Early last year Don Marti forwarded an exceptionally clueless e-mail from a public relations person. His subject line said, “Bad flack! No bisquit!” I nearly died laughing, since (I hate to confess) I've done serious time as a flack myself. Since then BFNB has entered the private lexicon here at Linux Journal. And, now we'll share a few choice nuggets with the rest of you:
“If you would like to speak to __ executives about __'s future plans and how Linux 7.1 affects the Internet, network environments and the IT world...”
“__ also doesn't discriminate against computers using the Linux operating system. The __ has an open architecture, which means Linux users can customize it for their networks by loading their own proprietary software on top of __'s software.”
“I?am taking?the?liberty?of?reintroducing? you?to?__in?case?you?did?not?receive?our?previous?correspendence.?This?is ?an?excellent?opportunity?for?the?serious?investor?who,?like?us,feels? the?energy?sector?is?the?place?to?be?in?these?times?of?rising?oil?and ?gas?prices.”
“The 70s were cool. Earth, Wind and Fire, tank tops and mood rings were all the rage. Thirty years later, in 2001, the 70s remain cool. So don't throw away your old low-rider jeans, choker necklaces or mainframe computers—what's old is now cool, and it's called retro. __ lets you retro-fit your old technology into today's hippest platform.”
That last one never said a word about what __ was, or what it did. We must assume, however, that Linux was indeed the hippest platform.
I remember when some Linux geek told me about Google several years back. He said the new search engine, then in public beta, was going to kick butt because they were building it on Linux servers. I didn't believe him. At the time my preferred search engine was HotBot, which consistently outperformed all the other search engines at what I cared about most: finding documents based on text strings, some of them buried deep in a page's text. HotBot recently had supplanted AltaVista as my first-choice search engine. Before AltaVista I liked InfoSeek (I was one of those few who actually subscribed to InfoSeek's services). And before that I liked Lycos, which was still an academic project at Carnegie-Mellon. Eventually HotBot lost out to FAST, the BSD-based engine with an utterly mismatched URL: alltheweb.com. But resistance was futile. Google got me.
At first I didn't like Google because it was too simple and too insistent about knowing what I wanted. I hated that. Still do. But I came to love Google, because dammit, they did seem to know what I wanted—not always, but often enough. Now, like most of us, I hardly use anything else.
Today the other engines are also-rans. With each new step forward in functionality (image and newsgroup searches, file-type searches, additional languages), Google seems to leave the others farther and farther behind.
I hadn't spoken to the Google folks in a while, so thought I'd check in and get some specifics, including the answer to the most existential question of all: are they making money yet? So I went to my old neighbor Cindy McCaffrey, Google's vice president of marketing, who told me:
We're profitable. Advertising has been a big contributor to that profitability. Both of our ad programs (Premium Sponsorships, AdWords) are ramping up quickly. We have thousands of advertisers and have just begun expanding our advertising internationally with the opening of small ad sales offices in the UK, Japan and Germany.
This was particularly interesting to me because the ads are a lot like newspaper classifieds, which are the only form of advertising for which there is high reader demand. Like classifieds, ads on Google are unobtrusive and contain no graphics. When I asked one advertiser how well the ads work, he said, “Very well. All our advertising is on Google.” In fact, they work so well that he advertises in spite of his objection to Google's policy of seeking patents for its technologies, a practice he despises. Cindy added:
The keyword-targeted approach is working well for us. Our click-through rates average about 2+ percent, about four to five times higher than the industry average for traditional banner ads. We also offer search services to other companies such as Yahoo!, Cisco, Sony, etc.—about 130 customers in about 30 countries. The split between these two revenue sources is roughly 50/50.
It might not be a stretch to say that Google has, for many of us, become part of the web's infrastructure—its search interface. To get some sense of how far that interface reaches, I asked Cindy to send me some numbers. Here they are:
data centers: 4
Linux computers: >10,000
searches per day: >150 million
index of web pages: >1.6 billion
image base: >330 million
Usenet messages: >650 million
language subsets in the index: 28
international domain sites: 23
PDFs: >22 million
Many of those are “most on the Web”, she modestly added. But she declined to confirm the hypothesis offered by that geek who turned me on to Google in the first place: that Linux was the reason. Guess we have to draw our own conclusions.
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Enter to Win an Adafruit Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit for Raspberry Pi
It's Raspberry Pi month at Linux Journal. Each week in May, Adafruit will be giving away a Pi-related prize to a lucky, randomly drawn LJ reader. Winners will be announced weekly.
Fill out the fields below to enter to win this week's prize-- a Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit for Raspberry Pi.
Congratulations to our winners so far:
- 5-8-13, Pi Starter Pack: Jack Davis
- 5-15-13, Pi Model B 512MB RAM: Patrick Dunn
- 5-21-13, Prototyping Pi Plate Kit: Philip Kirby
- Next winner announced on 5-27-13!
Free Webinar: Hadoop
How to Build an Optimal Hadoop Cluster to Store and Maintain Unlimited Amounts of Data Using Microservers
Realizing the promise of Apache® Hadoop® requires the effective deployment of compute, memory, storage and networking to achieve optimal results. With its flexibility and multitude of options, it is easy to over or under provision the server infrastructure, resulting in poor performance and high TCO. Join us for an in depth, technical discussion with industry experts from leading Hadoop and server companies who will provide insights into the key considerations for designing and deploying an optimal Hadoop cluster.
Some of key questions to be discussed are:
- What is the “typical” Hadoop cluster and what should be installed on the different machine types?
- Why should you consider the typical workload patterns when making your hardware decisions?
- Are all microservers created equal for Hadoop deployments?
- How do I plan for expansion if I require more compute, memory, storage or networking?