State of the Art Geniuses at Play, on the Job
By DAVID POGUE The New York Times February 26, 2009
Unless you're just off the shuttle from Alpha Centauri, you're already aware of the product that made Google famous: its Search box. It's become the card catalog for the Internet (and a whopping moneymaker for Google).
But any time you cram some 20,000 of the world's smartest people into one company, you can expect to grow a garden of unrelated ideas. Especially when you give some of those geniuses one workday a week - Google's famous "20 percent time"- to work on whatever projects fan their passions. And especially when you create Google Labs (labs.google.com), a Web site where the public can kick the tires on half-baked Google creations. Some Labs projects go on to become real Google services, and others are quietly snuffed out.
Such innovations - and a number of smart acquisitions - have led to hits like Google Earth, Gmail, Picasa, Google Docs, Blogger, YouTube, Google Calendar and others.
But they have also cultivated a vast jungle of lesser-known features. Unfortunately, it's so vast, you'd need a professional tour guide to help you find the gems.