Category Archives: Google

Google Shuts down Helpouts

google helpoutsSo long, Helpouts. We hardly knew ya. Google Helpouts,  the service that tried to put you face-to-face with a subject matter expert via Google Hangouts is being discontinued today, as stated in an email going out today.

Hi David,

We have some sad news to share with you today: Helpouts will be shutting down onApril 20th, 2015. While this announcement was just posted on our site, we wanted you to hear the news directly from us.

Since launching in 2013, Helpouts has been a home for people to connect with experts on topics they want to learn about or seek advice and solutions to everyday problems. The Helpouts community includes some engaged and loyal contributors, but unfortunately, it hasn’t grown at the pace we had expected. Sadly, we’ve made the tough decision to shut down the product.

Starting April 20th, you’ll be able to download your Helpouts history using Google Takeout (available until November 1st, 2015). Until then, you can email us with any questions or concerns you have about your account or take a look at these FAQs.

We want to thank you for your support—both the providers who shared their expertise with the world, and the people who needed some extra help or advice along the way. You’ve had a lot to contribute—and we’ve loved learning alongside you.

Our best wishes,
The Helpouts Team

Can’t say I’m surprised, and I’m glad I didn’t invest any time into this endeavor.

Google Hangouts kills the ability to place outbound calls

google_hangouts_callingLike many, I use Google services for email, voice, and messaging… it is pretty much my primary mode of communication in one form or another.  I’ve been very happy for years with my Google Voice + Gmail + Gtalk setup…. until today… when I realized that I could not dial into my conference bridge for my 8am meeting.

“Wait- there’s GOT to be a way to do this”, I thought to myself.

Nope. After digging around on the Google Voice forums, it was confirmed: You can no longer place outbound calls from Google Hangouts, Gmail, or the Chrome extension.

Google is moving real-time communication to their new “Hangouts” platform (or at least the look-and-feel). This means that Voice, SMS, chats, video calls will eventually all be contained in Hangouts, instead of having different interfaces all over the magical world of Google applications. This is a great thing… but it doesn’t seem like they are ready for prime-time.

The official response from Google:

“Today’s version of Hangouts doesn’t yet support outbound calls on the web and in the Chrome extension, but we do support inbound calls to your Google Voice number. We’re working hard on supporting both, and outbound/inbound calls will soon be available.”

I guess I’m just thankful they aren’t dropping Google Voice entirely, which is a valid concern these days when it comes to Google.


Google’s first server was made of Lego

In a Stanford basement lab in 1996 the world’s first search engine was born. But did you know it was built in a Lego enclosure?

Google's First Lego Server

The text reads:

The Original Google Storage

In 1996 Larry Page and Sergey Brin, then PhD students in Stanford CSD, working on the Digital Library Project, needed a large amount of diskspace to test their Pagerank algorithm on actual world-wide-web data. At that time 4 GB disks were the largest available, so they assembled 10 of these drives into a low-cost cabinet.

In Nov 1999, Google Inc., by then operating one of the primary search engines on the web, provided replacement storage capacity to the Digital Library project so that we could move this original storage assembly into our history displays.

As of September 2000, Google, now located in Mountain View, operated 5000 PCs for searching and web crawling, using the Linux operating system.


More info and pictures can be found here.