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Googled(CD)(Unabr.) [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Ken Auletta
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Book Description

Nov. 3 2009
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.

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Review

“This is an engrossing look at Google and the broader trends in information and entertainment in the Internet age.”—Booklist, Starred Review



“[A] savvy profile of the Internet search octopus….[and] a sharp and probing analysis of the apocalyptic upheavals in the media and entertainment industries.”—Publishers Weekly



“Auletta uncovers some endlessly colorful material and assesses [Google’s] prospects critically but fairly.”—Kirkus Reviews



“Auletta has captured something critical and true about the tribe that made the enormous success of Google possible. His understanding is critical and essential for anyone trying to predict how long this run of enormous success will continue. Bottom line: Not forever, and maybe not much longer. Here's exactly why.”—Larry Lessig, author of Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy and Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity



“A uniquely incisive account of the new Internet revolution, powered by Ken Auletta’s unparalleled access. Essential reading.”—Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape and co-founder of Ning



"Ken Auletta has produced the seminal book about media in the digital age. It is a triumph of reporting and analysis, filled with revealing scenes, fascinating tales, and candid interviews. Google is both a driver and a symbol of a glorious disruption in the media world, and Auletta chronicles, in a balance and thoughtful way, both that glory and that disruption."—Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Ken Auletta has written the Annals of Communications column for The New Yorker since 1992. He is the author of eight books, including THREE BLIND MICE: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way; GREED AND GLORY ON WALL STREET: The Fall of The House of Lehman; and WORLD WAR 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies. In naming him America's premier media critic, the Columbia Journalism Review said, "no other reporter has covered the new communications revolution as thoroughly as has Auletta." He lives in Manhattan with his wife and daughter.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A view of Google in the age of rapid media change June 24 2011
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I have read several books about Google over the years, and this one is certainly the best written of them all. This is not surprising - Ken Auletta is a writer, journalist and media critic for The New Yorker. His writing is of an exceptionally high quality and a pleasure to read. The book is also very well researched, with first-hand accounts from many of the key players at Google and other companies that prominently feature in this story. Many of the stories about Google's early years have been written about before in other books and articles, but there are also a substantial number of new, untold accounts. In particular, we get a better idea of who were the important early investors in Google and the order in which they supported the fledgling company. Several not-so-famous high-level operatives are profiled who had a substantial influence on Google's development. However, even though these profiles are not the typical puff-pieces that have come to dominate the popular business press, they are not all that critical and candid either. From the point of view of writing an interesting story this is somewhat to be expected. The triumvirate that runs Google despite their incredible business success is composed of three very geeky individuals that don't necessarily have the most exciting personalities. On the other hand certain other highly visible members of the Google hierarchy perform rather obscure functions in the company that are hard to get too excited about from the outsider's point of view. None of the books about Google that have come out so far provide us with the intriguing stories of what is really going on inside Google - clashing personalities, conflicting projects, dazzling new ideas, development dead ends, etc. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read June 6 2010
Format:Hardcover
I liked this book. Looking for the history of Google and some of the challenges it faced in becoming the successful company today? Looking for some insight in to how the company was/is run? Looking for some background on the company founders? Well it's all in here and then some.

Author Ken Auletta does a good job writing the book is easy to understand language. Auletta interviews many of Silicon Valley's most influential people such as Marc Anderson of Netscape fame who help to provide good background knowledge of what it's like to get a high-tech startup off the ground.

If you have any interest in Google or companies like Yahoo!, Microsoft, Intuit, etc., then this is the book for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Googled - the growth and growing pains Dec 20 2009
Format:Hardcover
I recently picked up a copy of Googled: the End of the World as We Know It. The book provides an interesting view into the birth of Google, from a project at Stanford University through to the de facto search engine of choice for most.

