Profile

Cover photo
Peter Kasting
Works at Google
Attended Harvey Mudd College
Lived in Akron, OH
5,105 followers|1,900,195 views
AboutPostsPhotosYouTube+1'sReviews
People
Have him in circles
5,105 people
kawsar yusuf's profile photo
Booking Cat Ba Hotel's profile photo
Apurba Biswas's profile photo
Frank M. Palinkas's profile photo
Facebook Friends Statistics's profile photo
Lee Jackson's profile photo
Trang Tran's profile photo
Jeff Zellar's profile photo
Sarah Eric's profile photo
Collections Peter is following
Education
  • Harvey Mudd College
    Computer Science, 1997 - 2001
    Concentration in music. Graduated with High Distinction.
  • Sequim Senior High School
    1993 - 1997
    Valedictorian.
  • Sequim Middle School
    1989 - 1993
  • Helen Haller Elementary School
    1988 - 1989
  • Firestone Park Elementary School
    1985 - 1988
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Relationship
Married
Other names
Zero|DPX
Story
Tagline
Christian, husband, engineer, musician, and many other hats
Introduction
In addition to the rest of the stuff on this page, I'm keyboard player and congregation president of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mountain View.  I like listening to and (every several years) composing music, going wakeboarding and snowboarding, reading, playing games of all forms, drinking tasty beverages, arguing about random crap, and spending endless hours on the computer.  I have a beautiful wife, a dog and a cat, and a house in San Jose.  I'm far from perfect, but God has been good to me, and life has gotten better over the years.  If you're in the Bay Area, I'd probably be happy to hang out :)
Bragging rights
Chrome team founding member; designed and built the Chrome Omnibox.
Work
Occupation
Senior Software Engineer, Chrome UI team
Skills
Detail focus, doing grungy things, complaining and being grouchy
Employment
  • Google
    Software Engineer, 2006 - present
    Firefox 2: Find bar work, spellcheck attribute, "all tabs" dropdown. Chrome: design and implementation for omnibox, original (pre-Safari-for-Windows) scrollbars, BMP and ICO decoders; implementation for browser frame, fullscreen mode, content settings UI, other image decoder work; endless code cleanup, yak shaving, warning fixes, etc.
  • Green Hills Software
    Software Engineer, 2001 - 2006
    Owner, MIPS, SH, FR, CORE1 compiler backends. MULTI integration for ARC, TI.
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
Akron, OH - Sequim, WA - Claremont, CA - Santa Barbara, CA - Mountain View, CA - San Jose, CA
Links
Other profiles
Contributor to

Stream

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
 
Oracle attorney: "...you can kiss GPL goodbye... You should have been on Oracle's side in this fight. Free stuff from Google does not mean free in the sense Richard Stallman ever intended it."
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/05/op-ed-oracle-attorney-says-googles-court-victory-might-kill-the-gpl/

Official statement two years ago from the Free Software Foundation: "The FSF now sincerely hopes for the next best thing to Alsup's original ruling: that Google is successful in its fair use defense."
https://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/fsf-statement-on-court-of-appeals-ruling-in-oracle-v-google

I will leave it to you to decide which party is likely to know more about Stallman and the GPL.
38
2
Greg Miernicki's profile photoMichael Rothwell's profile photoPeter Kasting's profile photoJonathan Kerls's profile photo
6 comments
 
Yeah. The quality of their hard science coverage (physics, astronomy) is still pretty good, but in virtually every other are I'm left wishing there was a better alternative.
Add a comment...

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
 
Pointless language pet peeve of the day: "I graduated high school".

I think you dropped a preposition. You mean you graduated from high school. To me, saying you "graduated high school" means you marked off a set of regular divisions on your school.

