Friday, June 17, 2011

[PREDICTIONS] Google is currently under full steam

Many of you might have (or might not have) noticed that Google rolls out a load of tiny tiny updates lately (paired with lots of hiccups in the system). I suspect they are currently play-testing to get the new features of Google's Social experience playing nice with the existing implementation. With mixed results.. of course. Stuff like that is rocket-science... and a complex system is always very sensitive to changes.
They try to avoid bricking the whole system by enabling one by one changes that prepare the big launch (if there is one.. Google sometimes launches quietly stuff that is awesome)
Usually someone might suspect that the trickling of features will continue until the whole bunch of features is rolled out, but if I'd be in Google's situation, I'd try to establish the connection between Google's different services under the hood first.

Let me explain how Google's System works right now:

As far as I can tell from the code-style and from Google's history of acquisition of different services, the products Google offer are quite different in code-style and technology they are based on.
One by one over the last months and years, they ported the software to -whatever Google is using right now- some kind of AppEngine on steroids and GWT-style code so it became inter-compatible.
That is kind of a scary monster of a process.. They have to avoid disruptions of the services and everyone who ever had to migrate a system knows what that means.
For example:
I can tell from the source that Google hotpot/places was developed independently by a small group as a kind of experiment. The pet project became a success internally and was made publicly available. No one could expect that it became such a success and it graduated as a stable, valid member of the Google Product-line. Yet there is a lot of incompatibility in the code which they try to work around.
For example... a while ago I found out, that if you star a place and rate it "best time ever", it shows up as a +1 in the Google places search. (not very fancy, huh? But it showcases how tough it is to integrate these services into each other)

What does this example mean for the rollout?

Well it shows that combining all these services is quite difficult and that's why Google seems to "just make a few adjustments" to the UI. But in reality, they are building a big framework under the surface, testing if the services become compatible until they are able to "flip a switch" and launch the beast that slumbers under the surface.

We, the mighty and noble Buzz community, are currently experiencing a lot of woes during the process. Buzz became... quite slow and bitchy and the weird behavior of the timeline hints to the movement of data in the database. Google buzz data is not hosted centrally (I guess). The data is replicated over several Servers in the cloud, to ease the load and reduce access times. As the import/export/migration is going on, the data is not consistent on all servers. Data is temporarily missing, posts disappear and reappear while it gets replicated over the infrastructure.

Buzz is the heart and the soul of the Activity stream of Google's social experience and that's why we feel there the aftershocks of every little step forward the strongest.

"chili", as Google once called Buzz, is the key to combine the information stream, next to the recommendation engine +1, which is a second, stable pillar of the Google Social Experience.
One is the active interaction (Buzz) where you have action (Posting an Update) and reaction (liking, commenting, resharing), the other one is passive (action without direct reaction but with a social benefit).

And a personal note to Captain Crunch:
I want to explain it to you as simple as I can:
The reward for using plusOne is indirect. You benefit from the stuff you recommend due to the willing of others to do the same. The wisdom of the crowd aids the social search and improves the experience while looking for valuable knowledge. If you still don't understand it, read my other article. I won't link it. Google it. You can do that, I believe in you.

For us Buzz-people:
We just have to be patient. When I look at the speed at which the implementation is progressing, I'm quite sure that Google will flip the switch real soon!

You might report bugs, but I guess they are well aware of all of them, as they are actively working on the system.


Off Topic:
Ps.: I want a honeycomb tablet. I want it really hard! And spacemoose at xda is currently close to finish a very well working alpha-version of a HC port to the good old 7inch Galaxy tab... so please consider heading there and donate a little for his hard work if you own like me a Galaxy tab

Discuss on Buzz


Pablo Chuken said...

Great post! (as always).

Leo said...

Great post. But... no +1 button?

Florian Rohrweck said...

@Pablo Thanks :D
@Leo Huh? It is there for me? :-/

Jannik Lindquist said...

Best post yet - in my opinion :-) And the +1 button is there - I have just pressed it!

Ali Movadin said...

+1'ed! :D

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