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Reid Gets Day In Court

By - October 08, 2007

I first spoke to Brian Reid when I was reporting the book, he was clearly not happy about his former employer, Google. He filed an age discrimination lawsuit a few years back, it was dismissed, but it’s back, News.com reports.

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4 thoughts on “Reid Gets Day In Court

  1. David says:

    Interesting. I just did an interview with Brian from his Usenet days. Link below…

    http://www.giganews.com/usenet-history/reid.html

  2. stone says:

    If you read the claim filed this looks like big G’s first court loss coming up. I can’t see how they win this one.

  3. JG says:

    From the news.com article: “His boss, then 38-year-old Urs Hoelzle, also made age-related remarks about his performance every few weeks, dismissed his opinions and ideas as “obsolete” and “too old to matter,” and called him “fuzzy,” “lethargic,” and other energy-lacking descriptors, the court filings said.

    Oh, this is too funny. Why? Because I remember reading, at about the same time (around 2003-ish), a news.com article in which Urs Hoelzle was interviewed. If I recall correctly, Urs was berating academic-style information retrieval (search algorithm) research, saying that it was out-of-touch, old-fashioned and behind the times. He said something to the effect of how academics were too busy wasting their time on obsolete, offline (non-hyperlink based) algorithms, and how Google was so much further ahead because it had correctly identified the future of any and all searching by coming up with these fantastic, link-based algorithms. ‘Academics are fuddy-duddies, and are just dwelling in the past’, was essentially the tone of the interview.

    Well, those words came back to bite when Google released both Desktop Search and Enterprise Search. In both of those domains, “obsolete” academic search algorithm research rules. That is to say, there are no hyperlinks. PageRank itself is completely non-functional, completely obsolete, in both of these important search domains. One must rely on more traditional features. Someone with the wisdom of age, someone who has more experience knowing what does and does not work with these traditional features, might be more valuable than someone who can only envision search in terms of PageRank.

    Mind you, I am not making any claim about the validity or invalidity of Brian Reid’s claims. I have zero knowledge of such things. I am only saying that, if such claims are indeed true, it would not be inconsistent with other public interviews by Google officials that I have read. And it should also serve as a warning to any corporate culture that does not see the value in the wisdom of past experience.

    It doesn’t look to good when you publicly berate non-PageRank search algorithmics, not to mention the people that work on them, and then thereafter release products (Desktop, Enterprise) that rely on non-PageRank algorithmics.

  4. Reading the court proceedings, it looks like the case was handled
    poorly. This does not give people much of a reason to want to work
    there, at a time when (ironically) Google is complaining to the US
    government that it should relax visa restrictions in order to bring in
    more people, because they can’t find qualified people.

    There is also more commentary on Slashdot, which gives more credence
    to the claims made in various other places about disorganized work
    conditions and hiring practices at Google.

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