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Verified name
Joseph Smarr
Works at Google
Attended Stanford University
Lives in Half Moon Bay, CA
71,175 followers|5,397,212 views
AboutPostsPhotosReviews
Education
  • Stanford University
    Symbolic Systems (MS), 2002 - 2003
  • Stanford University
    Symbolic Systems, 1998 - 2002
  • University Laboratory High School
    1993 - 1998
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Relationship
Married
Apps with Google+ Sign-in
  • 8 Ball Pool
Story
Introduction
Engineer at Google. Opening up the Social Web.
Bragging rights
I can code circles around you. (Get it??)
Work
Occupation
Member of Technical Staff
Employment
  • Google
    Member of Technical Staff, 2010 - present
  • Plaxo
    CTO (among other things), 2002 - 2009
  • MedExpert
    2000 - 2002
  • WebEx
    1999 - 2000
  • Sigma Digital Design
    1996 - 1998
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Half Moon Bay, CA
Previously
Urbana, IL - Stanford, CA - Los Altos, CA - San Jose, CA - Stabbiano, Italy

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Joseph Smarr

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We first launched Google+ four years ago today--it feels like both an eternity and the blink of an eye. Re-reading the comments on my first post, I'm struck by how genuinely excited everyone was. We've had our share of ups and downs since then, but I'm still proud of that initial version!
 
Welcome everyone to Google+. I've poured my heart and soul into this project for the past year+, focusing especially the circles and sharing model (and UI). I truly believe that online sharing can be made better, and it starts with giving you more control over how you connect to people. Please send me any and all feedback you have--this is just the beginning, and we won't stop until it really works as well as real-world sharing should!
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Have I been using G+ almost daily for four years?! How time flies. Keep up the good work Google Plus :)
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Joseph Smarr

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Vintage +Sean Parker​. Love the way he frames the opportunity for self-made wealthy hackers entering the world of philanthropy, and of course he's leading by example. Hope his advice and trail-blazing help more successful techies figure out how to have a broader impact in their lifetimes!
Today’s young Internet barons should use the talents that made them rich to transform the world of giving
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I was similarly skeptical when the Gates started their foundation, and they have turned out to be the greatest philanthropists in history.
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Joseph Smarr

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So impressive. Truly autonomous driving is all about avoiding the "long tail" of unexpected/dangerous driving conditions, so there's no shortcut but to drive a ton if you want to see enough of them. No one has the accrued database of real world traffic events that this team does.
 
Last week, we crossed the million mile mark for our project.  Our software has now self-driven the equivalent of 75 years of typical U.S. adult driving!  Along the way, we’ve navigated more than 200,000 stop signs, 600,000 traffic lights, and seen 180 million vehicles—with several thousand traffic cones, some fluttering plastic shopping bags, and a rogue duck thrown in for good measure.  

We’ve come a long way since +Larry Page first challenged us to demonstrate that self-driving technology had long-term potential. Back in 2009, he gave us two audacious goals. The first was to drive 100,000 miles on public roads; in 2009, this was about 10x more miles than had ever been completed by any autonomous driving team.  The second was to drive 10 sets of 100 interesting miles—well known California routes that included crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, navigating the curves of Lombard Street in San Francisco, and traversing the 200+ traffic lights of major boulevard El Camino Real.  We met those early goals, but it was hard to imagine we’d ever cruise the boulevards of Mountain View, California, as smoothly as we do today.  We’re taking this million mile milestone as further proof that fully self-driving vehicles will become a reality, and we’re looking forward to finding out where the next million miles will take us.  
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The Seattle area is spending a ton of money on light rail, bus rapid transit, and better bike/pedestrian paths.
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Joseph Smarr

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"I was blown away ... by a "Story" (as Google calls it) of a recent family holiday in Spain, complete with timeline, photos, videos, animated maps, and specific hotels, restaurants, beaches, and museums we visited. Mind you, I didn’t have to do a thing. What would have taken me hours to build was done automatically by Google’s impressive neural network operating in the background."

It's not all neural networks (plenty of hand-tuned rules too!) but I'm glad we're surprising and delighting! :)
As unofficial corporate mottos go, "Surprise & Delight" is to Apple as "Don’t be Evil" is to Google. Apple cites the phrase regularly at earnings calls, company emails, and most prominently in...
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+Paolo Amoroso​ that's very true! A lot of our "artificial intelligence" comes from codifying our natural intelligence, which itself is trained on data doing "back propagation" by seeing when our rules do the wrong thing for some stories and then adjusting them to make them work better. :)
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Joseph Smarr

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Stories is a proud part of the "magic" in the new Google Photos app. We've also made some improvements, including our most requested feature--the ability to manually create stories from an arbitrary set of photos!

If you're new to stories, I hope you'll find they're a great way to effortlessly capture, relive, and share the important moments in your life. And if you're a long-time G+ stories user, remember that once you start using Google Photos, new stories will be delivered via your photos assistant--just tap "Save" to add them to your library.
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You can remove photos from a cluster via the overflow menu I believe. But I think there's more to be done there... :)
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Joseph Smarr

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Never thought I'd see statistical NLP applied to emoji. Then again, I never thought emoji would grow to be so widely used. Love the analysis here!
🆒🆕In October 2011, Apple added the emoji keyboard to iOS as an international keyboard. Since then, digital language has evolved such that nearly half of comments and captions on Instagram contain...
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😍
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Joseph Smarr

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I'm impressed that Google just published such a detailed explanation of one of their crown jewels internally. Definitely worth a look if you're curious how we dispatch and manage jobs across all of our data centers and machines.
 
