Matt Cutts has a fascinating post in his Gadgets, Google and SEO blog entitled, “The real lesson from this week.” He rhetorically asks, “So what does Google need to keep us on the right path?” And his answer is, “I think what Google needs is more bloggers. I’m using a liberal definition of bloggers here; I mean people who monitor the blogosphere. In an ideal world, they’d also respond to feedback online.”
Meanwhile, Saul Hansell of The New York Times has written a fascinating story this morning entitled, “Google Answer to Filling Jobs Is an Algorithm.” He reports that Google is starting to ask job applicants to fill out an elaborate online survey that explores their attitudes, behavior, personality and biographical details going back to high school. One of the potential questions tested in an earlier version of the survey was, “What pets do you have?”
So, does Google need more bloggers or more people who own dogs?
Using “biodata” to create “an automated way to search for talent among the more than 100,000 job applications it receives each month” seems logical for people in Human Resources. The number of employees at Google has doubled in each of the last three years. While the company now has about 10,000 employees, Laszlo Bock, Google’s vice president for people operations, told The New York Times that he saw no reason the company would not double again in 2007. That would increase the number of hires at Google to about 200 a week.
However, it turns out that owning a dog isn’t a useful predictor of success at the company.
So, what about the idea of hiring more bloggers?
According to Cutts, “Some of the most dynamic teams at Google are the ones that listen to bloggers and respond. The webmaster console team has Vanessa Fox, Amanda Camp, and several others. Mihai Parparita and the entire Google Reader team listens for requests and responds to feedback in the blogosphere. Sometimes I’ve gone to answer a blogger’s question about Google Calendar only to see that Carl Sjogreen already arrived and answered it better than I could.”
However, this train of thought took a surprising turn. Cutts continued, “No single person should be Google’s unofficial blogger–that’s not scalable. I love working at Google, but at some point my wife is going to wake up and smell the coffee. She’ll say ‘Hey, we agreed we’d try this Google thing for four or five years, and then I’d get to pick what to do next. It’s been like eight years now! When do we move on to our next adventure?’ Any Google engineer will tell you that a good way to scale something is to shard it. Rather than relying on one person, Google needs lots of unofficial bloggers.”
This prompted David Naylor (aka DaveN) to read between the lines and wonder aloud, “Matt Cutts to leave Google?” According to Naylor, “My Gut feeling is Matt is looking at letting all the little Cuttlets down gently.”
Meanwhile, back at the Times article, Bock told Hansell, “Last week we hired six people who had below a 3.0 G.P.A.”
Stay tuned. It’s too early to tell what “the real lesson” we’ll learn from these developments.