Feeds

‘You can Google Checkout any time you like, but you can never leave...’

Bringing Nothing To The Party: Revenge of the Nerds, with roasting

High performance access to file storage

Book extract In our second extract of Bringing Nothing To The Party, entrepreneurial chancer Paul Carr finds himself enviably ensconced in a swanky Hertfordshire hotel at the pleasure of Google. But will he make it out alive?

The trouble started with one of those emails that you assume must be the result of an administrative error.

Dear Paul,

I’m writing from Google Europe ’06. We’re hosting an event later this year called ‘Zeitgeist’, bringing together some of the top thinkers in the Internet industry to discuss trends...

...blah blah...

...Speakers include David Cameron, Peter Gabriel, Martin Sorrell ... and Google CEO Eric Schmidt...

...blah blah...

I wondered whether you might be interested in either speaking at the event or joining a panel...

...blah...

...hang on...

...what?

It must be a mistake. Why on earth would Google possibly invite me to contribute to an event like that? A former newspaper journalist whose only success to date was bringing together web and print. And they wanted to put me on the same bill as those guys? It just didn’t make any sense.

But at the same time, it sort of did.

A few months earlier, Google had launched a bold initiative to scan the world’s books and to make them searchable online, in the same way as they make websites searchable now. The plan had caused all kinds of outcry from traditional publishers, who claimed that by scanning books the search engine giant was breaching their copyright.

Evidently my experience in the middle of this strange internet and book publishing Venn diagram qualified me to be a speaker at this super-exclusive conference, hosted by the world’s biggest search engine. They were offering to put me up in the country house hotel that was hosting the two-day event. They would even give me a spare ticket for the second day of the event to allow me to bring along a friend. How could I resist?

Annoyingly, a couple of weeks before the event I got a second email. Due to scheduling issues, the email explained, there wasn’t going to be any room on the schedule for me to speak after all. Clearly Google had either found someone who was actually qualified to address such an illustrious audience or they’d realised that they’d invited the wrong person in the first place. My money was on the latter, but – the email went on – to make up for it they’d still be delighted to have me as their guest for the event, and I could still stay in a nice hotel. Although, now that I wasn’t a speaker, I would have to slum it in the hotel down the road with the other attendees – the CEOs of companies who advertised on Google and various other internet bosses. That suited me just fine. Five-star or four, a free shower cap is a free shower cap.

The event was to be hosted at the Grove hotel and spa in Hertfordshire, a venue so exclusive that the hotel’s website offers instructions for arriving by car, train, helicopter and boat (‘by boat: allow eight hours from London’s Regent’s Park’). I opted for the train and then took a minicab from the station.

"I’ll get as close as I can but it’s a bloody circus up there," said the cab driver when I told him where I was going. "What with all the TV cameras camped out."

"Really?" I asked. "TV cameras?" God, this must be an even bigger event than I thought.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.