专栏 - 谷歌日志


Seth Weintraub 2011年05月13日

谷歌(Google)最初是从事网络搜索,现在它几乎渗入商界和政府的方方面面。Seth Weintraub为我们揭示谷歌将去向何方,正在与谁竞争,将与谁竞争,以及市场力量是如何推动这家公司偏离或坚持其“不做恶”(Don't Be Evil)的座右铭。在成为博客写手之前,他曾有15年的时间在多家公司担任全球IT主管。

Joe Britt at Google I/O


    赫汉森和布里特曾是2000年创建Danger公司的三巨头成员,另一名成员则是如今负责Android的安迪•鲁宾。2000年,这三位工程师推出了具有开创性的消费级智能手机,其中包括曾在名流圈中大红大紫的T-Mobile Sidekick。

    如今三人组再度聚首。在过去1年里,布里特和赫汉森悄悄加盟谷歌,负责Android内一个名为Android硬件(Android Hardware)的新项目。他们告诉我,自己一直在做东西,这些东西将为Android外围设备提供设计参考。Android硬件在探索各式各样的东西,从家庭自动化到锻炼游戏和机器人,几乎无所不有。虽然谷歌目前并不打算制造谷歌品牌的Android配件,但布里特表示自己很想看到谷歌将来推出一些自己的Android外设。看来苹果(Apple)必须小心了。



    与此同时,布里特和赫汉森则留在Danger继续工作了好些年,甚至在2008年,Danger被微软(Microsoft)收购、Sidekick被取消,他们也没离开。两人还曾短暂参与过“粉色项目”( "Pink project"),正是该项目制造出了悲剧而短命的Kin手机(Kin在去年夏天被取消)。在Kin发布后,布里特和赫汉森在同一天双双离开微软。

    Matt Hershenson and Joe Britt, two legendary figures in mobile phone development, have suddenly resurfaced as part of the team building Android. Their hiring signals a big change at Google, showing that the company is getting just as serious about the hardware of phones — and this goes well beyond flip vs. candybar -- as it is the software.

    Hershenson and Brit were part of the trio that founded Danger in 2000. The third partner: Android chief Andy Rubin. The three engineers launched pioneering consumer smartphones, like the once-ubiquitous-among-celebrities T-Mobile Sidekick in 2000.

    Now they're back together again. Within the last 12 months, Britt and Hershenson quietly joined Google (GOOG) to run a new wing within Android called Android Hardware. They tell me they spend their days building things that will turn into reference designs for Android peripherals. Android Hardware is exploring everything from home automation to exercise gaming and robotics. While there are no immediate plans to build Google-branded Android hardware accessories, Brit indicated that he would love to see Google introduce some of its own Android peripherals in the long term. The folks in Cupertino (AAPL) have to be paying attention.

    At Danger, the three were determined to change the mobile industry by putting a tiny computer in everyone's hands. They came up with the Hiptop, which was adopted by a renegade mobile carrier Voicestream shortly before that company was bought out by T-Mobile. The Hiptop was rebranded the Sidekick and went on to critical acclaim, at least in its niche of teens and celebrities who loved the ability to text message with a QWERTY keyboard, without having to carry around their father's BlackBerry. [For an interesting and thorough history of the early days of Danger told by Brit, Rubin and Hershenson, have a look at these videos from a 2004 Stanford talk.]

    As Danger grew, investors wanted a manager at the helm, so Rubin relinquished the CEO role. Rubin left Danger in 2003 to form the company that would later become the basis for Android. Google bought Android in 2005, leading to Rubin's role as Senior VP at the company -- one of seven reporting directly to CEO Larry Page -- today.

    Brit and Hershenson, meanwhile, stayed on at Danger for years, even after Microsoft (MSFT) purchased the company in 2008 and went to work killing the Sidekick. They briefly moved into the "Pink project," which produced the ill-fated and short-lived Kin phone (it was killed last summer). After the Kin's introduction, Brit and Hershenson both left Microsoft on the same day.


Hershenson at Google I/O






    有一件事大家可能感兴趣:布里特和赫汉森都在使用谷歌Nexus S手机,尽管他们都尝试过新的Android Sidekick手机并且很喜欢它的键盘,新的Sidekick仍然保持着2000年左右的原型机的风格。


    The way Hershenson tells the tale, he drove almost directly out of Microsoft's parking lot and over to Google's Building 44, home of the Android team. Brit wanted to take "a year off", but says he was lured into Google within months by having lunches at the Google campus and learning what his former colleagues were up to.

    At Google, their new roles dictate that the pair spend most of the time in labs, soldering irons in hand, engineering new products and product uses. In other words, they are back to a version of the rented office space they were tinkering around on robots in with Rubin when they launched Danger back in 2000.

    Except today, it's 2011. Smartphones are mainstream and supremely powerful -- it's not just rappers and Paris Hilton who carry around the state-of-the-art in their pockets.

    And unlike with Danger, Britt and Hershenson are involved with a goliath, not an up-and-comer. Android is turning out to be bigger than even the iPhone in terms of market share. That scale is what attracted and the former Danger founders to get the band back together, with their goal being to build the hardware and features they want to see show up in new Android devices. It's not enough for Google to just provide Android software to carrier -- now they hope to influence what handset makers build, too.

    The new prototypes the team engineers at Android Hardware could end up in the hands of hundreds of millions, if not billions of people, which, after all, is what Rubin and the Danger crew were shooting for all along.

    In case you were wondering: Brit and Hershenson both carry around Google Nexus S phones, though they've tried the new Android Sidekick and love the keyboard, which stayed true to its circa-2000 origins.