A week with Google
Last week I was invited to attend two Google seminars in Manchester. The first was a newly launched Google Analytics training session hosted by Google’s Manchester based Agency Relationships Team, the other was a Google Tech Talk aimed at giving Manchester computer science students a ‘look under the bonnet’ of how the worlds favorite search engine is built.
Google Analytics Training
Google offer Analytics as a free package with little or no support packages. Their philosophy is to offer it free with no support rather then to charge users and employ support staff. So under the premise that Google offer no support it was a rare opportunity to be invited to the first free UK Analytics training session. On hand were Google’s Manchester office staff and one of Google’s Authorised Analytics Consultants, Omega Digital Media.
The session looked at Analytics integration with other Google products, such as Adwords, Maps and Checkout, along with a quick overview of some of the new features promised in the next version of Analytics. The team from Omega also covered a lot of common implementation issues with Analytics, like tracking traffic between two domains and issues arising form having multiple tracking software in place. This went down really well with all that attended and the Q&A session gave a real insight into the scalability of Analytics; from small sites and blogs to massive e-commerce solutions.
Google Tech Talk
This was a quick look at how Google actually use a lot of the Software Engineering theory taught to computer science students in Manchester to solve complex problems faced at Google, this came as quite a surprise to many students (and some of the lecturers!) David Singleton, Mobile engineer at Google London, went through a few worked examples of Google technology uncovered:
- Spelling Correction – Based on Bayesian probability theory
- Google Recommended News – Uses Naive Hash Functions (Modular Arithmetic)
- 1-800-GOOG-411 – Using Finite State Machines and speech recognition using spectral analysis
The Tech Talk team were a group of Google software engineers who had a wide range of experience working within the industry. They were mainly based in Zürich, Google’s software engineering home where their staff are fondly referred to as ‘Zooglers‘.
So what did I learn?
Well this week I had a unique experience to see Google from two very different angles. It helped me to understand Google’s mission statement a little better
“Organising the worlds information and making it universally accessible and useful.”
I learnt that Google aren’t going away, that they have some fantastic products available with some very interesting ones shortly to come to market. Pair that with the fact that they are recruiting heavily some of the best talent from the UK and across the world and the only conclusion I can come to is – The future looks even brighter for Google.