Book Review: Googled-The End of the World as We Know It

February 27, 2010

I recently completed this book by Ken Auletta who promotes his unique access to the search engine giant. The books follow the history of Google from the earliest days of the founders at Stanford, to rocketing to fame, going public and then being labeled as the evil empire. More recently, he chronicles conflicts with the government, traditional media, traditional advertising, publishers and China. He leaves with Google at a crossroads of maturing founders which he suggests may be losing focus, competitors in social media, and ongoing challenges from Microsoft and others.

The book describes each new major app and the process and culture of building new tools and keeping them free. Only two pages are devoted to Google Health, however. Generally, the books focuses much more on the advertising business which has made lead to Google’s financial success sometimes overshadows description of apps and the engineering culture. Too many pages are devoted to the failing of traditional media and, of course, Google and the competition continue to evolve since the publication of the book.

The closing question in the book is: has Google become so big and entangled in conflict that it has lost its innovative edge? Recently the excitement over Google Wave and Buzz have met there match with Apple’s iPad. Yet the dominance of cloud computing and Google’s dominance in the cloud may continue to have more of a long term impact than the devices that connect to the cloud.

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