The Humans Who Will Kill the Google Machine

Owen Thomas · 03/08/09 11:20PM

A mild-mannered British physicist is trying to render Google irrelevant. Stephen Wolfram, the creator of Mathematica, a grandiosely ambitious piece of software, has come up with Wolfram Alpha, a grandiosely ambitious engine of knowledge.

Yahoo Flack Quit After Lawsuit Leak

Owen Thomas · 02/17/09 01:45PM

One of the messes Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz must clean up is a three-year-old investigation into claims of discrimination by a black female lawyer. After a leak of confidential documents, it's now even messier.

Facebook Founders Settle Their Feud

Owen Thomas · 01/30/09 06:44PM

After years of freezing out cofounder Eduardo Saverin over a dispute about money, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has deigned to recognize his former Harvard buddy. Why now? Perhaps to derail a forthcoming Facebook tell-all?

Vladimir Putin Taunts Michael Dell

Owen Thomas · 01/28/09 04:28PM

Dude, Russia's not getting a Dell. That's a polite version of what Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia's testy KGB agent turned autocrat, told Michael Dell in Davos. Dell's sin? After Putin delivered a fiery 40-minute sermon about the doom of the West, Dell asked if there was any way his company could help Russia with its computers. Yes, he gave a tacky sales pitch at the high-minded World Economic Forum. But he didn't deserve the tongue-lashing Putin gave him next, as reported by Fortune: "We don't need help. We are not invalids. We don't have limited mental capacity."

Bono and Steve Jobs No Longer BFFs

Owen Thomas · 12/22/08 04:47PM

What did Steve Jobs do to his old buddy Bono? The Irish rock star, once the Apple CEO's adoring buddy, is funding the most credible threat to the iPhone yet.

Google now lets TechCrunch pretend we don't exist

Paul Boutin · 11/21/08 02:40PM

With a name like SearchWiki, you know it's going to be clever, yet stupid. Google has spent ten years and I don't know how many hundred million dollars refining a rocket-science algorithm for ranking Internet search results. Now, a few Google coders have whipped up a feature that lets you boost or cut the scores of individual websites from your own future searches. For example, grudge-o-matic TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington can click his own posts to the top of any Google search he performs. With one more click, he can remove Valleywag entirely from his life. That frees us to post as many photos of Big Mike's girlfriends as we want. Everybody wins! Personal note to Google engineer Amay: Next time you make a video, try to go longer than seven seconds without saying "cool."

Facebook less like a college dorm than you'd think

Owen Thomas · 11/19/08 08:00PM

One imagines Facebook as a geek utopia, where hackers who dropped out of college play Rock Band all day, then stay up all night coding. The reality: It's as depressingly Dilbertian as any other company — and COO Sheryl "No-Fun" Sandberg is making sure it keeps getting more boring every day. Take the latest tiff we happened to hear about — in the social network's business-development department, the home of glad-handing charmers who negotiate deals. You'd think they'd be experts at sucking up to each other. Tim Kendall (shown left), the company's director of monetization — Valleyspeak for "guy who comes up with ideas to make money" — was left fuming after his boss, VP Dan Rose, instructed him in the art of time management."Every day, you need to create a to-do list," Rose told Kendall. "You put the items you need to do on the list, and you need to review the list with me every day. As you do them, you need to cross them off." Kendall's retort, which he delivered not to Rose but to friends within and without Facebook: "No shit Sherlock, I didn't get to where I am today without knowing how to manage a to-do list!" What's odd about this rumor: Rose doesn't have a reputation as a micromanager, and the two both worked at before joining Facebook. They put on a convincing buddy act for the New York Times recently, too. Anyone care to play Encyclopedia Brown and help piece together this puzzle? My only conclusion: The best algorithms can't predict what will break a friendship. (Photo by Chris Pan)