Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a keynote session by Chris Sacca, former Head of Special Initiatives at Google, during the ASAE Technology Conference. Boy was it fun to hear about what it’s like to work at Google, Google’s core values, the perks, and the future of search. I was so inspired by Chris’ words that I decided to follow him on FriendFeed. I’m relatively new to FriendFeed, but it feels like I’m stalking Chris Sacca. I can now follow this guy’s tracks as he views, posts, comments, and bookmarks across the Web. Do I really want all this information about one person? Even for me, this is starting to feel like TMI (too much information).
But first, let me tell you about Chris’ speech, which was terrific. Among the things he talked about:
- What is Google’s secret sauce? Chris says that Google has become a powerhouse because they take really talented engineers, present them with really big problems, and then give them lots of computing power to solve those problems.
- The 20% Rule. Evidently, everyone at Google can allocate 20% of their time to whatever they want, so long as: they log their actiivities in the projects database and they present their work to their peers every few weeks. If a project is deemed worthy, the responsible staff will be given more staff time and computers.
- You only get laughed at when your ideas are too small. Google leaders Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin and Larry Page want all Google staff to think big and use their brains and computers to solve really big problems.
- The 150 feet rule. In addition to having over a dozen cafes on the Google campus, there are snacks every 150 feet to feed the body, feed the mind, and encourage socializing and networking.
- Search is going to get a whole lot better soon. Although the Google home page looks the same, the search technology behind it is getting better every day. Google now tracks what we click on when we search; in the future, the search results for the same keywod may be different for you and me, based on our individual preferences and past history.
- Google Trends is not only cool, it’s surprising what we can learn from search patterns. Chris says that Google Trends can predict the box office success of a movie and where the flu will hit.
Okay, so back to stalking Chris. I had read about FriendFeed (FF) a few months ago and decided to give it a try. FriendFeed users can see what their friends are reading, listening to or viewing on the Web as a continuous stream of updates. You can view the updates on a Web page, in your Google personalized page, via IM, or Facebook. In a New York Times article, one of the founders, Bret Taylor, calls it a “blog that writes itself.”
None of my friends seem to be on FF, so I’m following just a couple of Web celebrities. Chris Sacca provided his FF address so I started following him. FF is like a firehose of information about the people you’re following. I follow 180 people on Twitter and love the updates and the diversity and randomness of the links posted. I have 101 friends on Facebook and can easily scan the status updates and links. I’m only following 3 people on FF, but every day, I get pages and pages of updates. I get tweets, blog posts, comments, links, favorite photos and videos, and comments from their friends. I feel like I’m stalking Chris Sacca because I practically know where he is and what’s he’s reading and watching. Do I really need this much information on one guy? Duncan Riley of TechCrunch said last year that FF is better than Twitter, but I’m overwhelmed. I think this is going to take some getting used to.
Anybody out there on FF? How are you using it and what tools do you use to wade through the data? Is it cool or just TMI?