Is Google Building Another Xerox PARC?
For some time now we have all been enjoying the benefits of Xerox's research at their PARC facility. The GUI and the mouse are some of the better known projects to come out of that facility, and unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, Xerox didn't understand what they had. So since the late '70s my question is why hasn't anyone else thought about building another PARC?
It is quite obvious, by Google's current example, that letting engineers do what they do best, innovate, a company can enjoy a substantial lead on its competitors. Google is allegedly looking to purchase a large plot of land on NASA's Ames Research campus. Will Google set aside a portion, or a building for its best engineers to just come to work and build whatever they feel like every day. I'd be willing to be that they will. If there is anything currently even close to as innovative as the Xerox PARC, it would be Google. It is currently only stymied by the irrational concerns of people over their privacy, which was irreparably breached in the '90s. Once Google can hit their full stride, there is no reason to think that they couldn't build that space elevator. They are already changing the way we all use our computers, and in subtle ways changing how we access websites. One has to wonder why Yahoo and Microsoft haven't set up these types of elite research facilities just to see how far we can push the technology. Perhaps they don't see the direct cost benefit, but if you can get out ahead, then the cost benefit will become apparent. Sometimes you just can't wait to see if some new idea will make it past focus groups and test cases. Sometimes you just need to get it into the hands of the public.
Speaking of stealing from the PARC, I thought seriously about selling off my Macs and going back to a nice new PC. I'm getting tired of my old single processor G5 and my little iBook G4 and thought it would be nice to get a dual-core 3.2 GHz P4. Then at work, just like clockwork, explorer crashed on me 5 times in a row. I wasn't doing anything in particular, just moving files around. I rebooted and the problem went away. Then it did it again, it kept on doing it and will probably be crashing when I get to work tomorrow. I promptly rethought my position. There was a blogger talking about how the finder consistently crashes. Well, I can say that after using Windows for something like 15 years before switching to Macs for good in 2001. They may cost more, and I don't like that, but they did the best job of stealing from Xerox and it shows in OS X.