Googled(CD)(Unabr.) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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"At last, a book about Google that does not require readers to get in touch with their inner geek. The most important company of the internet era, and the most controversial new media company for a generation has deserved a more accessible account for the general reader. In the hands of Ken Auletta, media writer for The New Yorker magazine, it gets one." Financial Times "Ken Auletta, one of America's best business journalists, has turned his attention on the firm, with particular reference to the challenges it faces ... superbly reported" -- John Lanchester Observer "This insightful book reinforces the need for old media ... brilliant" The Times "Compelling" The Economist "The story he is telling, and its ramifications, is a narrative which is shaping the era in which we live, and at a frightening pace" Telegraph --This text refers to the Paperback 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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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