I realize that some dictionaries now consider this preposition-less usage to be informally correct, but it still bugs me every time. It sounds just as bad to me as "me speak English".
14
Tobias Thierer's profile photoLisa Borel's profile photoPeter Kasting's profile photoPhistucK Productions's profile photo
14 comments
 
+Peter Kasting - well, I think the fact that you repeated only shows even more that it is a real pet peeve.
Add a comment...

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
 
Problem: Many EU countries have asinine laws governing local entities. This results in a competitive disadvantage against entities not covered by those laws.

Solution: Apply asinine laws to the other countries as well to drag everyone down to the same level of suck.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/26/technology/eu-proposals-apple-netflix-facebook.html
As part of efforts to create a digital single market for online services, the region wants to create rules that would affect companies like Netflix and Facebook.
18
2
Lisa Borel's profile photoKurleigh Martin's profile photoGregory P. Smith's profile photoOndřej Pokorný's profile photo
6 comments
 
As far as I know, there are no such rules for local streaming services. (Not that there are any worth mentioning.) EU officials confuse streaming service for their public broadcasters for some reason.
They are just pissed Europeans have 10 % of the Netflix content US have, mostly even without local subtitles and most of it is Hollywood production. Europe is anxious about it's culture and languages. (See immigration "crisis".)

Oh and BTW, Apple dominates exactly nothing in Europe. Especially in the online digital space. It's Google.
Add a comment...

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
 
I'm impressed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ9gs-5lRKc

The creator notes that due to space and reproducibility concerns this was not all done in one take but was pieced together over time, but it's still super cool.
30
24
Lucas Laws's profile photoMichael-Rainabba Richardson's profile photo
2 comments
 
Very cool!
Add a comment...

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
 
The award for most needlessly snide and condescending article of the week goes to http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/04/even-at-1-0-vivaldi-closes-in-on-the-cure-for-the-common-browser .

This article contains all sorts of cheap shots at other browsers, their developers, and their users, most of which seem bereft of any backing understanding as to why browsers of today do what they do, or even of what they do to begin with (witness the author saying that all non-Vivaldi browsers are indistinguishable, something both web developers and many users would find plenty of reason to contest). Likewise, it makes a variety of assertions (e.g. how Vivaldi will let you "do more" with the web, or how its "innovative new features" are sure to end up in other browsers, despite the fact that most of what Vivaldi is doing was experimented with, and rejected, long ago by said browsers) without actually substantiating them in any way.

There's clearly no interest in research, detail, clarity, educating readers, or any of the other hallmarks of, you know, actual journalism. Instead the author is content to write the same kind of fanboyesque drivel that talentless hacks all over the blogosphere churn out every day.

Don't get me wrong: there's an audience for Vivaldi, its 1.0 release is worth covering, and there is a whole world of nifty stories about why different browsers do what they do. Ars could have run some great articles on any of this stuff.

Instead it gives us this.

Pathetic.
Review: Ultra customization, clever tab management breaks from Chrome, Firefox.
17
1
Malthe Høj-Sunesen's profile photoPeter Kasting's profile photoGarry Boyer's profile photoGerald Cox's profile photo
8 comments
 
I couldn't get past the hyperbole of the first paragraph: "... but Firefox, Chrome, and even Opera are indistinguishable both in appearance and features available." Really? Once I read a statement like that it automatically raises by BS shields. Nothing wrong with a new browser... but if the author of the article wanted to appeal to people with half a brain, this wasn't it. Unfortunately articles of this pedigree are becoming the norm, not the exception.
Add a comment...

