Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘open source’ Category

Google Launches Social Graph API

By making social data more portable, Google is hoping to make social networks like Facebook and MySpace less relevant.



Google (NSDQ: GOOG) on Friday launched a new application programming interface (API) to help developers make use of social networking relationship data.The Google Social Graph API provides developers with a way to leverage social relationships in their applications and on their Web sites. “You can make it easy for users to bring their existing social connections into a new Web site and as a result, users will spend less time rebuilding their social networks and more time giving your app the love it deserves,” explained Google engineer Brad Fitzpatrick in a blog post.

For example, a developer using the Social Graph API could create a button for a Web site that would allow a registered user to easily “add friends.”

By making social data more portable, Google makes social networks less relevant. In keeping with its mission to organize and index the world’s information, Google would prefer to see a single network, the Internet, through which any data can be accessed and, it’s hoped, monetized through its ad platform.

If Google’s vision proves appealing and social data loses its linkage to a specific social site, Facebook and MySpace may find their ability to retain users substantially diminished. Without the added value of social graph exclusivity, Facebook and MySpace become merely providers of Web hosting for the HTML averse. It’s doubtful Facebook could sustain a valuation of $15 billion were it pitched as “Geocities, but with widgets.”

It’s not clear yet how well Google will be able to monetize social graph data; during the company’s fourth quarter financial call Thursday, Google co-founder Sergey Brin observed that social network advertising hadn’t performed as well as expected. But the company may yet find a way to use relationship data to target its ads more effectively, provided the privacy issues can be worked out.

Read Full Post »

Google’s Brew Of Open-Source And Custom Code

Special tools are needed to manage the company’s highly customized IT infrastructure.



Reliance on open source code runs deep among Google (NSDQ: GOOG)’s developers, and the company uses open source in its production systems, too. The software has been Google-ized–something new added to make it fit Google’s way of doing things.A majority of Google’s engineering desktops are Linux machines. They’re typically loaded with tools such as the Free Software Foundation’s Gnu C Compiler; Make, a Unix utility for assembling files into a C program; and Apache Ant, open source code for assembling Java applications from Java files.

In that sense, Google looks “very much like a typical IT shop in a lot of ways,” says Chris DiBona, open source program manager.

But when it comes to the Apache Web Server, one of the most common pieces of open source code, Google eschews the standard issue. “We use very little Apache around here,” DiBona says. Google’s internally developed Web server has been tuned to provide monitoring and health information for system reliability.

Google developers use a homegrown system to generate a “build” out of complex software projects; the system is capable of integrating code in different languages from distributed developers. “We have a very large code base, and there are often a lot of dependencies,” DiBona says. The system can heed those dependencies and enforces use of previously established, tested code when it fits files together.

Google talks up its ties to open source, but the company’s IT infrastructure is so customized, such as its “cell” data storage system, that specialized tools are needed to manage the code that taps such resources.

Ajax, which powers Google Maps and Gmail, is one area in which Google has given some of its own development expertise back to the open source community. Google contributed $3 million to support interns for 600 open source projects this summer and last.

Return to the story:
Google Revealed: The IT Strategy That Makes It WorkContinue to the sidebars:
Google Goes Its Own Way In The Data Center
and Profile: Google Technologist Knows Problem Solving Firsthand

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: