Larry Page: “At His Core He Cares about Latency”

(p. 184) Speed had always been an obsession at Google, especially for Larry Page. It was almost instinctual for him. “He’s always measuring everything,” says early Googler Megan Smith. “At his core he cares about latency.” More accurately, he despises latency and is always trying to remove it, like Lady Macbeth washing guilt from her hands. Once Smith was walking down the street with him in Morocco and he suddenly dragged her into a random Internet café with maybe three machines. Immediately, he began timing how long it took web pages to load into a browser there.
Whether due to pathological impatience or a dead-on conviction that speed is chronically underestimated as a factor in successful products, Page had been insisting on faster delivery for everything Google from the beginning. The minimalism of Google’s home page, allowing for lightning-quick (p. 185) loading, was the classic example. But early Google also innovated by storing cached versions of web pages on its own servers, for redundancy and speed.
“Speed is a feature,” says Urs Hölzle. “Speed can drive usage as much as having bells and whistles on your product. People really underappreciate it. Larry is very much on that line.”

Source:
Levy, Steven. In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011.

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