Review by Choice Review
With the permission of Google chief executives Larry Page and Sergey Brin, journalist Levy spent hundreds of hours in meetings and interviews with Google employees. Based on these experiences, he offers a revealing account of how Google works in the Googleplex headquarters and beyond. The book, which reads almost like a novel, begins with Page's and Brin's graduate experiences at Stanford University working on the BackRub search engine, which eventually turned into Google. By hiring and pampering highly intelligent software engineers and creating speedy, spam-resistant, and relevant software, Google eventually beat competitors such as Alta Vista and Excite. Levy documents how Google eventually generated profits through programs such as AdWords. He discusses how Gmail, Chrome, Google Docs, YouTube, cloud computing, Orkut, and other innovations resulted from a culture of free food, in-house chefs, weekly Friday staff gatherings, product strategy meetings, incredible work hours, and masseuses. The book also discusses difficulties Google encountered in dealing with China, including ethical issues over censorship, and touches on Google's ambitious initiatives in development. Douglas Edwards's I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 (CH, Mar'12, 49-3952) provides another insider perspective on Google's business development and work culture. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Students at all levels; faculty; practitioners; general readers. G. E. Kaupins Boise State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The contradictions of the Internet search behemoth are teased apart in this engaging, slightly starry-eyed business history. Wired magazine writer Levy (Hackers) insightfully recaps Google's groundbreaking search engine and fabulously profitable online ad-brokering business, and elucidates the cutting-edge research and hard-nosed cost-efficiencies underlying them. He also regales readers with the "Googley" corporate culture of hip techno-capitalism: the elitist focus on braininess, the campus game rooms, the countercultural rectitude of billionaire founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin (which can read more like puerile arrogance as they roller-blade into meetings with business-suited squares). Levy's narrative updates a familiar portrait of the company, with breathless accounts of recent innovations. He offers a smart analysis of the tensions between Google's "'Don't Be Evil'" slogan and its censorship of its Chinese Web site and the privacy implications of its drive to sponge up all information-but he accepts Google's blinkered conception of e-ethics and its demands for huge tax breaks with too much complacency. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Dense, driven examination of the pioneering search engine that changed the face of the Internet.Thoroughly versed in technology reporting, Wired senior writer Levy (The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness, 2006, etc.) deliberates at great length about online behemoth Google and creatively documents the company's genesis from a "feisty start-up to a market-dominating giant." The author capably describes Google's founders, Stanford grads Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as sharp, user-focused and steadfastly intent on "organizing all the world's information." Levy traces how Google's intricately developed, intrepid beginnings and gradual ascent over a competitive marketplace birthed an advertising-fueled "money machine" (especially following its IPO in 2004), and he follows the expansion and operation of the company's liberal work campus ("Googleplex") and its distinctively selective hiring process (Page still signs off on every new hire). The author was afforded an opportunity to observe the company's operations, development, culture and advertising model from within the infrastructure for two years with full managerial cooperation. From there, he performed hundreds of interviews with past and current employees and discovered the type of "creative disorganization" that can either make or break a business. Though clearly in awe of Google's crowning significance, Levy evenhandedly notes the company's more glaring deficiencies, like the 2004 cyber-attack that forced the removal of the search engine from mainland China, a decision vehemently unsupported by co-founder Brin. Though the author offers plenty of well-known information, it's his catbird-seat vantage point that really gets to the good stuff.Outstanding reportage delivered in the upbeat, informative fashion for which Levy is well known.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.