Google is a fine company
OK, I think I've been too critical of Google lately.
Here's why I think Google is indeed a superb company:
* Larry Page and Sergey Brin's profoundly elegant approach to ranking the web using the linking structure. These insights led to "pagerank" (named after Larry not web "pages"). The Google Algorithm remains the best ranking mechanism on the web. Caveated thusly - Yahoo has pretty much caught up with the help of a lot of human editing and IBM's "webfountain" is probably stronger at answering specific questions but isn't even remotely scalable to Google traffic levels.
* Dr. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. I had the pleasure of meeting him very briefly at the Google Dance 2005 and he was gracious and friendly. In his Charlie Rose interview I found him to be clearly the sharpest technology leader among a very distinguished group. Having the brilliant triumverate of Page, Brin, Schmidt leading the Google juggernaut with loads of cash in the bank is already one of the great stories in global business, and probably has only to get more interesting as competition with Microsoft, Yahoo, and innovative companies yet to hit the scene heats up.
* Matt Cutts, the gatekeeper of Google search. With the power to kill even the some of the largest web projects on earth with a mouseclick, Matt is among the most feared and respected players in search. However, ask *anybody* who's had the pleasure of meeting him and you'll hear that he's a great guy. I've enjoyed talking with Matt at the last two WebmasterWorld conferences and he's always extremely helpful and very interesting. Google could not have picked a better public relations person if they'd .... picked a public relations person. Matt's a top Engineer but makes complexity accessible and has done a huge service in keeping the web community informed via his blog and conferences.
* Google Parties. Man, Google knows how to throw a party. At the Google Dance 2005, a tradition for the past 5? years, they entertain a LOT of the attendees of Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Strategies Conference at the GooglePlex in Mountain View. Ice Cream Stations, Shrimp and other munchables, beer and wine were great, but most important is the chance to talk to the excellent Google search engineers who are always courteous and friendly. In New Orleans they also had a great bash and also had stations to talk to Engineers - very helpful stuff to those of us who roam the online wild west.
* Google Engineers. What a fine group indeed. PhDs and wealth seem to have made many of these fellows more friendly, gracious, and hard working. You can't complain about that.
* Adsense. Google helps feed my kids with their publisher revenue sharing paradigm.