Tag Archive for 'Google'

Our Weekend Road Trip to Carmel-by-the Sea

 

After our great road trip to the North of San Francisco up to Fort Bragg, Eureka and beyond, we decided to explore southwards on the Pacific Coast up to Carmel -on -the Sea covering a round trip of 300 miles. While the northern  trip was through wine country and redwood forests, the southern trip was through farm lands, pine forests and many tourist spots rich in history and scenic beauty. We had a very enjoyable weekend road trip for three days on 13-15 October. We selected California State Highway Route 1 which hugs the sea-coast for our onward journey via Pigeon Point – Santa Cruz – Monterey Bay to Carmel and on return took a diversion near Santa Cruz via Route 17 over to Route 101 for our return journey to San Francisco. The drive through Route 1 was memorable because of the number of small beaches on the Half Moon Bay, Historical Pigeon Point Light House where the Carrier Pigeon Cargo Ship wreck happened on 6 June 1853 and the beautiful Monterey Bay where we rode astride farm lands growing Artichoke, Lettuce, Pumpkins and strawberries.

The  Monterey Bay extends all the way south of Santa Cruz City till the Monterey peninsula and Carmel highlands. A very important area from a geological point, the Monterey Canyon, one of the largest underwater canyons in the world, begins off the coast of Moss’s Landing exactly at the center of the bay. Many species of marine mammals including sea otters, harbor seal and bottle nose dolphins are found in this area. It is also in the migratory path of gray and hump back whales. Several varieties of Kelp grow in the bay some of these as tall as trees. The California State University founded in 1994 at Monterey and uses the facilities donated by the military.

We chose Hofsas House in Carmel town, a quaint hotel with old world charm for our stay for two nights. While Carmel-by-the Sea is famous for its white beaches, the town with rolling hill sides has fairy tale cottages, art galleries and the historic Carmel Mission. Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first sighted this place with beautiful beaches and pine forests 50 years after Columbus discovered America. Carmel is famous for its celebrities including Clint Eastwood, the well known movie star who was the Mayor of Carmel during 1986-88. More than 200 movies and TV Commercials were shot in this scenic place. Today, Carmel is one of the costliest real estate in the US. Carmel town has excellent restaurants for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner and the waiting time is anything up to an hour. On a weekend, it is very difficult to get reservations for dinner. Mostly Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean and West Coast American food is available.

On the second day, we visited the Monterey Aquarium – one of the largest aquarium dedicated to the rich marine life obtaining in the Western Coast of US. The live Kelp Forest and a variety of Jelly Fish displayed was a great attraction. Thereafter, we drove through the Pacific Grove to the Point Pinos Light House and over to the beautiful 17 Mile Drive on the seashore amidst thick cypress forest on one side and the Pebble Beach on the other side. Pebble Beach has some of the finest golf courses where PGA tournaments are held, on the 17 Mile drive, there are 21 points of tourist interest, the Lone Cypress being the most photographed spot in the west coast.

We left Carmel on the third day and drove through mountain roads to Wood Side, on the Biker’s Routes and had a sumptuous lunch at the popular Alice’s Restaurant on the hill top. After lunch, we drove through the Silicon Valley crossing Mountain View- Google and Palo Alto where the well-known Garage Museum of HP is located. The visit to the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, the Mecca of IT with Stanford University, Apple, Oracle, Google, HP, Oracle and Facebook was a pilgrimage for me, having worked with the IT Industry for 20 years after my Army Service. Besides, it was my wish to visit the HQ of Google at Mountain View along with my wife and son Raghu who works for Google at San Francisco. We followed Route 101 back to San Francisco.

Click your way through a brave new virtual world !

The uninitiated to the internet [ a species fast approaching extinction] is still safe from intrusion into his or her privacy . For all others who at least clicked his or her way to the ubiquitous internet once in their life , it is lost forever .

You are visible globally – your attitudes , aptitudes , interest , inclinations, social habits , private moments , reflections etc are all there for the world to see thanks to organizations like Google , Face Book , Twitter and Skype who track you relentlessly through your clicks , personalize content for you for future viewing and sharing , and also make a quick bug on the sly by monetizing the data by collaborating with viral marketing agencies .

Any amount of legislation , control and monitoring will not stop this new trend which is here to stay and also generally acceptable to the netizen of the brave new virtual world . So ,enjoy the experience and do not complain. After all , no one can force you to click !

