In ‘Googled‘, by Ken Auletta you get to follow the journey that Sergey Brin and Larry Page undertook when creating one of the true giants among modern media companies. The book describes the startup of Google, the growing years and onto the later years of dominance as it stands today.
Apart from this, Google’s several legal battles are in focus. An example of this is the long winded struggle with publishers over the Google Books project, which intends to scan every written book into digital form. Another problem for Google, that is described in the book, is the occurrence of government influence on the company, and the need for Google to put a larger and larger lobbying group in Washington D.C. to deal with such influences.
The author also spends a vast amount of pages on the impact Google is having on the rest of the world in general and ‘traditional media’ in particular.
Well, this isn’t a proper review but more of an extended opinion, but the above outlines what the book is about. It’s a good book. The most entertaining parts are found in the story sections, where the reader follows the creation of a giant tech company. The author has great details on everything from Brin and Page living together in an apartment among servers and fast food boxes, to the argumentation of Google’s spectacular employee benefits. The book details relationships and decisions at the highest level of the hierarchy, where Eric Schmidt was taken aboard as CEO, and it introduces the reader to the mercurial mediator ‘Coach Campbell‘.
The sections after the story one are also good, but here the author seems to lose focus on Google itself, to instead wade through masses of references to various other events in the media sector, the non-transformation of ‘traditional media’ along with segments that ask questions about Google’s struggle with maintaining its “Don’t be evil” facade. Unfortunately, even though great work must have been done to source all these references, it’s easy to get confused and find a red line through all of it.
As a summary, I like the first part best and would have been happy with a shorter book, or even more details on Google’s story and the company itself. I would not say the other parts are a waste – they provide a very good overview of the media landscape created in Google’s wake – they are just not as entertaining. So, whatever the case, the book is a ‘must read’ for me overall due to the author’s detailed description of the spectacular story and world impact of Google, the greatest disruptor!