So many folks have asked me over the years "what do you do at Google?"  I often have to just shrug my shoulders.

Well, the group I worked with (prior to my current team) has published a paper:  I used to be manager of the Borgmaster team.  What's a Borgmaster?  Read the paper.  :-)
Venue. Proceedings of the European Conference on Computer Systems (EuroSys), ACM, Bordeaux, France (2015). Publication Year. 2015. Authors. Abhishek Verma, Luis Pedrosa, Madhukar R. Korupolu, David Oppenheimer, Eric Tune, John Wilkes. BibTeX. @inproceedings{43438, title = {Large-scale cluster ...
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Joseph Smarr

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Wow, this is easily the best thing I've read in ages. I'd never heard of the "Wait but why" blog, but apparently it has a cult following, and I now see why. It's long but so informative and entertaining the whole way through.

He breaks down the fundamental science and socio-politics of global energy consumption, then the transportation industry, and against that backdrop discusses Tesla's innovation and why he's come to the conclusion that we're indeed watching a historic revolution unfold. It's neither too technical nor fan-boy-ish to limit its appeal, but it's obviously the result of intensive research and synthesis, and is written in a serious yet down to earth and slightly sardonic style that leaves me (and many others, judging from the comments) thinking "damn, I wish more of my professors had been like this!"

h/t +Matt Mullenweg​​ (who not only helps build software to make great blogs but constantly seems to find and share them)
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Good reading is the best
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Joseph Smarr

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This new biography of +Elon Musk​​ is terrific! My main takeaway was how utterly improbable the success of SpaceX and Tesla both were, not only at the outset, but throughout most of the companies' existences. Elon defied the odds through a heroic mix of vision, determination, slogging, attracting amazing people, and of course luck.

Despite having followed Elon and his companies quite closely for years, I learned a ton and really enjoyed reading this.
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This just came out, and I'm pretty sure it's the first/only one Elon has cooperated with. :)
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Joseph Smarr

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This is one of the biggest and most important changes I've witnessed inside Google in my 5+ years there. I've personally watched everyone mentioned in this article--especially my good friend +Brett Lider​--go from being frustrated outsiders when I joined to firmly in the driver's seat now. And the results speak for themselves.

When I first stated working on circles with +Andy Hertzfeld​, he lamented that his previous attempts to use animation in UI at Google were smacked down for "wasting time". We pushed the envelope despite internal pressure to the contrary, but with the success of material design, it's clear the rules have now changed for good.

As an engineer who believes in the power of good design, I couldn't be happier.
Googles transformation into a company that creates beautiful software is the story of how tech itself has evolved in the mobile era.
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having a 13yr old tell me this weekend about how awesome google+ photos are and getting silona as my page name has brought me back...
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Joseph Smarr

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Wow, can't believe it's been a year since we launched stories to the world! The amount of love and excitement we've received from users since then has been truly humbling.

We've done a lot to improve the quality and speed/reliability of stories since then, and we've got more big things in the works, so thanks for all your continued feedback and support, and may you continue to have story-worthy adventures! :)
 
I’m super excited to share the launch of Google+ Stories with you today! I hope it’ll make it easier and more fun to share your life’s adventures. :) Read all about it on the Official Google Blog: http://goo.gl/JGgzil

Here’s one of my own stories from last year. It has sentimental value to me not only because it was a fun weekend getaway with my wife, but also because it was one of the first stories our team used to develop the stories algorithms and layout. I love how it captures those memories.

#googleplusupdate
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True we don't yet support manual creations on the web, just Android and iOS.
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Only Elon can make home utility backup sexy. And he does! :)
 
Incredibly inspiring. So worth 20 minutes of your time. I've already ordered mine. Elon has the amazing ability to make things happen. He doesn't just dream, he executes and delivers against his ideas. That's inspiring.

www.theverge.com/2015/5/1/8527543/elon-musk-tesla-battery-feels
I've watched a lot of handsomely paid CEOs get on stages for keynote presentations over the past decade, and none were as good as the one I saw Elon Musk give Thursday night in California as he...
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One of my favorite spots to get a great latte in Cambridge, esp. near Kendall Square. Service is quick and the baristas know what they're doing.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Amazing chocolate, yummy pastries and hot chocolate, and so cool to see the factory humming right next to the cafe seating.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Wonderful little gourmet artisan coffee shop. Best coffee and espresso drinks around, with friendly and passionate service to match. We come here every morning when we're staying in Wailea, and we look forward to it each time. They source and roast their own beans, and the care they take in brewing and presenting their drinks reminds me of the best places I've been to in San Francisco. They also sell bags of some of the best quality 100% Kona Coffee you can find anywhere (which they can also brew for you in a French Press). Highly recommended for anyone who loves great coffee or lattes.
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Food: ExcellentDecor: Very GoodService: Excellent
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
96 reviews
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Yum! Food was great, service was helpful and prompt, and the space is beautiful. Definitely a great choice if you're near The Fillmore!
Food: Very GoodDecor: Very GoodService: Very Good
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
K&L is amazing if you're into wine (or spirits). They have a great selection of wines (both domestic an international, esp. French) that they've hand-picked and in many cases directly imported, and their staff (and website) are super helpful too. I buy a ton of stuff from them, and I don't know of any other place that does what they do. Highly recommended!
Quality: ExcellentAppeal: ExcellentService: Excellent
Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago