stuff. He went over his vision of the future of the Internet and the points I noted included:

  • that connected mobile devices outnumber fixed lines;
  • that Asia is the biggest internet market, with Malta and New Zealand achieving the highest penetration of Internet users;
  • that VOIP is on its way out since phones are too;
  • that information needs to be organised geographically, temporally and by query in order to be more useful in future applications;
  • that there are some fundamental basics of IP that need to be reconsidered (e.g. the late binding of DNS, built in authentication, support for VPNs, etc);
  • that Internet information is unreliable, inaccurate and incomplete and that we should be aware of this fact.
Google's headquarters were those of a typical software company: plush and colourful with games and free food. I found that pretty disappointing since I thought they might be different from others, but hey. Also, the fact that they seem to appeal to all types was NOT demonstrated yesterday - and I'm trying hard not to stereotype but there was a fair share of what I can only describe as geeks there (not that this stopped them all from nodding appreciatively to Vern and laughing at all of his jokes. Whatever happened the social integrity of geeks, eh?).

The geek quotient probably isn't surprising seeing who was invited, but I still did feel a bit out of place resulting in my leaving the networking session as soon as possible. It's funny how it's only the IT folk who actually need a "networking session" scheduled - like they need to be instructed to do so or something!

Cripes. I almost feel like the nerd that's turned. But hey, I got away with a bag of freebies so it wasn't all bad.

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