The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business andTransformed Our Culture [NOOK Book]

Overview

What does the world want? According to John Battelle, a company that answers that question—in all its shades of meaning—can unlock the most intractable riddles of business and arguably of human culture itself. And for the past few years, that’s exactly what Google has been doing.


But The Search offers much more than the inside story of Google’s triumph. It’s a big-picture book about the past, present, and future of search technology and the enormous impact it’s starting to have...

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The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business andTransformed Our Culture

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Overview

What does the world want? According to John Battelle, a company that answers that question—in all its shades of meaning—can unlock the most intractable riddles of business and arguably of human culture itself. And for the past few years, that’s exactly what Google has been doing.


But The Search offers much more than the inside story of Google’s triumph. It’s a big-picture book about the past, present, and future of search technology and the enormous impact it’s starting to have on marketing, media, pop culture, dating, job hunting, international law, civil liberties, and just about every other sphere of human interest.


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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
When Google was launched in 1998, it was regarded as a late starter in the search engine game. Since then, it has not only eclipsed rivals Yahoo, AltaVista, Lycos, and others; it has redefined the Internet and the marketplace. In less than seven years, the company that opened with three employees launched the largest technology IPO in Silicon Valley history. The Search, penned by Wired co-founder John Battelle, promises to be the definitive inside story of Google's rise.
Library Journal
Wired cofounder and Industry Standard founder Battelle has written a history of the search engine giant Google that attempts to place the phenomenon of Internet searching within the broader context of society and culture. If the "Database of Intentions" sounds like a kind of high-tech holy grail, you're getting warm. This is Battelle's terminology for the totality of Internet searching that reveals to us as a culture (not to mention to marketers) who we are and how we think and feel. The tale of Google's humble beginnings in a Stanford dorm room and eventual domination of the search landscape is an interesting enough story in itself. But it becomes fascinating against the backdrop of geeky entrepreneurs and their fledgling companies waging battles of ideas and ideals. Along the way, Battelle skillfully examines ethical and political issues of search-personal privacy being a big one. The implications of search as a cultural marker and what its future might hold make this a thought-provoking work with relevance beyond business and technology. Recommended for public and academic library business collections.-Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin, Whitewater Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries

In The Search, journalist and Wired co-founder John Battelle explains more than the inside story of Google’s triumph over its rivals. Battelle takes a big-picture look at the past, present and future of search technology and the enormous impact it is starting to have on marketing, media, pop culture, job hunting, international law, civil liberties, and just about every other sphere of human interest.

Battelle’s information is drawn from interviews with more than 350 people, including Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Google CEO Eric Schmidt; key executives at rivals such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, and AOL; early pioneers; scientists working on the future of search; venture capitalists; and even entrepreneurs whose fortunes rise and fall with every tweak in the Google search algorithm.

Battelle notes that by the fall of 2001, the Internet industry was in full retreat. Hundreds of once promising startups lay smoldering in bankruptcy. Could the Internet story ever pick itself up off the ground?

Back in April 2001, Eric Schmidt, a founder of Sun Microsystems, had left his job running Novell, the perpetually struggling networking giant, and accepted the chairman and CEO role over at Google. The industry was baffled by the move, Battelle says, but Schmidt was onto something big. Google, it seemed, was thriving.

The first edition of Google Zeitgeist was a clever public relations tool that summarized search terms that were gaining or losing momentum during a particular period of time, Battelle explains. By watching and counting search terms, Zeitgeist provided a fascinating summary of what our culture is looking for or finds interesting, and conversely, what was once popular that is losing cultural momentum.

In essence, Google and its competitors created the first application to leverage what Battelle calls the "Database of Intentions" in a commercial manner: paid search. In less than five years, the business grew from next to nothing to more than $4 billion in revenue and is predicted to quadruple in another five years.

As the search economy deepens and proliferates, there will be countless innovations built upon the basic breakthrough of the paid search model. As Battelle looks into the history of search engines, he reminds us that there were other search engines that had their timing been better or their owners wiser, could have been Google instead.

The reason Google was able to emerge ahead of Lycos, Alta Vista, GoTo, and Yahoo!, Battelle explains, was because they focused on doing search well and not becoming a portal. The Internet bust actually helped them focus on what became one of the best business models on the planet.

Despite Google doing a number of things wrong on the way to its initial public offering (IPO), it turned out to be quite successful, Battelle explains. In 2004, Google had $3 billion in the bank and a market cap pushing $50 billion. Clearly the company needed a plan. While traditional companies - some might call them mature - have well understood corporate development plans, Google was still flying by the seat of its pants.

Google faces perhaps its most tremendous test in the next few years, Battelle predicts. And he asks, "Can it continue to innovate in the face of treacherous competition? Can it keep its most productive employees despite their personal wealth? Can it learn to partner with outside companies who find Google’s loose approach to business confusing and dangerous?"

In seven short years of corporate life, Google has become a canvas on which we project every application or service that we can imagine might arise in our increasingly digital future, Battelle observes.

"Nothing beguiles like the promise of unlimited potential. For now, anyway, Google holds that promise." Copyright © 2006 Soundview Executive Book Summaries


—Soundview Summary
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101218419
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/8/2005
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 433,454
  • File size: 373 KB

Meet the Author


John Battelle is a cofounding editor of Wired and the founder of The Industry Standard, as well as TheStandard.com. He is currently program chair for the Web 2.0 conference, a columnist for Business 2.0, and the founder, chairman, and publisher of Federated Media Publishing, Inc.






