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Publisher's Summary

In Googled, esteemed media writer and critic Ken Auletta uses the story of Google's rise to explore the inner workings of the company and the future of the media at large. Although Google has often been secretive, this book is based on the most extensive cooperation ever granted a journalist, including access to closed-door meetings and interviews with founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, CEO Eric Schmidt, and some 150 present and former employees.

Inside the Google campus, Auletta finds a culture driven by brilliant engineers in which even the most basic ways of doing things are questioned. His reporting shines light on how Google has been so hugely successful - and why it could slip. On one hand, Auletta reveals how the company has innovated, from Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Earth, to YouTube, search, and other seminal programs. On the other, he charts its conflicts: the tension between massive growth and its mandate of "Don't be evil"; the limitations of a belief that mathematical algorithms always provide correct answers; and the collisions of Google engineers who want more data with citizens worried about privacy.

More than a comprehensive study of media's most powerful digital company, Googled is also a lesson in new media truths. Pairing Auletta's unmatched analysis with vivid details and rich anecdotes, it shows how the Google wave grew, how it threatens to drown media institutions once considered impregnable - and where it is now taking us all.

©2009 Ken Auletta; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
  • Brian
  • Manassas, VA, United States
  • 02-25-10

Interesting, but Tedious

While the story is interesting and compelling, the fact that this book seems to retell the same general story dozens of time becomes tedious. The focus is on nearly one industry, advertising, with almost nothing on the technical advances that made Google. If this book were half the length it would be much better. Perhaps the abridged version is better. The author repeats the same theme dozens of times, how Google upsets the advertising and entertainment content industry. After about the 10th similar passage on that fact it gets OLD. Its seemed that about 25% of this book is what I was looking for, the story of how the company was built, and its victories and challenges.

I found the reader used odd voice inflection. Play the preview, and be aware of the length. For some reason the reader seemed a mismatch to the book and its story. It becomes confusing because there are SO many similar recounts of interviews, and the reader uses the same speach patter for all. r.
Would be much better at half the length, and is too much a story of the advertising world.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Charles
  • Seattle, United States Minor Outlying Islands
  • 01-23-10

An exhausting "notebook dump"

That's news-biz terminology for when a reporter just puts everything he knows into a story — is not selective. Ken Auletta is a stellar reporter, but this book is a firehose that is flopping out of control. I feel as though I have re-lived the entire history of Google and modern media in real time. What I had hoped for was something to help me make sense of it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 11-12-09

Audio production could have been better

While the narrator is competent, easy to listen to, and has a voice well-suited for the topic, there are clear artifacts in the audio production.

There are small sections of frequent and quite noticeable "inserts" that are probably the result of error corrections done after the primary recording. Also, there are times when the narrator makes awkward inflections of certain words that seem unnecessary and out of sync.

These are minor issues when you concentrate on Auletta's very fine and interesting narrative.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kenneth
  • LEESBURG, VA, United States
  • 08-07-10

Lacks First Mover Advantage

Better written than earlier books on Google, but not the first to tell the story.

This author is unusually professional in his reporting, perhaps even fair and balanced. If you haven???t already read a book on Google, this one is more grown up than most. If you have already a few books on Google there may not be enough new stuff here to be worth reading yet another book on Google.

There is one truly controversial thing in this book, but it???s so smoothly stated that it???s easy to overlook. The author takes the position that the vast majority of Google's success, and all of its problems, is/are due to its deliberate attempt to cultivate an engineering culture. This is a refreshing prespective, which is rarely stated, and perhaps quite subversive. Legions of business consultants will try to help your company get away from its engineering culture. But if they succeed you won???t be the next Google. Where are the consultants that will try to help your company establisher or retain an engineering culture?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Burt
  • Alexandria, VA, USA
  • 12-21-09

Where's the analysis...?

I originally purchased this looking for a view into the organizational culture at Google. As an engineer myself, I wanted a taste of what working there might be like. That's not in this book.

