A magazine about programmers, code, and society. Written by humans since 2018.

Issue 054: Google

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Issue 054: Google

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.

Feeling Lucky

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.

Google TechTalks

Seventeen years is a long time in our industry. To give us an idea, Gmail appeared eighteen years ago, and in those days Google pledged not to be evil. Those were the days of AJAX web applications, of Prototype versus jQuery, of Ruby on Rails and script.aculo.us. Those were the times before Obama, before the MacBook Air, before the pandemic, before Google Chrome, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, before Android devices, before Docker and Kubernetes, before the Go programming language, before the V8 JavaScript engine, before the 2008 stock market crash, before Brexit, before SPAs, before Node.js and npm, before Star Wars Episode 7, before HD video was widespread.

John MacCormick

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.

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