One of the members of Google’s Wave team left Google and explained why in a blog post. One of most curious statements he makes is “Google’s vaunted scalable software infrastructure is obsolete.” He doesn’t say why or give any proof as to why he thought that or than “the software stack on top of it is 10 years old, aging and designed for building search engines and crawlers”. I assume he might mean that things are still being run on the Linux 2.4 kernel amongst other older software.
If that is the case, Google’s war with Facebook for users could be brought down by aging technology. Any company that is tied to the 2.4 kernel and has not updated will tell you their worries about being left behind. Management doesn’t understand the absolute necessity keeping your stack current. A progressive technology stack update will be less painful over time than huge jumps. If you don’t keep current, you find yourself with the daunting task of trying to update 10 year old source code.