Gmail Status Quotes

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Google had a built-in disadvantage in the social networking sweepstakes. It was happy to gather information about the intricate web of personal and professional connections known as the “social graph” (a term favored by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg) and integrate that data as signals in its search engine. But the basic premise of social networking—that a personal recommendation from a friend was more valuable than all of human wisdom, as represented by Google Search—was viewed with horror at Google. Page and Brin had started Google on the premise that the algorithm would provide the only answer. Yet there was evidence to the contrary. One day a Googler, Joe Kraus, was looking for an anniversary gift for his wife. He typed “Sixth Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas” into Google, but beyond learning that the traditional gift involved either candy or iron, he didn’t see anything creative or inspired. So he decided to change his status message on Google Talk, a line of text seen by his contacts who used Gmail, to “Need ideas for sixth anniversary gift—candy ideas anyone?” Within a few hours, he got several amazing suggestions, including one from a colleague in Europe who pointed him to an artist and baker whose medium was cake and candy. (It turned out that Marissa Mayer was an investor in the company.) It was a sobering revelation for Kraus that sometimes your friends could trump algorithmic search.
Steven Levy (In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives)