Meet the woman who is quietly responsible for everything at Google

Business Insider Contributor
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Google is a reliable daily companion for most of us. That’s in large part thanks to Melody Meckfessel, director of engineering.

She is responsible for the group that builds Google’s internal software development tools. That’s what all the other Google engineers use to create, manage and improve Google’s services, from Apps to search

“If these systems don’t work, then Google doesn’t work,” she told Wired’s Cade Metz.

Meckfessel is a nearly nine-year Google veteran, according to her LinkedIn profile. But hse hasn’t gotten the media attention of other women Googlers, like ex-Googler and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer or the leader of the  ad business, Susan Wojcicki.

Yet the over ten thousand engineers employed by Google couldn’t do their jobs without her work.

The tools her team creates for Google are:

… secret. Any programmer at Google can use them, but even though Google has shared more than 900 developer tools with the world, it keeps these for internal use only.

… fast. They can “compile” millions of lines of code in less than 30 seconds. To compile code means taking a file written by a human and translating it into something a machine can read. A million lines of code can easily take a couple of hours to compile on a typical developer’s computer.

… huge. Every minute of the day, Google engineers are making 25 to 30 “code submissions” as Meckfessel calls them. That means they are changing the software used in Google’s products. These engineers then run millions of tests every day to make sure those changes didn’t break anything.

All of that is under Meckfessel’s domain.

And, when Meckfessel isn’t making Google run flawlessly, she’s making wine. She works part-time for a small winery in Northern California’s wine country, Metz says. Because nothing goes better with a million lines of code than a great Chardonnay.

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