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
 
The world would have been a lot better off had this happened ten years ago.

http://recode.net/2016/04/22/microsoft-google-agree-to-stop-complaining-to-regulators-about-each-other/

Microsoft has pulled out of two groups seeking antitrust action over search, but the software maker says it isn’t taking a position for or against the current actions by the EU.
20
2
pawan nimje's profile photoGreg Miernicki's profile photoWarren Rehman's profile photoPeter Kasting's profile photo
6 comments
 
+Edouard Tavinor Yes. A ton. I honestly think Google's complaints about Microsoft have done more damage so far than Microsoft's complaints about Google.
Add a comment...
Have him in circles
5,105 people
kawsar yusuf's profile photo
Booking Cat Ba Hotel's profile photo
Apurba Biswas's profile photo
Frank M. Palinkas's profile photo
Facebook Friends Statistics's profile photo
Lee Jackson's profile photo
Trang Tran's profile photo
Jeff Zellar's profile photo
Sarah Eric's profile photo

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
Buy The Bobs by Gregory Classics as a matted print, mounted print, canvas print, framed print, or art prints
6
1
Add a comment...

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
38
2
Gerald Cox's profile photoStephen Shankland's profile photoX Rellix's profile photoPeter Frandsen's profile photo
8 comments
 
Great news though Oracle will not let it go - hope they crash and burn ;-)
Add a comment...

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
 
It's nice to see someone finally get it right regarding Android and CrOS: the two are gaining things from each other, they're not merging.

http://www.computerworld.com/article/3072645/android/android-chrome-os-merger.html
You want an Android-Chrome OS merger? Here's your Android-Chrome OS merger. It just might not look the way you were expecting.
28
4
Paul Swanson's profile photoBogdan Zurac's profile photoGreg Miernicki's profile photoTrever Nightingale's profile photo
6 comments
 
Chrome OS is gaining herpes? That was the beauty of Chrome OS- simple, pure and secure. Glad I can opt out of Android via a setting but the choice of words in one io presentation made it sound like some day all Chrome OS machines will blister- the setting will go away. I hope not.
Add a comment...

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
 
A well-intentioned but misguided article that seeks to improve Google Maps.

http://www.justinobeirne.com/essay/what-happened-to-google-maps

In the name of "balance" the author strives to create a map that, IMO, would work really well as a large-format paper map that you'd pore over for several minutes to manually plan a route on. However, I believe the map would be an utter failure for navigation-at-a-glance in a car, which is by far the important use case for Google Maps.

It's actually kind of surprising to me that the guy here clearly has some design knowledge -- he is at in touch enough to quote Tufte -- and yet doesn't seem to understand the importance of choosing your audience and your use case.

Design is about tradeoffs. One thing is not going to serve every need of every person well, and trying to do so results in a mediocre product that doesn't do anything outstandingly. It's important to define whom you're serving, what they need, and how you'll help them.

Apple is my go-to example of this. I actually hate pretty much all Apple products at this point. They seem to have a knack for aiming at an audience I'm not in. But that doesn't mean the products are bad. (Well, the software products are pretty bad, at this point. Apple lost its way some twenty-five years ago when it came to software and has never regained it.) The (hardware) products are generally very well-designed. They know the audience they're aiming for, and they build for that audience.

Chrome aspires to be similar. We intentionally refuse a lot of feature requests that we know would make certain people happy because we believe the tradeoffs are not appropriate for the design goals we have and the audience we aim at. We may be wrong, but we at least usually have an idea of who something is designed for, what it's trying to do, what use case it's solving.

I see little evidence of that in this article. The whole thing is written from some sort of abstract perspective on "balance" in design, without justification as to what this balance achieves. The author talks about how the product he designs is more "useful" but doesn't clarify how it's useful, and more importantly, doesn't take a skeptical look at his own design to ask what it does less well than what it replaces.

...Because of course it's very rare that something is just monotonically better in every way. Usually you give up something to get something else. An important part of designing something is to understand what you're giving up, to be frank about what your design doesn't do well, what use cases and users it does not serve. To return to Chrome, one group we just don't serve well today are people who open many dozens of tabs to read later. We're improving that in a number of ways (e.g. auto tab discarding/not loading tabs when the system goes into resource contention), but it's simply a fact that this isn't an audience we're perfect for.

