Googled depicts the company as a brilliant, game-changing behemoth that can be socially inept, and both naive and arrogant in its dealings with the world. The book, more fair-minded reportage than a polemic, leaves us with a telling portrait of a paradigm-altering company, which in 11 years has utterly transformed the business and media landscape, but which also suffers at times from the sort of myopia that comes from determinedly left-brain thinkingthat is, a scientific-engineering driven point of view that prizes data, efficiency and growth while often overlooking more human and political concerns like privacy and copyright.
The New York Times
…absorbing, shaggy…I read the book in three huge gulps and learned a lotabout Google's "cold war" with Facebook, about Google's tussles with Viacom, about Google's role in the "Yahoo-Microsoft melee" and about Google's gradual estrangement from its former ally, Apple…what Auletta mainly does is talk shop with C.E.O.'s, and that is the great strength of the book. Auletta seems to have interviewed every media chief in North America, and most of them are unhappy, one way or another, with what Google has become.
The New York Times Book Review
Auletta offers a comprehensive history of Google's meteoric rise, profiling its creators, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the initial team members, previous commentators on the organization, and Google's various competitors over the years. Jim Bond captures Auletta's tone admirably, tonally balancing fact and opinion within the book. Despite some vocal wavering, Bond commands our attention and sustains interest with pacing and emphasis that enable listeners to absorb the information effortlessly along with the significance of certain moments and individuals. A Penguin Press hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 24). (Nov.)
A corporate upstart just over a decade old, Google has wormed its way into our lives, our vocabulary, and even the hallowed halls of academe, with Internet dominance and multibillion-dollar advertising revenues that make it one of the largest media entities of all time. New Yorker media critic Auletta (Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way), who spent several years researching Google and interviewing hundreds of company and industry players, delivers the real scoop on how this Internet giant fits into the larger media landscape. His fascinating examination illuminates Google's world from just about every conceivable angle: competitive, legal, regulatory, cultural, and ethical. He wraps up with an assessment of where the behemoth might be headed but provides enough insight to allow readers to draw their own conclusions about Google and whether its emergence really does spell the end of the world as we know it. VERDICT While the Google phenomenon has spawned dozens of books, Auletta's years of research and firsthand access to insiders, critics, competitors, and commentators give readers a well-rounded perspective on the company and how it fits into the wider milieu.[See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/09.]—Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Whitewater
The New Yorker's "Annals of Communication" columnist Auletta (Media Man: Ted Turner's Improbably Empire, 2004, etc.) goes behind the digital revolution to detail the past decade of astonishing growth at Google. The greatest fear of Microsoft's Bill Gates-"someone in a garage who is devising something completely new"-was realized in Stanford graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who parlayed their breakthrough search engine into an all-purpose threat to newspapers, books, television, movies, phones, advertising and even Microsoft. Page and Brin believe that their enlightened business practice of putting end users first reflects the firm's motto, "Don't be evil." Their tendency as engineers-to dismiss what cannot be objectively measured-has helped them undercut traditional advertising firms incapable of pinpointing the effectiveness of campaigns. It has also left them sometimes so hilariously deficient in emotional intelligence that, Auletta writes, they "naively believe that most mysteries, including the mysteries of human behavior, are unlocked with data." CEO Eric Schmidt has balanced their desire to move nimbly against the larger world's fears about privacy, copyright and antitrust issues. In a high-tech, high-wire act, Google has combined in-house initiatives and daring acquisitions, producing one innovation after another and aiming to become a $100 billion media company (more than twice the size of Time Warner, the Walt Disney Co. or News Corp.)-and battling legal moves from alarmed old-media rivals. While praising its innovations, Auletta criticizes the company for not living up to its ideals in, for instance, China, where it agreed to censor sites to assure access in theauthoritarian-controlled nation. Though not a vivid stylist, Auletta uncovers some endlessly colorful material and assesses its prospects critically but fairly-Google will thrive, he thinks, but they'd better guard against naivete and complacency. New York launch event. Tie-in to author's lecture schedule
"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