The Adolescent Organization

A report today says that Google has posted a 36 % jump in quarterly profit and has generally exceeded the expectations of the market considering the competition evolving for the search engine company . Larry Page , its Chief Executive stated during an interview that Google is  ” still in its very early stages of what  they want to do ” .

The above comment by the CEO is very interesting but not surprising . The twelve year old market leader is already the undisputed emperor of internet search . They have a fairly expanded product offerings [ android , Google earth , Google plus , Google chrome etc ] all revolving around their core business and they all make good profit . But , the company is still evolving and is carving out an exalted space in the global business space delighting its users , employees and investors. ” I’m Feeling Lucky” – Douglas Edwards -Employee number 59’s book released recently gives some useful insights .

A quick search on the internet [ thanks to Google] reveals that a state of adolescence in  human beings is a stage of rapid development  with an illusion of invulnerability , audacity , aggressive spirit , exploration and ego centrism . They are always or want to be ” on stage ” and display behavior insensitive to others . Adolescents follow a concept of “use it or lose it ” and work with an imaginary audience but focus on the present or short term .

Adolescence is a stage of growth and adolescents are in a state of transition. Can we transfer these attributes to an Organization? If so , can we say that GOOGLE is an adolescent organization ?

Short Selling China !!

Yesterday [14th Jan ] , Indian newspapers carried three  reports/features  on China .

AP[Associated Press] reports the display of a rare 400 year old map at the  Library of Congress , Washington DC  created by Matteo Ricci , a Jesuit missionary from Italy at the request of Emperor Wanli.  This is the first ever map in Chinese depicting the Americas  and associates North America with bison and wild horses. More important , the map puts China in the center of the World!!. Remember the Siamese King in the Oscar award winning film ” The King and I ” where he gets a map redrawn with Siam in the center of the Universe!! .

Associated Press Copyright

The second report concerns the bold step taken by Google to defy Chinese censors and also threatening to quit China over misuse of the censorship clause by the government agencies . This development has great impact for global business  and may decide the shape of things to come in Business dealings and investments in China.

The third report relates to a feature by Thomas L Friedman reproduced with permission from the New York Times titled ” Red Alert : Is China world ‘s next ENRON ? ” . The article quotes from the Herald Tribune of last week where the front page story quotes the famous James Chanos [he called ENRON a fraud and made a fortune in 2000 short selling its stock] who warns that China is Dubai 1000 times or more. Chanos is looking for ways to short sell Chinese stocks before the Bubble bursts .

Even though Friedman goes on to play the devil ‘s advocate for Chanos in the article with reasons , we can see a pattern emerging both in the political and economic scene about the future of China . The phenominal 16 % growth reported this year can easily be derailed by corruption in high places , the economic disparity in urban and rural areas , over dependence on Oil and also the disturbed signals from Tibet Autonomous Region. The whole world is watching the developments in China and James Chanos could still  be two times lucky !!

Making Sense of the Internet

The Internet has become the construct for global connectivity and has surpassed the predictions and projections  of  both the evangelists and nay-sayers . What has started as a laboratory experiment and later extended to military applications during the Star War days has now become inseparable from all human endeavor both in the developed and developing nations cutting across all geographical and cultural divisions . From http to xml and now to web 2.0 and semantic web along with cloud computing , the Internet is going places and it is still evolving!!.

The user friendly nature of its technology and multi language formats,have permitted the Internet  to be used for commerce, navigation, deep sea exploration , remote sensing , defense , remote medical diagnosis and treatment as well as social interaction through e mails, internet telephony, social webs , live webs and now mobile webs . Today, the Internet offers a wide variety of Information and media  packaging  and  Entertainment formats in the form of Live Chats,audio and video down loads as well as interactive games . The NET has also over time come out of the shackles of  fixed apparatus like a desktop to mobile and hand held devices or got  integrated with smart appliances.

The name of GOOGLE stands out in this context and the mission of its founders – Larry Page and Sergey  Brin – ” to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful ” has been more than fulfilled and facilitated. In his article titled ” Icons of the Decade – Google ” [copyright-Guardian Newspapers 2009] Jeff Jarvis narrates how the Google founders made sense of the Internet medium first from a scientist’s perspective [search and discovery] and thereafter sought solutions in data .

During the last decade, Google helped us organise the world’s information and the next frontier could be to organise our lives, predicts Jeff Darvis.