When I looked at my logs today I saw my traffic blowing up (for little old me). News has broken of Google's Seattle office and a Google search for "Google Seattle office" turns up my post from over a month ago as the third result.
Hmm . . . who else is writing about it today I wondered? Poking around I ran into Web 2.0 impresario John Batelle talking it up on his blog with new speculation that MSFT will be opening a Silicon Valley office soon.
As far as I know, news of the Seattle area office first slipped into the blogosphere when Joe Beda's resignation broke and Joe let slip that he returned from Google HQ to get started working in the Seattle area. But the history of the Google Seattle/Kirkland development center is even murkier (and more interesting) if one digs into the whole Westside/Bosworth connection. I'd expect Batelle to track this stuff down, instead he parrots John Doerr pooh-poohing the gBrowser.
And what of MSFT moving into the valley, as Battelle suggests? That of course happened quite a while ago as well. MSFT has over 1,200 employees at the Silicon Valley campus. MSR and MSN both already have operations in the valley and their are publicly available descriptions of some of their Search projects online, such as MSRbot and PageTurner. There are a number of MSR search luminaries in the valley like Mark Najork, Michael Isard, and Mark Manesse, who came over from the Systems Research Center as it changed hands from Digital, then Compaq and finally HP, as well as new turks like Dennis Fetterly and Frank McSherry. The MSFT operations in the valley are actually pretty extensive, as detailed in this (curiously up to date) list of operations and includes 2 research centers, the Hotmail team and the Emerging Business team which is in charge of promoting "Microsoft's next-generation Internet platform, Microsoft .NET". The small Lookout presence and the much larger operations centers add more girth to the MSFT presence in the valley.
For someone pounding the search beat as hard as Mr Batelle, he seems to call out old news as the new news pretty often. He did the same thing back in July when he hypothesized that "subscriptions" would be the next thing for Google when they'd been talking up that idea for over three years.