I was mailed the other day by a Google recruiter, asking if I was interested in working there. My first reaction was to say no (and that’s been my final reaction too) but I took a bit of time to examine why. This actually started out as a comment on MJs recent post and has turned into a bit of ramble.
I’ve always been a bit *thingy* about Google. I think it’s because I worked at Inktomi during the “search engine wars”. Google came along and stole the Yahoo! search engine provision from Inktomi (which consequently went against Yahoo! – everyone started using Google directly instead – ironically, Yahoo! ended up purchasing Inktomi in 2003).
During 2001/2002, Inktomi ran a few marketing campaigns designed to win back the Yahoo! account – I remember seeing a big truck with a poster board on it driving around Santa Clara saying “Yahoo! – Google is stealing your customers” or “Do you, uh, Google?” For a while, Google actually blocked Inktomi employees from using their search engine while at work. We could all access Google via dial-up or some other subnet, but anything that was specifically Inktomi had been blocked.
So why did I turn down the possible job? (This wasn’t an offer of employment, just an expression of interest). I think it was because I was intensely loyal to Inktomi – they gave me almost 4 years of a great career and let me live in London, Boston and San Francisco while really learning a shedload about the IT industry. I still see Google as a large reason why Inktomi ended up going under (the other large was reason was the 2001 post-dot-com recession), and thus a reason why I ended up not being able to stay in the US (my visa ran out when my job did). Seems silly when I write about it, but at the same time I still feel it – even knowing it’s silly.
Today I use Google for searching due to lack of any real alternative – given that I use Safari for browsing and I can’t change the search engine used in it, and that nowhere else that I know of gives comparable results. I don’t use Google Maps because their coverage of N. Ireland is poor. I occasionally use their image search, although I’ll just as often use Altavista for that. And I don’t really use anything else they have – Orkut, Gmail, Gcal (if it can be called that). I still feel like a bit of a sell-out for using them.
Once OmniWeb 5.5 comes out in Universal (or when I switch back to PPC mac – OmniWeb on my MacBook is a bit flaky) I’ll be able to try out using other search engines again. I know it’s a bit of a cop-out (I could after all just bookmark Yahoo! for example) but the convenience of typing in the search box means I’ll not switch till my browser supports it.