Welcome to the fifty-fourth issue of De Programmatica Ipsum, about Google. In this edition, we search for the source of the current challenges Google is facing nowadays; in the Library section, we review "Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future" by John MacCormick; and in our Vidéothèque section, we recommend some classic Google TechTalks.
The traditional Silicon Valley narrative revolves around certain archetypes: fabulously visionary leaders, a seemingly unbeatable streak of incredible products, and, very often, humble beginnings in a family garage. This benign description conveniently foregoes the later stages of such companies, where hubris, arrogance, and mismanagement bring those same behemoths to the brink of extinction. This story has happened dozens of times before and will happen again. It is a story narrated and driven by human nature.
As a member of Generation X, this author has had the distinctive privilege of trying to explain computer topics to family members born in the early 1900s. In particular, my grandmother would, around 1999, ask what I did for a living. As a Polish immigrant who arrived in Argentina months before World War II, she could not have been further away from the likes of the World Wide Web, the Netscape browser, or the VBScript programming language. I tried as hard as I could, but of course, I failed miserably. For most of her life, she must have thought, just like my mother, that I was into some dodgy business.