Archive for August 2010
I am donating for the National Bone Marrow Donors Program. I know very little about the recipient. She is 44 years old, could be living anywhere in the world, and has a rare form of leukemia. Without a transplant, she will die.
Over the last 5 days, I have come in each morning to get a shot of filgrastim that has greatly raised my stem cell count and caused minor headaches and bone aches in the process. In the same time, the recipient has been getting a massive dose of chemo and radiation to hopefully completely kill off her cancer. Being a crude, imprecise tool that it is, it has also killed off all her bone marrow. By this time her body has lost its ability to produce blood cells. She is living off whole blood donations, but those cells die off in matter of days. A medical courier is standing by ready to fly my stem cells to her, where they will hopefully begin to re-grow bone marrow in her, which will produce the blood cells she needs in order to live.
This all started years ago.. when I was in high-school. I gave blood for the Red Cross mostly to impress girls. One time I checked a box to join the National Bone Marrow Donors Program having no real idea what that meant. Nearly 18 years later, they called me and said I was a possible match. Only about 1 in 100 folks who are a possible matches turn out to be close enough to actually donate. So I went to the local blood bank and they took a few vials of blood to do further testing. I didn’t think about it for weeks. Then I got the call… I was a perfect match! They did a complete physical to ensure I was healthy enough to donate and it would be safe for her.
I have not often prayed specifically for someone I do not know, but my thoughts have been with her these last few weeks. I don’t know if she is a mom, an aunt, a sister-in-law. But I bet she has a wedding, graduation, or birthday to go to. With this treatment she has a 40% chance of living. Not fantastic odds, but way better than her chances without it.
Some donors are able to find a match among family, but even though you may have a lot in common with your brother, there is no guarantee that the specific six factors that affect marrow rejection will be among them. That is where the National Bone Marrow Donors Program comes in. They find matches anywhere in the world. But of course only among those in the registry.
My first mission at Google (after figuring out the gourmet free food of course) was to ask why Google cares about developers. This needed to be done as some of my friends accused me of going to work for an advertising company after all (they work wrong, Google is a computer science company, but that is for another blog post).
Google cares about developers for one reason: To make web applications better. Historically, culturally, spiritually and financially Google cares deeply about the web. Google participates in a virtuous cycle with the web. The more the web gets better, the better that makes Google, which causes the web to get better. Clearly this is true in the search and ads space, but it is equally true of our developer assets. All of our developer assets are in one way or another targeted at making web applications better, which in turn makes the web better. If Google offers simple, scalable cloud hosting, easy Ajax development tools, great web APIs, the resulting applications will be better and that will make the web better.
As I think about the very broad developer assets google is bringing to bare to make the web better there are four areas that I think are meaningful to look at.
But it doesn’t stop there, the royalty free WebM Video format and the Make the Web Faster initiative are other examples of where Google is working to make the web platform better.
The web is becoming programmable. Google is offering very interesting set of services that let you harness its tremendous infrastructure for everything from human language translation to blog feeds. Check out the Google Code Playground to see the full list and play with live code examples right from your browser. Here is a scenario I thought was interesting…
You could use the Buzz firehouse API to find conversations about your product on the Web, load them into Google Storage, do advanced queries across the entire dataset with BigQuery, do sentiment analysis with the Google Prediction APIs, use the Translate API to get them all to your native language and expose them as a feed so anyone can access them easily.
The set of scenarios and combinations is enumerable… I bet you can come up with a better one!
As interesting as the web APIs are, you of course need to write your own application logic as well. Setting up your own server on the Internet is too complex for most of us and many hosting companies are too expense when you just getting started on a side project. Google offers AppEngine which makes it easy to build, maintain and scale your application. You build your app and Google handles all the plumbing work. We run the application in our data centers so you don’t need to have someone on “pager-duty” to keep a watch on the servers and they can scale almost limitlessly on a moments notice when your side project hits it big. And the best part — you pay for only what you need and it is free to get started. There is no base cost, you pay only when your app is working.
Great engineers use great tools and Google offers some of the best tools to help you build better web applications.
Of course you need somewhere to store all that great source code, track issues, document and share releases. And what better place than the Cloud! Google offers free Project Hosting for open-source projects.
And more to come…
Google has a passion and history for rapid innovation and the developer space is no exception. There are more exciting things to come. It is a great time to be a web developer!
That is my learnings so far about Google and the developer space.. I hope they were valuable to you. I’d love to hear your comments\thoughts and feedback.