Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Global worming

Okay, folks, we know what you're thinking.

So Google got hacked, huh?
Actually, we didn't. What happened yesterday was that someone sent the latest version of the MyDoom computer virus out for a spin, and this version flooded search engines like ours with automated searches. Fortunately, we were able to quickly identify those queries and block them, so that, for most of our users, at no point was our site significantly impaired.

Then why did some people get error messages when they tried to do searches?
A very small percentage of our users and networks--most notably, a few media outlets that write about us--were heavily infected with MyDoom, so our systems temporarily blocked their queries. By noon, service for all our users had been completely restored.

What was up with that "Error-27" page?
Yeah, we've just learned that our error message for blocked queries isn't the friendliest or most informative communication we've ever had with our users. Hey, we didn't think we'd ever have to show it to anyone...

What's MyDoom again?
Here's a technical explanation of the MyDoom virus and how it works.

Great, but I'm not a geek, okay? I just want to know if I have this thing and how to get rid of it.
If you suspect your computer may have been infected with MyDoom, or just want to be sure that it isn't, we recommend that you do a search for "MyDoom" and/or "antivirus software." Plenty of reputable sites can help you check your hard drive for MyDoom and other viruses, remove whatever viruses you find, and protect your computer from getting infected in the future. If you already have a virus scanner, be sure that it has the latest virus definition file (many programs update automatically) and scan your machine again just to be sure. We'll all probably be living with viruses for a long time; let's make sure we're well-armed.

-- Urs Hoelzle
VP of operations and Google Fellow

Friday, July 16, 2004

Racking up an honor

We're five years old and already they're sticking us in a museum. The Computer History Museum, to be precise, a neighbor of ours here in Mountain View that boasts the world's largest collection of artifacts from the still-young digital era. Yesterday a bunch of Googlers toured a small portion of the collection, gawking at a Victorian Era difference engine and a German Enigma code machine, chuckling over immense IBM and Cray warhorses, lusting for TRS80s and Apple IIs, and so on.

Server and Pong

Admittedly, we were also there for a parochial purpose: to celebrate the entry into the museum's permanent collection of the first Google corkboard server rack, a do-it-yourself contraption which was one of about 30 in our fledgling company's first data center back in prehistoric, mist-enshrouded 1999. A few specs: each tray contained eight 22GB hard drives and one power supply, and the rack itself required no fewer than 86 hand-installed cooling fans. Guess the economy wasn't the only thing overheated in 1999.

-- Michael Krantz
Google Blog team

Monday, July 12, 2004

Warning: we brake for number theory

If any Silicon Valley drivers have found that traffic is moving more slowly than usual these days on the southbound 101 right around Ralston, you may have us to blame. Last week we unveiled a billboard that's a bit unusual in that it promotes Google only to one very narrow constituency: engineers who are geeky enough to be annoyed at the very existence of a math problem they haven't solved, and smart enough to rectify the situation.

Google Billboard

In other words, the billboard (which offers problem-solvers the URL to, sorry, a page containing an even harder problem), is a recruiting campaign. We've always worked hard to hire the smartest engineers we can find, and we thought this would be a cool way to find a few more. Perhaps including you. If you're a math or computer whiz who doesn't happen to live within shouting distance of Palo Alto -- good luck, and we're looking forward to hearing from you.

- A. Googler

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Not quite a walk in the park

The great Steve Prefontaine used to say that running is about "having guts." Last Wednesday, on a hot, humid day in Central Park, about 40 of us New York Googlers showed our share, joining almost 18,000 other hardy souls in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, an annual 3.5-mile race which raises money for the Central Park Conservancy and New York Road Runners programs.

JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Central Park

Central Park races are always tough, and the Corporate Challenge is worse than most, because both the start and the finish require running uphill. But for me, the third mile was the worst. The air quality on the East Side was, um, not good, and the stretch behind the Metropolitan Museum seemed harder than usual -- the ground is flat, but there was no air; it was like breathing in a plastic bag. Fortunately, then came the Cat Hill down to the Boat House, and the finish line was in sight.

Afterward, we reunited at our stand to exchange race gossip, cheer our strong showing (yours truly finished among the top 10 women), and most of all, congratulate each other for surviving the humidity and the hills.

And speaking of hills: the Corporate Challenge hits San Francisco in September. All you Mountain View Googlers - time to start stretching.

-- Corinna Cortes
research scientist
Google New York