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Ex-Google Engineer Blasts Google's Technology 158

Posted by timothy
from the or-is-it-just-sour-grapes dept.
lee1 writes "Dhanji R. Prasanna, an engineer who recently resigned from Google, describes Google's famous back-end infrastructure as a collection of obsolete technologies, designed 10 years ago for building search engines and crawlers. He blasts MapReduce and its closed-source friends as 'ancient, creaking dinosaurs', compared with outside open source projects like MessagePack, JSON, and Hadoop. He also criticizes Google's coding culture, which has become unfriendly to hacker types due to the company's enormous size." I suspect that most people would be happy to have company infrastructure problems as pressing as Google's, though.
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Ex-Google Engineer Blasts Google's Technology

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  • I wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ModernGeek (601932) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @05:56PM (#36394106) Homepage
    Does an obsession with following a certain set of methodologies always benefit the bottom line?
  • by OverlordQ (264228) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:01PM (#36394160) Journal

    Not just former employee:

    As a member of the Google Wave team, Prasanna helped build the search and indexing pipelines for the ill-fated effort to reinvent communication on the web

    Probably angsty nobody liked his baby.

  • Haha (Score:4, Interesting)

    by unity100 (970058) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:02PM (#36394168) Homepage Journal
    the guy got so accustomed to good that his standards seem to have perpetually got raised. he thinks google's state is 'bad'. lucky him.
  • by MurrayTodd (92102) * on Thursday June 09, 2011 @06:20PM (#36394384) Homepage

    His book on Dependency Injection is one of the few recent computer books I had to go through carefully, and with notepad and highlighter in hand. His work on Google Guice is really notable. This ain't just some Microsoft-bound disgruntled guy.

    But it's not necessarily surprising. I'm not very familiar with it, but Google's Wave was one of those allegedly killer technologies that just didn't get the corporate support it needed to reach its potential as a disruptive technology. Still, there's a possible tone of sour grapes here. Hard to know.

    I'll just say this: I would love to have the privilege to work with someone of his caliber.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2011 @08:24PM (#36395544)

    Don't tell him how old NASA's space shuttles are?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2011 @09:19PM (#36395888)

    I read his posting as well as those of his friends who've also recently quit, and one of them had a better critique that seemed to explain why Wave turned out as the jumbled mess that it was. From the post:

    If you pitch an idea or a project to Larry and Sergey, their feedback is quite easy to anticipate. They'll tell you you have to solve the problem in a more generic way. ... Come up with something that solves everything!
    ...
    Wave is a case in point. Wave started with some fairly easy to understand ideas about online collaboration and communication. But in order to make it more general and universal, more ideas were added until the entire thing could only be explained in a 90 minute mind blowing demo that left people speechless but a little later wondering what the hell this was for.

    To me, that perfectly explains why Wave turned out the way that it did. Rather than building a simple tool and adjusting it based off of how people used it, they tried to come up with the single solution that solved every problem. They ended up producing something that solved many interesting technical challenges but did very little to solve anyone's real-world problems.

    It could be that this is specific to Wave and the fact that all this disgruntled feeling is coming from one group may not be an indication of any larger problem at Google. On the other hand, if this attitude is as pervasive as it's claimed, I can see it being incredibly frustrating to work there as an engineer. Imagine having a good idea, then having management talk you into turning into some grandiose and monolithic monstrosity that then gets panned as being overly complex and difficult to understand when all you wanted to do in the first place is make a smaller tool that would have been ideally suited to a more limited task and would have been well received and appreciated by those that used it. I know I'd be bitter if I'd wasted years of my life pursuing someone else's mutated version of my own idea.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @11:11PM (#36396470) Homepage

    Renegades. They're the non-team player types that shoot from the hip (without drawing), and fly by the seat of their pants. They're the most dangerous and reckless type of employees you can have. Oh, and the concept of a contingency plan? It doesn't even cross their mind. If you ask, you will get the typical "what ever, please..."

    If you have a renegade for a boss, leave your company, like yesterday. Trust me on this.

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