Igor Benko is a senior engineering manager at Google. His career has spanned research, hands-on software development, and leading software engineering teams. Igor obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and a Master’s and a PhD from the University of Waterloo, Canada. His academic research was in concurrency, from low-level process coordination algorithms to an algebra for concurrent processes. As a researcher at Sun Labs Igor worked on new inherently parallel processor architectures, he modeled protocols for networks on chip, and parallelized modeling of growth of snow crystals. At Agfa-Gevaert, Igor was responsible for development of a PACS, a system for processing, accessing, and archiving medical images. At SkyGrid, Igor led development of a real-time search for news. At Google, Igor was the engineering lead for Google Play Music store. He led development of My Maps, allowing a user to create their own map on top of Google Maps. Currently, Igor is working on introducing interactive features into Google Search, and for expanding Google Search with new types of data.
Keynote Title: Making your users and you tick
A successful system delights its users, makers, and operators. Making such a system requires melding of different disciplines, practices, a good timing, perseverance, social responsibility, risk management, and some luck. The challenge amplifies when the system targets users across continents and vastly different cultures. In this talk we will illustrate some of the challenges with lessons from Google Search and Google Maps. In particular, we will look into features that help connecting people and that help connect people to the issues they care about. As examples we will use My Maps that connect people over social issues. We will also look at experimental features in Google Search where we enabled interactions between people and cultural moments, and where we enabled American presidential candidates post content directly to Google Search.