A confidential video of an orientation session for new Google employees was accidentally published to the public Google Video index -- and several people were able to watch and download the movie before it was taken down.
The video spilled the beans on some new features that are in the pipeline for Reader, and it also gives some "under the hood" talk about how Google itself works. Philipp Lenssen has the scoop on the entire list of items discussed, but here are a couple that I found the most interesting:
- Google will work on a standard for feed publishers to tell aggegrators about changes in the feed ('this post has been deleted' etc.). Such a standard doesn't exist yet. They will be working with blog tools like Blogger and MovableType.
- The feed backend now contains 10 terabytes of raw data from 8 million feeds. The index size grows with 4% a week.
- For search Mustang is currently used, Google's library for creating search engines. Mustang underlies the web search and most other search engines, except for Gmail's search feature as that requires instant updates and a specific index for each user. Mustang currently handles 1-2 search queries per second, but is able to handle thousands.
- a new feature called Activity Streams will be introduced or at least implemented in Reader this quarter. This will be comparable to Facebook's News Feed (Minifeed?) feature, and integrate Gmail's addressbook and contact list.
- Currently there is no plan to integrate Reader with Universal Search. This is because Universal Search doesn't provide its backends with user IDs (so Gmail results can't be shown either), and because it requires a lookup time of less than 1/4 second, which Reader cannot provide yet.
- Very soon, Reader will recommend feeds to the user, based on previous subscriptions and other Google activity.
- Next week, Reader will be released in several languages. One month after that, it will be available in 40 languages.
- Reader has a loyal user base (based on pageviews per user), higher than any other product except for Gmail and Orkut. 70 % of the users use Firefox, so feed syndication is still mostly a geek thing.