Marissa Mayer, VP of search products and user experience at Google, discusses simplicity, the importance of testing and looking at statistics and data, the desire to look into the future and think about the long term, to solve impossible and everyday problems, and of course playing at what interests you. The event is blogged by Eloy Zuniger, Jr. and covered by Information Week.
Seems like a few old topics are discussed that I've read in past articles. In some cases, more pieces of some puzzles fell into place. I found one piece of the talk provided some interesting feedback on the impact of the minimal search page.
Mayer discussed the history of simplicity on the search page. In truth, simplicity as a principle was not what determined the spare design. Google didn't have a webmaster at the time and Sergey didn't do HTML. Mayer reported that the absence of a lot of content on the page had an odd side effect with users, which they observed in early testing.
InfoWeek reports Mayer saying, "[S]earchers would load the Google home page and wait for upwards of a minute in some cases. Asked why, the testers, accustomed to pages chock full of content, said they were waiting for the rest of the page to load. That's why Google.com has a copyright notice at the end of its home page, said Mayer, to indicate that the page has loaded and that searching can begin."
Is also interesting to read about the attitude different teams have taken to difficult problems, and how they try to improve the experience with everyday problems. Google Health, GOOG 411, and Ride Finder are great examples of that.
I find the Google approach to problem solving fascinating at a high level, because, they're looking at fundamental problems and are engineering solutions that affect every day life profoundly. When you think about it, this is the key thing, in my opinion that makes Google interesting&8212;the ability to look at problems we experience in the world, and think about how technology can be used beat a path to solutions, no matter how difficult the problem appears on the surface.