So what cases does the redesign here not serve? ...Is a question I never see asked in the article. And the author would have done well to ask it IMO, because to me the tradeoff between labels in the 2010 map and road squiggles in the 2016 map is a clear decision to aid instant visual parsing. It is much more mentally complicated to scan a screen full of textual labels than one full of connected lines. If you have a quarter of a second to look at the screen and get a general idea of how to get where you want to go, the 2016 map is simply far superior; and if it doesn't show what you need textually you can always search to get more detail.

Even the additional roads (instead of just removing cities and adding nothing to replace them) are somewhat useful. Knowing at a glance that a particular area is road-dense vs. road-sparse helps you to know whether you need to make decisions sooner versus later about which roads to follow; it tells you how many options you'll have in the future, without costing much in terms of cognitive overhead.

By contrast, the redesigned map put forward in this article removes these roads, and adds both tons of textual labels and tons of graphical + numerical badges, both of which have much higher mental parsing overhead. If you're sitting at a table planning a route with your atlas, as many people did ten years ago, this would be perfectly reasonable. On a phone in your car? No.

There's one more comparison to Chrome I'll give here, since it relates to the omnibox, meaning I have particular insight there :). The Chrome omnibox is very sparse in how it presents information. Except for the fairly recent addition of "answers in suggest" (the feature that shows you e.g. weather inline in the dropdown), things use just one font face and size, a minimum of colors and styles, and (on desktop) just one line of text per row.

By contrast, Firefox' dropdown has long used tons of markup: favicons and other icons, multiple lines of text with different font sizes, numerous font styles, etc.

Neither of these is wrong. They're optimized for different cases. Chrome's dropdown is designed to avoid mental distraction as you type. It wants to not draw your eye; it aims to promote speed-of-interaction in the general case when you're typing something and know where you're trying to get to.

Firefox' dropdown is aimed at maximum information density for the case when you don't quite know where you're trying to get to, and are looking to recall a prior page. If you're taking the time to scan the dropdown, these pieces of info help you better find what you're looking for.

I built the Chrome UI as I did because I was consciously aiming to improve what I saw as the common case at the expense of the uncommon case, even though that improvement would generally be below the level of conscious recognition by most users. In the years since, we've made some changes -- we've significantly improved our handling of a number of inputs where Firefox used to beat us in result quality, for example -- but the general design philosophy has stuck.

I get occasional mail from users unhappy with this. And I sympathize with them. I am under no illusion that Chrome's UI is always best. But finding cases where it's worse does not mean we would necessarily do well to change to address those cases better.

Hopefully at some point the author of this article will approach this and other design questions from a similar perspective, and frame his argument not only in terms of what he thinks is good, but with detail and nuance about who he's serving how and why. If so, I'm sure the designs he creates will be the stronger for it.
Surprising Changes to Google Maps's Cartography Browsing Google Maps over the past year or so, I've often thought that there are fewer labels than there used to be. Google's cartography was revamped three years ago – but surely this didn't include a reduction in labels? Rather, the sparser maps appear to be a recent development. A few days ago, I was looking at some screenshots I used for a post in April 2010. I've posted one of tho...
48
4
David Mihm's profile photoJim Dantin's profile photoJames Cridland's profile photoPeter Kasting's profile photo
17 comments
 
+Jim Dantin I have nothing to do with the Maps team, so no, I can't comment.
Add a comment...

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
 
I don't know whether universal basic income would work or not, but I think it's promising enough to be worth spending significant money on studying.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/universal-basic-income/

In particular, Give Directly's results in Africa, which I've been aware of for some time, make the case that such a program could have significant positive outcomes. This article also mentions some other experiments I wasn't aware of (e.g. MINCOME).

I find that many people, even those with a strong commitment to helping the poor, find the idea of a universal guaranteed income repulsive. Instinctively, it seems like it should be a disincentive to work, an unneeded largesse for those not in poverty, and in some way fundamentally "unfair". Many people, going off "If a man shall not work, he shall not eat," feel that it's important that there be some sort of social contract that "society will give you a helping hand, but only if you're willing to put in the effort for it".

