A new Googler has offered a rare glimpse into the process by which the search giant turns ideas into products.
Brian Ussery, a technologist at an interactive marketing agency who moderates a Google forum on SearchEngineWatch.com, wrote a recap of the talk on his blog and has made the presentation available in PDF form.
The gist of the presentation is that Google's flat management structure fosters innovation and good ideas get percolating faster with Web-based apps that allow engineers to find information and collaborate.
However, the real meat is in the screen shots. Marked "confidential" and "proprietary," they are so detailed I feel like I'm seeing something I shouldn't. (In a comment on Google Blogoscoped, which posted some screenshots and other information from the presentation, Ussery explains: "This isn't a leaked document, the webcast encouraged sharing and provided the pdf.")
There are screen shots of e-mails dubbed "Product Snippets," in which engineers tell each other about their weekly activities. The e-mails are then compiled into a searchable database. There's a "Google Ideas" application where Googlers can read about what other people are working on and offer comments and ratings.
Another important tool is Google's intranet search engine, "Moma," which lets employees search for everything from available conference rooms and lunch recommendations to the employee handbook and time cards. The application is integrated with Gmail, Google Talk, Calendar and Docs.
Here are some screen shots: