This book not only tells the story of Google the writing seems to capture and convey the mood and sentiment of those portrayed as well. I liked the reading as well and felt entertained as well as educated. I learned a lot about the high tech world that I was unaware of, as well as quite a bit about Google, Apple, and corporate culture. A good book all in all and I have already recommended it to friends.
I got this book because it was mentioned on TWiT by one of the people participating in the show. Its a great background story of what really took to get Google going. It also goes in depth as to how other companies finally realized the threat they've become and what they did to get rid of them. This book explains how Google came up with all their products ideas and an in-depth look at how some of them got them in trouble. Unlike Facebook Google can't make changes without everyone saying 'Your being Evil' and violating 'Don't be Evil' the companies motto. Facebook can suddenly make all their people's private data public and says, 'We're sorry.' Then change it back. Google faces 'News media' for months and lawyers because it could be a violation of 'Users Rights'. I found this book great for the background story and a rare look behind the scenes and why they keep, so much information secret.
I heard great reviews about this book - but I was overly impressed with the storytelling as well as the research behind this extensive telling of insight into one of the greatest companies of our time.
Fascinating narration of how a tiny startup has become the giant who controls all the content on the internet. A gigantic data gathering monster who by now, knows more about you than your wife.
The author has tried to make Google the hero and paint all other corporations as evil. The character assignation of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates etc. was unnecessary and hints the fact that the author is either biased or was tasked with throwing dirt on the other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs while glorifying Page and Brin.
The part where the author downplays Google’s war driving expedition during the Google street view project as just ‘an act of a rouge engineer’ is interesting. Earlier in the book the author describes the practice of peer-review of the code written by every engineer but doesn’t explain how this data capture code could have gone unnoticed. He also doesn’t make an effort to explain how the Google engineers didn’t notice the huge amount of disk space being consumed from by the street view data collection. They would have done a storage sizing for the Street View project. If the space for the wireless grabs for 3 years was not considered, won’t they have run out of space in few months!!!
The project was slurping personal data from private Wi-Fi networks for three years before it was identified. More than 12 countries ordered investigations against Google.
If the bias and an attempt to glorify Google are ignored, the book is an interesting read, especially to the technically inclined. A motivating saga of how innovation and aspirations of few engineers has created a corporation which has changed the way we work, think and live.
The author apparently had access to many people inside Google including several in top management.
It is interesting to hear how they think and function and the personalities and objectives of the two founders.
It is unfortunate that some of our public institutions are not so rational and data driven.
The objective of the founders appears to be to alter the world and this they have done, but they are clearly not finished. Read the book to discover some of the projects that they pursue principally for the benefits to society which may never benefit their company.
If you are a geek it is a 'must read'. If you are an investor you should read the book to understand what drives the company in which you have invested your money.
It is perhaps the best -non technical - book on current technology.
I enjoy technology and learning about how innovations made it from concept to full integration. For the longest time Google did a great job hiding their internal workings. Now it's possible to catch up on all that happened behind the curtain. This book not only tells the story of each of the key Google people, but also tells the story of how their ideas were implemented. It goes into great depth about Google's corporate culture and how it fostered so many changes in the IT industry.
If you're looking for a book on Google or even just to learn more about how the internet has developed, you can't go wrong with this book.
A must read if you want to understand how Google works, the value of data on the web, and the current state of business on the internet.
I was surprised at how interesting the story of Google was. It made me ponder some of the underlying factors that made Larry & Sergei succeed, such as their Montessori education. The approach to data mining is fascinating for most anyone interested in improving their business. I was familiar with Schmidt from his Novell days and so it was good to see where he fit in.
Understanding some of the Google functionality and excellence that I had taken for granted. Getting a feel for the Google 'culture' was helpful for me too.
Reading about the Google experience in China.
I guess anyone who wrote an entire book about the iPod was always going to be a bit fanatical, but this would have made Page and Brin nauseous. Steven Levy pumps up everyone even remotely related to Google so much that his ability to be objective on the points of actual interest has to be questioned. Continuously referring to the super intellect of everyone from Google detracts from the real subject matter to the great detriment of the book. Levy seems to imply these people are infallibly intelligent, so anything they say is both automatically correct and beyond our comprehension.
As an example, Levy clearly implies it took the genius of Googler Hal Varian to fuse the disciplines of Economics and Statistics to invent the field of Econometrics. Having not bothered to do so little as a Google search, Levy just assumes that Googlers invent whole new fields of human endeavor during their lunch breaks (never mind the term itself has been in use for over 100 years now) and that we should just be in awe of them. [Having studied Econometrics more than 20 years ago, this particularly stuck in my craw, and made me wonder what else was poorly researched and portrayed in an undeservedly good light.]
Two things I concluded from the book: firstly, Stanford allowed it's resources and intellectual property to be begged, borrowed and stolen to create a multi billion dollar enterprise, and seems to have little or nothing to show for it. This did not rate a mention in the book, but surely is a matter worthy of some discussion. Secondly, I listened to this book as I had believed that unlike some other IT industry giants, Google hadn't behaved too badly. Unfortunately after listening to this I no longer feel that way - not because the book is filled with evidence of wrong doing, but because it is so one sided it forces the reader to take an opposing stance just to bring some balance.
The book is far too long for the actual amount of content, it seems every scrap of information available has been used to write the book and the minutiae bog it down in places.
Seems to me there is a great opportunity for someone to write a more balanced book on Google, which I would recommend waiting for.
This is a book that truly seems to reveal the soul of Google. Steven Levy did an excellent job researching this book. He also did an excellent job telling the story. I did not find it to dry and dull as I have found with many other books in this genre.
I found myself driving further than needed just so I could keep listening to this book in my truck.