But I'm more concerned with outcomes than with our instincts as to what's fair. Given our existing data, we don't know for sure what the outcome of this program would be, which is why I'm not suggesting we simply roll it out everywhere. But as the article notes, it's quite possible that the outcomes will not, in fact, be a dramatic decline in working, but instead improvements in such areas as health and education. These are areas of major concern for any society, and things we spend a tremendous amount of money trying to improve or guarantee today. It's simply good sense to examine alternatives that have any promise of improving the existing system.

I see parallels to drug policy here. In both cases, a strong emotional sentiment about how people should live (work hard; don't do drugs) drives us to try to enshrine that sentiment in policy. But certainly with the case of the drug war, and possibly in the case of the fight against poverty, the result is that we choose policies that feel right but in fact make the world worse overall, or at the very least worse than it could be with alternate policies. I don't support e.g. marijuana legalization because I think people who smoke pot are better off; I do so because I think the result will be a significant reduction in overall crime, a lessening of the power of gangs, and an improvement in the outcomes for inner-city young black men, which should have ripple effects in poverty, education, etc.

So in this case as well, I urge others to be open to proposals that may initially sound silly or unfair, at least long enough for us to get enough data to be sure about whether they're good ideas. By all means, continue to support policies based on your principles; but make sure you're considering the totality of all the principles you hold dear, and how they're upheld across society as a whole, rather than looking myopically at one facet of an issue. Because that's the best way, in the end, for us to move towards a better world.
Daniel Straub remembers the night he got hooked on basic income. He had invited Götz Werner, a billionaire owner of a German drugstore chain, to give an independent talk in Zurich, where Straub was…
8
1
David Levin's profile photoIan Hickson's profile photoTerry Knight's profile photoPeter Kasting's profile photo
6 comments
 
FWIW, I think the automation angle is mostly a red herring.  I don't think automation will dramatically lower the total number of jobs.  I think it will act similarly to other workforce transformations in the past (e.g. industrialization) in that the balance of jobs will shift significantly, but the overall number will continue to increase.  There is plenty of stuff that we could be doing that we aren't today, which potentially automation could free people up to do.  To me, the folks who think automation will leave most people without jobs are being extremely unimaginative and simply assuming that automation will replace human labor but the overall balance of automated + manual labor will be allocated the same as today.
Add a comment...

Peter Kasting

Shared publicly  - 
 
Hilde Lysiak is awesome. People who comment on Facebook and Youtube, unfortunately, are crappy. (Big surprise.)

http://cdanews.com/2016/04/a-9-year-old-pennsylvania-reporter-told-to-play-with-dolls/

I suspect there's a sexist angle in here as well: I bet a 9-year-old boy reporter would not be told to "go play with dolls" but would receive a much more consistent "wow, what a little go-getter!" and the like.

If you ever find yourself violating any of these, please stop what you're doing immediately:
* Discouraging kids from pursuing their dreams
* Dismissing people's actions because of their personal characteristics
* Leaving nasty comments on the internet for no other reason than to be a jerk

Kindly don't make the world actively worse. Thank you.
What started as a family newspaper written in crayons in a Pennsylvania home has caused 9-year-old Hilde Kate Lysiak to receive a lot of flack recently for a news event she covered earlier this mon…
10
Peter Kasting's profile photoMatthew Garbett's profile photoJoel Webber's profile photo
5 comments
 
Observing a crime scene in your own neighborhood from the outside is hardly the same as traipsing through the middle of one. There's no evidence of the police having any problems with this girl's actions.
Add a comment...
Peter Kasting's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
The Greatness of Ron Paul
www.theatlantic.com

By introducing moral imagination to the foreign-policy conversation, the Republican candidate is doing the nation an important service.

Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
31 reviews
Map
Map
Map
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago