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Google’s Internal Tools

Philipp Lenssen has written a post describing some of Google’s internal tools, — “A web seminar Google held yesterday at KMWorld Magazine offered a great deal of insight into how Google manages projects and communication internally. The presentation by Google followed an employee through his first few weeks at the company, explaining the many tools he’s using: from the Google intranet MOMA, the Google Ideas site and Google Caribou Alpha, to Google Experts Search, “Googler Search,” and Google Apps. Following is a smaller excerpt of the large-size screenshots & info Google was showing in the 59-page presentation, with thanks to Brian – who has a wrap-up of the presentation as well as the full slides at his blog – for sending this in. KMWorld says the presentation will be archived at their site eventually, so perhaps if you register with them you might still be able to see the event.”

Google Projects seems to be a dashboard to organize all kinds of tasks. The tabs in this 2006 screen read “My PDB,” “Projects,” “Charters,” “Staffing Requests,” and “Reports.” At the top right there’s something that looks like an Atom feed subscription button. (Note that some of the info in the screenshot was already blurred, perhaps to hide info on unreleased projects, while, as in other screens, I added some more blobs and blurs elsewhere.)

Brian at his wrap-up article explains “PDB” means project database. This database is hooked up to another internal collaboration service called “Product Snippets”:

Google Product Snippets are a weekly email sent out on Monday where Googlers are asked to submit their previous weeks projects and activities as well as their forecasted work for the week ahead. All Product Snippets are then compiled into a database and made searchable to other Googlers so everyone knows what is going on at Google. Data collected via Snippets is then [published] to the “PDB” or Google’s project database user interface in real time making information collected easy for any [Googler] to access as well as comprehend no matter their area of expertise, language or location.

Google Ideas looks like a forum to submit new product ideas. Others can then rate the product (from “Great idea! Make it so” to “Dangerous or harmful if implemented”) or discuss it, and there’s also a “buzz” factor to evaluate the usefulness of a suggestion. Ideas shown in the screenshot are all from 2006 – like “google talk IM babel fish”, or “UPC database and applications” – and have at least partly already been released.

Elsewhere, the presentation noted that Google co-founder Sergey Brin has a resource allocation rule separating products into Search, Ads, Apps (like search quality, AdWords, Google Apps), Strong potential (like Blogger or Google News) and Wild and Crazy (like Google Transit, or Google offline ads).

Google Caribou may just be (or have been) the name of the latest version of Gmail, used within Google internally, as Garett Rogers speculated in 2006. Indeed, this “Alpha” service looks just like Gmail.

Full Article

Google, Google Apps, Tools

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