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Very thoughtful review - thank you Marshall.
You've hit the nail on the head - the challenge is how to present reams of data in manageable and easily-digested pieces so actionable steps can be taken. The approach we've decided to take is to create our data platform and API explorer first, then begin to layer in an application layer that presents an easily-digested snapshot, like SocialStrawPoll.com, or our daily reports, both of which are easily navigated.
We're still building that application layer - the current dashboard approach simply presents a UI that enables designers to explore our API - and 14.3 million listings x 615 variables - in a structured way.
2 years, 11 months ago on Heardable.com Initial Review - Web Journal - pre Thanksgiving, 2011
As a consumer of all of the APIs mentioned above, I found this piece fascinating - some of the Google externally-facing APIs, such as those around search, are indeed not the kind of thing that could be relied on by Google internally (and actually return different results!) - but other APIs, such as the new Google Maps API (version 3) are sweet, and have been combined with the new Premium API Services that (at last) allow you to buy your way out of a low rate limit and obtain actual customer support (another big area where Google has historically lagged.)
I really hope Yegge's views are embraced by Google Management - there are customers are there that could not have written a better analysis of what they face when trying to utilize the Google platform to build stuff. Either way, I predict he's headed for a good future.
On the subject of the Facebook platform, which Yegge didn't look at, Facebook's platform for developers was really the first to create an incredibly strong front end that enabled developers to interface with the platform in a robust, useful, and professional way - and educate themselves on how Facebook works using FML. Amazon's cloud may be tremendously powerful (yes, we use this too, and it is), but it's developer front end cannot be loved by anyone other than it's Mommy - or Daddy.
3 years ago on Google Engineer Accidently Shares His Internal Memo About Google + Platform