Monday, April 30, 2012

Introducing Google Drive


Google Drive

Google is reporting:

Just like the Loch Ness Monster, you may have heard the rumors about Google Drive. It turns out, one of the two actually does exist.

Today, we’re introducing Google Drive - a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you’re working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancĂ© or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in Drive. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.

With Google Drive, you can:
Create and collaborate. Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, so you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDF, image, video file, etc.) and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items.
Store everything safely and access it anywhere (especially while on the go). All your stuff is just... there. You can access your stuff from anywhere—on the web, in your home, at the office, while running errands and from all of your devices. You can install Drive on your Mac or PC and can download the Drive app to your Android phone or tablet. We’re also working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices. And regardless of platform, blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.
Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more. Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos from your Grand Canyon trip into Drive, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time.

You can get started with 5GB of storage for free—that’s enough to store the high-res photos of your trip to the Mt. Everest, scanned copies of your grandparents’ love letters or a career’s worth of business proposals, and still have space for the novel you’re working on. You can choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage will also expand to 25GB.

Drive is built to work seamlessly with your overall Google experience. You can attach photos from Drive to posts in Google+, and soon you’ll be able to attach stuff from Drive directly to emails in Gmail. Drive is also an open platform, so we’re working with many third-party developers so you can do things like send faxes, edit videos and create website mockups directly from Drive. To install these apps, visit the Chrome Web Store - and look out for even more useful apps in the future.

This is just the beginning for Google Drive; there’s a lot more to come. Get started with Google Drive today - and keep looking for Nessie...

Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Chrome & Apps

Introducing Google Drive... yes, really


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Google Reports Record Financial Performance on Slower Growth, Lower Margins

Google reported Q1 2012 financial results on Thursday, April 12, 2012

Google reported all-time highs for total revenues, net income, and earnings per share, but is there trouble in Internet paradise? CEO Larry Page began the earnings call explaining Google was a large company and implying not the young, high-growth Google of yore. Then CFO Patrick Pichette, one of the better earnings call CFOs to listen to, used phrases such as "complex set of dynamics" and "multiple variables in play" to qualify some declining metrics.

The exuberance of past earnings calls was missing and an apologetic tone prevailed. Why do I have this weird feeling Apple is sucking the air out of the room? A stock split was announced whereby existing Class A and a new Class C non-voting stock will be traded, via a stock dividend, but that is outside the scope of this review and left to disgruntled stockholders.

What's the problem here? Have I become so jaded that I'm knocking Google's record financial performance? Yes to both questions, because the upside to further Google web glory may be waning. The problem is slowing revenue growth and lower margins. Operating income dipped on record revenues, the result of a lower gross profit margin. The operating margin is the lowest since the QE September 2008.

Google continues as a legendary company but the long-held Internet advertising edge may be losing traction. Q1 is normally the annual cyclical low, so the assumed upside in Q2 should maintain and exceed this latest financial performance. If not, Google is facing a tougher, more competitive advertising market, notably in mobile and specifically with Apple, than management is willing to admit.

Google Income Statement Q1 2012 Google financial performance was record total revenues of $10.65 billion, record net income of $2.89 billion, record earnings per share of $8.75, and near-record operating cash flow per share of $11.19. From the prior quarter Q4 2011, QoQ, total revenues were +0.58%, net income +6.84%, and earnings per share +6.45%. From the prior year quarter Q1 2011, these were +24.14%, +60.73%, and +58.80%, respectively. Gross and operating margins dipped to 64.14% and 31.84%. Net margin of 27.15% is solid.

Google Balance Sheet Q1 2012 Total assets increased to a record $77.14 billion. The capital to assets ratio is steady at a very strong 80.00%. Google is incredibly liquid with a current ratio of 73.71% and over $49.32 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities! Capital expenditures decreased to $607 million and the "majority of which was related to IT infrastructure investments, including data centers, servers, and networking equipment."

Google Cash Flow from Operations per Share and Earnings Per Share Current Cash Flow from Operations per Share of $11.19 is down QoQ and up YoY. Current Earnings per Share of $8.75 is +6.45% QoQ, +58.80% YoY, and an all-time high.

Google Total Revenues, Operating Income, and Net Income Current Total Revenues of $10.65 billion are +0.58% QoQ, +24.14% YoY, another all-time high, and have increased for 12 consecutive quarters. Current Operating Income  of $3.39 billion dipped slightly -3.36% QoQ below last quarter's all-time high. Current Net Income of $2.89 billion is +6.84% QoQ, +60.73% YoY, and an all-time high.

Google Gross Margin, Operating Margin, and Net Margin Current Gross Margin of 64.41% is down QoQ and YoY. Current Operating Margin of 31.84% is down QoQ and YoY. The current Net Income Margin of 27.15% is up QoQ and YoY, saving the quarter.

Google Return on Assets Current Return on Assets of 15.76% is slightly up QoQ and slightly down YoY.

Google Growth Rates YoY Current Total Revenues Growth YoY of +24.14% is about the historical (chart) average of +26.37%. Current Earnings per Share Growth YoY of +58.80% is outstanding and well above the historical (chart) average of +25.48%).

Google Traffic Acquisition Costs Current Traffic Acquisition Costs of 24.5% are a 4-quarter high and second consecutive quarterly increase.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Google Data Center Efficiency


Google Data Center

Google is reporting:

To paraphrase Lord Kelvin, if you don’t measure you can’t improve. Our data center operations team lives by this credo, and we take every opportunity to measure the performance of our facilities. In the same way that you might examine your electricity bill and then tweak the thermostat, we constantly track our energy consumption and use that data to make improvements to our infrastructure. As a result, our data centers use 50 percent less energy than the typical data center.

One of the measurements we track is PUE, or power usage effectiveness. PUE is a ratio of the total power used to run a data center to the amount used to power the servers. For instance, if a data center has a PUE of 2.0, that means that for every watt of energy that powers the servers, another watt powers the cooling, lighting and other systems. An ideal PUE would be 1.0.

In 2011, our trailing 12-month average PUE was approximately 1.14—an improvement from 1.16 in 2010. In other words, our data centers use only 14 percent additional power for all sources of overhead combined. To calculate this number we include everything that contributes to energy consumption in our data centers. That means that in addition to the electricity used to power the servers and cooling systems, we incorporate the oil and natural gas that heat our offices. We also account for system inefficiencies like transformer, cable and UPS losses and generator parasitic energy draw.

If we chose to use a simpler calculation—for instance, if we included only the data center and the cooling equipment—we could report a PUE as low as 1.06 at our most efficient location. But we want to be as comprehensive as possible in our measurements. You can see the difference in this graphic:

We’ve been publishing our PUE quarterly since 2008—in fact, we were the first company to do so, and are still the only one. Our numbers are based on actual production data taken from hundreds of meters installed throughout our data centers, not design specs or best-case scenarios. One way to think of it is comparing a car manufacturer’s mileage estimates for a new model car to the car’s real-life miles per gallon. We’re measuring real-world mileage so we can improve real-world efficiency.

Our 2011 numbers and more are available for closer examination on our data center site. We’ve learned a lot through building and operating our data centers, so we’ve also shared our best practices. These include steps like raising the temperature on the server floor and using the natural environment to cool the data center, whether it’s outside air or recycled water.

We’ve seen dramatic improvements in efficiency throughout the industry in recent years, but there’s still a lot we can do. Sharing comprehensive measurement data and ideas for improvement can help us all move forward.

Posted by Joe Kava, Senior Director, data center construction and operations

Measuring to Improve: Comprehensive, Real-World Data Center Efficiency Numbers


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