Review by Choice Review
Auletta, media critic for The New Yorker, characterizes Google as a behemoth on the brink of the unknown. He weaves together more than 150 interviews with present and former Google employees, examining Google as a company and the future of media in general. Auletta had exclusive access to the Google team, including CEO Eric Schmidt and founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. He also interviewed representatives of the "old media," e.g., Mel Karmazin (former CEO, CBS; now CEO, Sirius XM), Bob Iger (CEO, Disney), and Howard Stringer (CEO, Sony), highlighting tensions between Google's innovative business model and traditional information and entertainment outlets. Auletta details Google's company history as well as Google's culture and the paradox it has created. For instance, Auletta scrutinizes the company's ambitious growth in light of its motto ("Don't be evil") and its struggle to provide information while the public's privacy concerns increase. Further, Auletta explores Google's ability to innovate versus its ability to avoid government regulation (for now). Googled is a must read for those interested in business, media, and the future of a powerhouse that has transformed the Internet. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections and readership levels. S. Nowicki Kalamazoo College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Google as verb has come to generically refer to a search for information on the Internet, but with the astonishing growth of the company, the verb has come to refer as much to steamrolling over old media businesses from advertising to publishing to news gathering. Veteran reporter Auletta spent two and a half years researching the phenomenon of Google; its intensely private founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin; and the quirky staff of engineers whose obsession with efficiency led to a powerhouse search engine aimed at helping users find the answer to any question. In the process, Google learned that as it found answers, it also found opportunities for expansion, eventually stepping on the toes of its partners and competitors and provoking government investigation of some planned acquisitions. The company has gone from its messianic philosophy of Don't be evil to being viewed by some as evil (equivalent to Microsoft in villainous potential) because of its size and dominance. Auletta explores the clash of cultures as e-commerce has unsettled old assumptions and business models. Though popular among its users, Google's image has been tarnished by caving to demands for censorship by the Chinese government and by an engineering mind-set that has made it amazingly deaf to issues of privacy and copyright protection. With profitability that rivals that of any media company, purchase of YouTube, and encroachment on mobile phones and other enterprises, the future for Google looks bright. But Auletta raises questions about Google's ability to maintain focus as it grows, fight off challenges from competitors and government regulators, weigh the appeal of free access to information and entertainment against the need to make money, and balance its reliance on the algorithms with a more refined sense of the needs of its users and partners. This is an engrossing look at Google and the broader trends in information and entertainment in the Internet age.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2009 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
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 engineersto dismiss what cannot be objectively measuredhas 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 the authoritarian-controlled nation. Though not a vivid stylist, Auletta uncovers some endlessly colorful material and assesses its prospects critically but fairlyGoogle will thrive, he thinks, but they'd better guard against navet and complacency. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.