Ken Auletta was able to spend a fair deal of time with both founders (Larry Page and Sergey Brin), CEO Eric Schmidt, and numerous other Google insiders. The book covers the entire history of Google and a snapshot of the founders determination to maintain an engineering culture at Google. The internal conflicts, the difficulties in introducing a management layer as Google grew, and the opposition to Google over their dominant position and privacy concerns are covered in fairly good detail. Overall the book provides a good case study on handling the transition from the start-up stage through to diffused shareholder ownership and pressure to increase profitability outside of the core business line.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  99 reviews
89 of 97 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Google story (re)told well......not much intrepretive/predictive analysis Oct. 20 2009
By Sreeram Ramakrishnan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
For a book that bills itself as something that will "offer insights into what we know, and don't know, about what the future holds for the imperiled industry", it does an excellent job with the first part, hard to say what was unique about the take of the author that was significantly different from other books such as What Would Google Do?and The Google Story: Inside the Hottest Business, Media, and Technology Success of Our Timeand hardly does justice to the last portion (what future holds). The story of the beginnings and rise of Google, its famed work culture, unconventional approaches of its founder are all well told - in this book as well as previous ones. Auletta tries to cast the discussion from the viewpoint of the advertising industry - and while that in itself doesn't provide a significantly different perspective (Anyone who understands Google's revenue streams already knows it is in the advertising business....), it does provide for interesting reading. For an initiate in the Google story, this book will do full justice. If you are already familiar with the Google story and thought that the author will focus on the future of advertising media and related topics, you are likely to be disappointed. A recent book The Curse of the Mogul: What's Wrong with the World's Leading Media Companies actually does more justice in that regard.

Auletta does (re)raise significant issues - the discussion on Google Books and copyrights is a clear standout in the book. The "hubris" as portrayed by traditional media companies during Google's infancy is mind-boggling and amusing (of course, with the benefit of hindsight). Other than the framing of the discussion in the viewpoint of media/advertising, a Google-buff is not likely to realize significant benefit from this book. That focus also forces the author not to be able to discuss products such as Google Health - which has the potential for being a disruptive solution in itself. Overall, an excellent read for the Google-newbie, but an OK addition for a Google-phile.
48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting in Parts, But Reads Too Much Like A Corporate Dossier Nov. 23 2009
By Amazon Enthusiast - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Without a doubt, this book is thoroughly and expertly researched.

However, it took me numerous ambivalent weeks to read it (BTW, it is not at all unusual for me to read 3 books at once and be finished with them all in two days and I am most positively interested in technology). Unfortunately, this one didn't "grab" me like I thought it would, given its topic: the most brazen, upstart Corporation in the History of the Universe. The Anti-Microsoft. What I call "The God Box," otherwise known as Google.

Although I can say I learned a lot I didn't know before (like the incredible level to which we have all been contributing personal data streams to cable, satellite, internet, and phone companies for YEARS and the commercial value of this information and the fact that My Favorite NerdHero, Jeff Bezos, is one of the original angel investors in Google AND that Amazon's search technology is based on an offshoot of Google's), it felt like those nuggets of wisdom were buried in a lot of unnecessary background noise.

I think if you personally knew some of the people covered in this book, you would find it more engaging than I did. For me, the first 2/5ths of the book read like a corporate dossier, reciting the degrees and digital pedigrees of individual employees and associated boardmembers, etc.

What I really wanted to read about was what the title promised: how Google transformed the world and how it would build it anew. I also hoped it would delve into how Google might be addressing the problem of Search Engine Optimizers who are gaming Google's algorithm and degrading the quality of search results.

I HATE to criticize a talented writer who has obviously poured so much effort into a project, but this book just fell short on delivery of its promised "sizzle," for my tastes.
31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why Google matters Oct. 21 2009
By Malvin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
"Googled" by Ken Auletta chronicles the rise of Google from its auspicious origins within the labs of Stanford University to its becoming perhaps the most influential technology company in Silicon Valley today. Mr. Auletta, who has covered the media and technology industries for many years, has drawn on his many dozens of personal interviews with key players to tell this remarkable story as only he can. Full of interesting anecdotes, insight and analysis, this highly readable book explains why Google matters a lot to consumers, businesses and policy makers.

Mr. Auletta excels at writing Google's corporate history, dedicating individual chapters to each year of its development from 1999 through 2008. Like many Internet success stories, we become acquainted with Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two (more or less) socially-awkward but undeniably brilliant persons who have remained true to their vision of making information accessible to end users via the Internet. Mr. Auletta explains that Google's focus on perfecting its proprietary search algorithms has proven to be widely disruptive to technology and media companies alike; while its control of information has garnered attention from governments and non-governmental organizations who are concerned about issues of corporate power and personal privacy.