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Table of Contents

1 The database of intentions 1
2 Who, what, where, why, when, and how (much) 19
3 Search before Google 39
4 Google is born 65
5 A billion dollars, one nickel at a time : the Internet gets a new business model 95
6 Google 2000-2004 : zero to $3 billion in five years 123
7 The search economy 153
8 Search, privacy, government, and evil 189
9 Google goes public 211
10 Google today, Google tomorrow 229
11 Perfect search 251
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An interesting book but ...

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was well written and provided enough information to keep me glued to it. However, I was really hoping to find out more about Google than what would be possible from Google's own PR machine. The early search engine history and the development of that technology is probably the more fascinating part of the book. Which is ironic, since the book is supposed to be primarily about Google. My guess is that the author sacrificed the ability to write about more intriguing and behind the scenes happenings at Google for the almost unlimited access to the founders and the top managers.

    Overall, this is a pretty good book, but a hard-nosed investigative reporter would probably have come up with more intriguing content.

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  • Posted October 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A book that is, and isn't.

    The Search was recommended to me from a colleague and I was excited to find it still in circulation at my B&N. While an interesting topic, the author promises that this book is not a history of Google, when in fact, that's exactly what it is. From the early days in a dorm room, to the hiring practices and personalities of the creators, there isn't much in the way of the quote on the cover. True, it does discuss the rivalries of Yahoo and AOL, and how they all circle each other, with some losing and some winning, there's not as much an answer to 'what is search' as is ' what is google doing differently than everyone else'. perhaps the book was ahead of it's time (Google bought YouTube months after the books release). There are tidbits of information that are insightful (What does RSS stand for? YaHoo is an acronym?) and the theory as to what the internet itself actually is was an interesting paragraph, though these are few and far between. The last quarter of the book is repetitive, and became a chore to finish. The book now rests on a library shelf somewhere, waiting for it's next victim.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2007

    A very entertaining read

    This is a well-researched book on the subject of search, and how it is changing our business and culture. Google is arguably the most powerful and venerated Internet company in the world today -- reading about its birth, growth, and future direction is a must for anyone involved in business.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2007

    Big Brother?

    A very thought provoking read. Reminds one of an old story by Goerge Orwell.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2006

    A Great Book!

    I found myself completely enveloped in this book. The author does a great job of telling the story of search, as well as outlining the implications of Google's power in the future. His bit on AI is fascinating and thought provoking. I highly reccomend this book - it's a quick read, and serves as a 'crash-course' in the history of search, with tons of anecdotal information and terrific story telling. Plus, I found it to be a very quick read. Well done!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2006

    Way too Technical

    This book was way too technical. It spent more time speaking about the technical configurations of servers then it did about how Google has achieved its success. It was a slow read at times, and would be a good book for someone interested in how Google was set up from a technological standpoint.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2006

    Outstanding storytelling about the most important company of the day

    Battelle's is a great book with amazing, captivating storytelling. I've only read one other industry book that I tell people is a must-have if you're in the IT business or into the web lifestyle, Stephen Segaller's 'Nerds 2.01 - A Brief History of the Internet'. Battelle's fine work is right up there with it. The book's main focus is primarily Google, but there's also a healthy dose of the other major players in the search game, like Amazon's A9, AltaVista, AllTheWeb, Yahoo and Microsoft. So there's a holistic view of the search industry, without leaving out any of the majors. The book does, in my opinion, lack a bit of the technical explanation behind Google's processes (I'm a software developer, so I like that kind of thing). I would have enjoyed reading more about Google's data center and distributed computing philosophies and the company's adoption of open source software (there are a couple of paragraphs dedicated towards detailing the former). Google rolled their own Linux implementation, which wasn't mentioned, and have pretty much put Python on the map as a programming, which also didn't make the final cut. But not taking anything away from Battelle's work - he does a fantastic job early on of breaking down web-wide search and the components involved. The book is still spot-on in terms of the strategy, financial profile, legal issues, unique corporate culture, human resources practices, adventures with venture investors, stock performance, insider interviews , horror stories, brutal truths and a historical look at the company. The final chapter, 'Perfect Search' also talks about what's on the horizon for search, maintaining the belief that in all, web search is only 5% completed. It's fine writing. Pick this one up. Kudos, John - well done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2005

    Why Google rules

    The idea of making billions of dollars on a business based on searching online indexes is inconceivable, except when you consider how the Internet has changed the business world. This concept is so vague that it is difficult even to consider, let alone write about. Yet author John Battelle has done a thorough, entertaining job of identifying how this attempt to pin down cyberspace works, and how two graduate students turned their mathematical challenge into Google, the fastest growing company in history. While this is primarily a corporate biography, Battelle does not pander to the company¿s billionaire founders. They are portrayed as authoritarian geeks with few warm qualities. But they are also shown as visionary engineers who turned their killer application into a business that successfully defied Wall Street when their company went public. This is a great story, which is why we recommend it to technology fans searching for meaning and to business readers who want to understand the future of search technology. Or as Google says: search and you shall find.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2005

    This is by far the best book written about search

    John Batelle dug in by thoroughly researching and interviewing key search industry experts to explain the history of search. He is a talented researcher, writer, journalist and entrepreneur and understands this medium well, offering analysis and keen insight on the rise of search engines, from Webcrawler in 1994 to present day. He explains underlying algorithms and pay-for-performance click advertising business models that created today¿s multibillion dollar businesses. I bought each of the 40 employees at Become.com a copy. It¿s an excellent read for people who are in the industry, and those who want to learn about the dynamics of Internet business and its societal impact. We are all still in the early stage of search, and know that it will be a part of everyday life for Internet users. And as a search engine entrepreneur, I agree with John that vertical search engines will take the industry to the next level and into the future.

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    Posted May 7, 2010

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    Posted May 8, 2011

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    Posted September 4, 2011

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    Posted April 2, 2009

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