TechhrunchIT has an interesting story about how companies that Google acquires generally do not do well. This is not unique to Google of course but the problem engineers face is dealing with the proprietary interfaces Google uses such as BigTable and MapReduce. These and other programming interfaces allow a typical application to be clustered and distributed making it more resilient and scalable.
According to the article, it can take six months for an engineer to learn these interfaces and as you can imagine this programming knowledge is of little use outside Google.
The article points out that some of the best programmers are currently working for Google but what it doesn’t mention is the fact that Google could easily open up these APIs and sell cloud computing services like Amazon. With so many programmers already familiar with these interfaces, one wonders if there isn’t hidden gold in doing so.
Disclosure: The author owns Google shares.