Top critical review
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on May 12, 2011
WWGD - What would Google Do - is a book about the new ways that internet is changing our lives, and how the best to benefit from it. Despite its title, this is not a book about Google, at least not in a sense that it makes any effort to deeply analyze and try to explain in nonobvious terms the source of Google's success. Recently I came across a picture online which depicts a small store somewhere in India that without any shame or sense of propriety named itslef "Google." Google has indeed become a global fenomenon and one of the strongest brands in the world, and it is not surprising to find people trying to profit from being associated with it in any way imaginable. After reading this book, one can't help feel that the use of Google was a similar ploy on the part of the author. The book is filled with case studies and examples of where an online company supposedly benefited from emulating a "Google" model of doing things, even when that connection is tenuous at best. Oftentiumes, as in the case of Facebook for instance, this is downright ridiculous: Facebook is louded for opening up its application development system, while in fact Facebook is a paragon of the "old" way of approaching content on the internet - a closed garden, not an open platform. Although there are indeed many problems with the way that many old online companies were doing business, it is far from clear that the Google model is a panacea that fits every company and internet technology business model equally well. In fact, to this day Google has been unequivocally successful at doing exactly one thing - search.
The book also suffers from not having a clear focus. There are many interesting and novel ides thrown around, but it is unclear what ties them all together. The writing style is fairly accessible and if you want to read something from one of the insides of the new online media world, this would be as good a read as they come. But don't expect to get any concrete ideas about either the inside scoop on how Google works or for your next business venture. One gets a sense that the author has absorbed way too much jargon and hype in order for this to happen.