John Markoff and Gregg Zachary, two of the leading lights of Silicon Valley technology journalism (and tech journalism generally) have a very interesting article on Google in the Sunday New York Times (registration required). Among the fun facts they unearth:

  • The Google technical infrastructure "consists of more than 54,000 servers designed by Google engineers from basic components. It contains about 100,000 processors and 261,000 disks… making it what many consider the largest computing system in the world." It turns out that this i snow a big competitive advantage for Google, as it moves from what analysts once dismissed as a commodity business (Web searching) into serving as an advertising platform as well. (Personally, I always ignore the ads, but apparently they work for some.)
  • CEO Eric Schmidt stood out because he "was the only candidate who had been to Burning Man."

Update, 11 August 2005: It’s astounding how much traffic I’ve gotten since the whole dust-up about the Eric Schmidt article (the July 14th article by Elinor Mills) and Google’s somewhat petulant response. My hit rate has gone up exponentially, and it just stays there. This story won’t die.

Update, 31 August 2005: Turns out Business Week reported an Eric Schmidt-at-Burning Man anecdote on September 29, 2003:

When Eric E. Schmidt, the 48-year-old veteran of Sun Microsystems (SUNW
) and Novell (NOVL
), took over at Google Inc. two years ago, it was trial by fire. One of
the first orders of business was joining his new 20-something
colleagues at Burning Man, a free-form festival of artistic
self-expression held in a Nevada desert lake bed. Sitting in his office
shortly after his return, tanned and slightly weary, Schmidt couldn’t
have been happier. "They’re keeping me young," he declared.

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