Sunday, 27 January 2008

If I could have it all back...

People don't often ask me to look in the rear view mirror, but as I glided down secret corridor X-5A on my segway into my command center deep beneath the streets of London at Google HQ I got a bit reminiscent. It could have all been so different. What if I didn't have that breakthrough with location back at Kingston? What if I hadn't patented it and sold it to OS? What if I hadn't had that fateful meeting with vanessa and taken a new path at the One True Company?

You can spend all day (and I often have, with a bottle of Jack) going over the possibilities. A lot of it's in the deep past but there are some things at Google, even now, that perhaps I would have done differently.

Take our ad-supported schools project. That started as a 20% time project from one of the new intake of 12-year-old PhD students - basically it makes Coca-Cola and Pepsi look like pussies. They can put logos on the odd textbook and gym bag but I ask you this - who's scanning all the textbooks? We'd take schools off the government book and make them fully free. We even had a scenrio where no ads are shown to the little darlings but just to the parents, or free schooling if they install a Google Digital Billboard on the front of the house. I thought Google logos on all wedding photos on picassa was a bit far, but there's scope there.

Then there was the ad-supported girlfriend project. Girlfriends cost money after all - dinners, presents... old Ed knows this. Of course a lot of people around here have no need for girlfriends but getting out the office now and again might be added to the Google Constitution soon so we need these backup plans. The whole thing set off a lot of red flags as you might imagine.

Anyway, back to the future.

I was interested to see on my other blog that some guys launched a balloon and then (of course, how else?) put all the results in my 3-D side-project, Google Earth. Reminded me that I'm on the second Virgin space plane to go up. I scored a ticket from Branson after winning the most bubbles contest in the hot-tub after the wedding. It's going to be amazing. It'll be so real. I've been practising by staring a lot at Google Earth while jumping to get that weightless feeling.

I'm really having the time of my life here at Google. It's a shame that none of you on the outside have a clue what goes on here (hint, the final chapters of The Dice Man is a good start) but I'll have a lot to say during my keynote at Where. Enough to flip the script and wipe the smiles off all the freetards, paleotards and borgs.

Written and submitted from the future (where we all live at Google) where none of you will ever understand anything, using a DeLorean.

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