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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 15, 2006 at 7:16 AM

Google, Microsoft and toilet seats

I had a hard time choosing where to start today’s column on Google and the real threat it presents to Microsoft, because there were so many good anecdotes from last week’s visit.

I thought about mentioning a brief hallway chat I had with Larry Page outside a cafeteria. I said I’d like to talk further about the competition with Microsoft sometime, and he said, “It’s not a very interesting subject.”

Perhaps I should have focused instead on Google’s famous food service. Reporters last week were allowed into one of the cafeterias where a special hot food selection — a mini Indian buffet- – was presented for the media day. It was better than most cafeterias but a little disappointing, given all the hype.

The curries were bland and the cold, stiff naan was partly undercooked, but it could all be washed down with a fresh made batch of saffron mango lassi that was better than any of the expensive bottled sodas they give away on campus.

I also thought about leading the column by mentioning that the bathroom next to the cafeteria is outfitted with Japanese heated bidet toilet seats. It was an outrageous luxury, especially since the temperature was cranked to the highest setting on a hot, sunny day. I’ve got an S300 at home and we’ve never had the heat so high, even in the coldest part of winter.

I resisted the temptation to make toilet jokes about Google’s capital investments. But I have to mention that the toilet’s wireless remote control worked better than the campus Wi-Fi network, which was on the fritz through most of the media events.

Comments | Topics: Google

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