Some of the technology Google develops in Australia is very successful (think Maps). Some of it ultimately falls by the wayside (think Wave). But what are the boffins in Google's Pyrmont office working on right now?
In a speech at the Digital Sydney launch last night, local head of engineering Alan Noble gave a quick and neat summary of what Google's local technical team is currently working on:
Google Maps is at its heart Australian technology. We started off Google Maps back in 2004 and geospatial products which includes not just Google Maps but Google Earth and Google Mobile Maps, that's now a very big part of Google and continues to be a very big part of what we do here in Sydney.
As we've grown we've basically moved into new areas. Off our success in geo we've started to work on a lot of Google's infrastructure. Now the infrastructure's not something you can see or touch as a user of Google's products and services, but it's the vital systems running under the hood that are powering the systems, that are making them scale and run reliably 24/7 all around the world. We have large infrastructure teams in Sydney.
A bit more recently, we've actually diversified into Google Apps and we have certain teams working on various parts of Google Apps. In particular, we've been working on Docs for Android which means you can now access your docs anywhere.
There's a team working on Google Chrome. A lot of that work is actually open source, Not only do we use a lot of open source technology, but everything we do in Chrome to make the web browsers better is going back into an open source project called Webkit, and that's the same package that's used in [other]browsers.
Along with that, we have a smattering of as-yet-unannounced projects, some of them I'm very excited about. We call these special projects. Unfortunately I can't talk about these until they're public but suffice to say there's a lot of really interesting things happening in Pyrmont at Google Australia.
Experience has taught us that just because those unannounced technologies are developed in Australia, we won't necessarily see them here first. But I'd still like to know what they are (and educated guesses are welcome in the comments).