Google is one of the largest tech companies in the entire globe, and the history of their 17-year existence is pretty remarkable. What started as a small pet project of two Stanford grad students using backlinks as a way to more effectively rank web pages has grown into a multinational tech corporation, generating billions of dollars in revenue (and profit) every fiscal quarter. Over the past couple of decades, Google has expanded their core search business into many new areas through a variety of services and products. Some of their more popular services like Gmail, Maps, Android, Chrome, and YouTube now boast billions of users, and those numbers continue to climb as the company finds new ways of locking users into their thriving ecosystem of web-based products.
If you’re the inquisitive sort, you may have wondered how Google goes about developing all of these massively successful projects. The company is usually pretty mum on the finer details of their day-to-day operations, but they recently launched a brand new site that provides curious users with a behind-the-scenes peek at some of their products. The site, named bar.foo, allows Google engineers to share some of their thoughts and insights on the different projects that they work on, giving users a clearer picture on the more technical, developmental side of Mountain View. The site currently covers four topics: Google Docs, Google Voice Search, Gmail, and YouTube. Each topic takes on the form of a story, with Google engineers providing a bit of history behind each product, some of the challenges they faced during development, some of the key engineers who worked on the projects, and how they developed solutions to make the products more functional and efficient.
The website provides a substantial amount of detail for each topic, like how Google Docs engineers developed a way for multiple users to edit a single document (with multiple versions) at the same time, or how Google engineers brought speech recognition from an experimental side-project to a fully fleshed commercial product in the form of Google Voice Search. Moreover, the topic sections aren’t just large swaths of exposition, but also include numerous graphics and animations to help illustrate how the engineers tackled each of the challenges that they faced during development. The site is definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in the more technical side of how some of your favorite apps and services came to be.