What is in this book is a synopsis of news reports about Google since Brin & Page were grad students. had you "googled" Google, you would find much of this book. There is some discussion about how Google changed some of the markets it entered (e.g., music, newspapers, books) but I found the analysis superficial at best.

The author writes as if he has a bone to pick with Google, seeming (as the subtitle would indicate) to begin from an assumption of malicious intent. So, in addition to the lack of analysis, for no additional cost the reader gets a lack of objectivity.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Kept Me Googlued To The Earphones

I used to visit the Google campus now and then, but my access was so limited, I felt like Ralphie pressing his nose to the department store window in Christmas Story. Googled does a good job taking the listener into the search/technology/media company. There are lots of narration inserts, but they aren't abrupt changes to the volume or cadence at all. Jim Bond narrates the book well, he keeps a good pace that lets the chapters flow well. Most people will learn a lot about Google with this book. The Google troika approach to management is surprising, but it gets the job done. I heard Ken Auletta on KQED's show, Forum, and got to hear him tell some of the stories read by Jim Bond. Probably nobody else will ever get the access to Google's leadership he had. How great it would be if somebody could do a book about Apple and have the same access, maybe Ken Auletta.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story


Googled is best when Auletta uses his extensive knowledge of the media world to analyze how Google is disrupting the news, advertising, and entertainment businesses. I wish Auletta knew as much about education as he does about newspapers and media, as it would be fascinating to speculate how Google will disrupt academe. I was less interested in the exhaustive biography of the company, its founders, its executives, and its early history (although all of this is well told). Googled is worth reading because Auletta is able to look at the emergence of Google from the perspective of the newspaper execs, telecom managers, ad men, and technology companies whose businesses have been swept away and along by the Google tsunami.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 11-24-09

a peek under the tent

If you don't know anything about the media industry or Google, this is the book for you. For folks that are pretty familiar with Google, the book offers a nice inside look at the personalities of Google and some interesting info about the "Google Boys" journey to date.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Amazing Insight into Changes in Our World

I understand the World is Flat now, because Friedman told me, but exactly what that means to how my daily life is being increasingly touched by technologies and decisions of people in that industry isn't exactly clear. Googled helps make it more clear by giving me some insight into this company and its "messianic" mission to improve the world. The almost obsessive focus on user value seems to me to be the reason the website has also soared in popularity. Like REI, these companies seem to be most interested in how to bring to the consumer what they want. While this may or may not be true for Amazon, it is certainly true that REI and Google began with consumer-oriented focus and not with monetary focus and it seems both remain so today.
This books gives me a detailed look into some of the personalities and personality struggles, in the objectives and conflicts of purpose the founders and members of Google have gone through as they vie for optimization or humanization of technology and information.
Anyone doing e-commerce today, should study this book and with the understanding that providing detailed, useful content is the best way to arrive at the top of the search, improve the content of your site so that it is useful to visitors.
The more useful, the higher you get in the search rankings. This seems like one more example of how technology is flattening our world.

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  • M3
  • Monterey, CA
  • 07-08-12

In depth look at Google from Soup to Nuts

Dry at times, but insightful as well, this book looks carefully at the Google founders from their startup efforts in college to the mammoth machine they control today. Emphasizing Google's unique mixture of genius and naivete, Auletta is simultaneously critical and in awe. His story provides a unique insight into Google's efforts to maintain its "small company" culture despite its overwhelming presence around the world.

Much can be gleaned on the nature of Silicon Valley startups and the creative application of great ideas, and Google's lessons can be easily applied to anyone who wants to pursue their passion. That said, the author sometimes heads off on tangents that don't immediately seem relevent, which detracts from the impact of the book overall. Google's cast of characters is immense, but detailed biographies of even some bit players slowed the flow of the story.

Generally well written, well researched, and applicable to many walks of life.