In June 2005 several photos were posted on Flickr of the Google Master Plan - a humorous whiteboard at Google headquarters with a humorous flowchart-style outline of developments towards world domination, with some credible entries (”hiring” “portal”) some controversial ones (”Google OS” “programming language”) and some ridiculous (”Develop A. Develop I. Develop A.I.”).

All the photos had notes attached. In Flickr the “add note” feature allows viewers to annotate the photo with floating boxes of additional text. There is even a heavily-annotated photo pool for images with particularly dense commentary boxes.

What is particularly interesting in this case is that a layer of floating character-based text boxes begins to intersect and interact with the pixel-based textual arrangements of the flowchart-diagram photo. What makes the interplay even funnier is the way that “Google’s Master Plan” anticipates and invites certain kinds of comments, playing with buzz like a stand-up comedian playing to a crowd.

4 Responses to “Google's Master Plan (via Flickr)”

  1. 1 steve jurvetson

    very interesting observation…. A lot of people have blogged this photo, but your comments really stand out.

    I’ve also found some people have republished my photo without attribution (e.g., in a Argentina newspaper). And some of those made it back to flickr. Do you know if someone else posted original shots of the master plan?

  2. 2 Jeremy Douglass


    Yours is the only one I’ve seen actually - I came across it directly while reading the entire “heavily-annotated” pool looking for examples of interesting annotation - the “several photos” I mention above were your series of three.

    Although I hadn’t noticed until now that it was the same author, I’ll be discussing another another (attributed) photo of yours from the heavily-annotated pool this Wednesday - faux box.

  3. 3 Nrw

    It´s quite amazing, nothing more….
    I can´t believe it´s true!

  1. 1 WRT: Writer Response Theory » Blog Archive » Flowchart Art and Comics

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