He discussed how Google is essentially a "flat" organization in the sense that there is very little vertical hierarchy. There are Engineering Directors, VP's, Tech Leads and everyone else, and that's essentially it. The "everyone else" are essentially computer science whizzes. There are very few
QA engineers because everyone checks their own code and programming sequences. The level of self testing is unparalleled.
Google is obviously scaling out their offices and their teams and here is what he had to say about that:
- Local engineers are extremely valuable, so Google is scaling out to many remote sites with teams based locally.
- There are currently bout 250 engineers in Google NYC
- 3 engineers per project
- 1 tech lead for total project
- of the 8000 employees at Google - about 1/2 are engineers
- Employee time allotment breakout:
- 70% spent on search and search advertising technology
- 20% on new product development
- 10% for engineer's free research time
He says that Google is really into producing all of their own systems and they are really trying to break convention in so many ways as they try to organize all the world's information. Google's "Ten Things" were reiterated a couple of times throughout the program.
Some of Alan's product specific comments included the fact that he's working on Google's wireless products and so is most of the NYC office.