Mr. Auletta discusses how Google's growth has posed challenges within to its management, corporate culture and strategy. While generally praising Page and Brin for their decisions, Mr. Auletta is concerned that Google's founders, who have yet to be confronted with the kind of adversity that afflicts most business owners, could be overlooking some of the external threats to the company's long-term viability; chief among these are what Mr. Auletta believes are legitimate public concerns about the use of private information for profit. Yet, it is clear from the author's thoughtful analysis that the technology and data Google collects has uniquely positioned the company to continue to take advantage of, if not define, the media/technology landscape for the foreseeable future.

I highly recommend this book to everyone.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing trip to nowhere April 7 2010
By Jerry Saperstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I must be a masochist. I read each and every one of the 336 pages of text comprising "Googled: The End of the World As We Know It".

It was an unrewarding experience.

I've never read anything by Ken Auletta before, at least not knowingly. I will never willingly read anything by him in the future.

There is so much wrong with this book that I have to edit myself from running on.

First, Auletta's grasp of technology and the contemporary history of technology are weak. There are several howlers scattered throughout the book that the technologically literate will pck up on immediately.

Next, though Auletta turns in a detailed history of Google - the only reason I give this book 3 stars - he is never clear as to what his point actually is - and he allows his biases to guide him, perhaps unknowingly.

Ostensibly the book is about how Google is changing the world. But Auletta's concept of "world" is limited - he really means the media and entertainment industries. He writes extensively of how newspapers are losing money. He joins editors and publishers and pundits in blaming this in large part, though not exclusively, on Google. Not once does he hold newspapers themselves accountable for their own destinies by allowing themselves to become political agents and stuffing their pages with fluff known as "infotainment". I used to read the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Wall St. Journal religiously and did so for decades. The New York Times began to resemble Pravda and wasn't worth my attention or my subscription money. Auletta blames the Times' substantial circulation losses on Google - not its own editorial policy. I stopped reading the Chicago Tribune because it became People Magazine or worse. Auletta doesn't blame the many newspapers who adopted this "infotainment" policies for their losses.

Auletta tries to make us feel sorry for the entertainment companies, their problems with piracy and their fear of Google. "Frenemy" he tells us is the new buzzword: a friend and an enemy combined. But he doesn't mention even once how the entertainment companies created millions of detractors by pricing their products high and suing their own customers among other things.

In all, this is a mediocre book. The parts about his conversations with Page, Brin, Schmidt and others are somewhat illuminating with regard to Google, but I was left with the impression that Auletta was rubbing the reader's nose in his having access to these luminaries while the plebian reader did not. I was, in fact, reminded more than once of the social climbing, name dropping late Dominick Dunne. Auletta thinks highly of himself and his skills not only at analyzing various industries, but of his ability to predict the future. I did not find him convincing.

In terms of style, Auletta is ponderous. He could have been served well by a competent editor.

The few occasional insights into the thinking of Brin, Page and Schmidt are interesting, but on the whole I found nothing to justify the pain of reading all 336 page - and now I wonder what masochistic impulse urged me on. I guess I kept hoping for something really interesting.

Jerry
27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than I expected Sept. 25 2009
By Anthony Lawrence - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
As I started reading this earlier today, I thought it would be a glossy recounting of Google's history with little substance. I deliberately ignore the author's name when I first pick up a new book so that I won't be influenced by my previous experiences - had I known that Ken Auletta was the author, I would have known better. But I did not, and indeed the first few chapters seemed to confirm my expectation of fluff.

Honestly, I was getting bored and was very close to tossing it aside. After all, I know the history of Google and have been involved with Adsense both as an advertiser and a website publisher for many years now. I was an early adopter of Gmail, have e-books in Google Books and of course have a Google Voice account. I bought Google stock early on. I don't care very much about the personalities of the founders; I wasn't finding much to interest me.

Fortunately, I held on a few more chapters and realized that this is a much deeper examination than I thought. The wide eyed awe and admiration that seemed to be the the theme of the first few chapters started to be replaced with a closer look at wrinkles and flaws. I don't mean that the author is attacking Google - it's just a fair and balanced honest look at the reality that is Google.

Later chapters examine the gestalt of Google even more deeply. What does Google mean to other companies? What does Google's growth mean to itself? Can it really "do no evil"? These are all questions I've asked and thought about as I've watched Google grow and change. Ken Auletta has dissected the impact of Google thoroughly. I don't always agree with his conclusions, but he does hit all the stops and digs in to every angle.

Excellent analysis, very, very well done. The business and societal changes that are developing are important to understand - this book will help.
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