Book Review What Would Google Do? By Jeff Jarvis

3125936268_715b3ac5d3After reading some of the other books about Google, I was a bit apprehensive about this one. I already believe in the power of the GOOG and its’ proficiency in “organizing the world’s information,” so I was not in need of reading a book length love letter.

This book was a pleasant surprise and instead takes the position that Google has changed the world in many ways and looks at the topic in that manner.

Google represents the leveling of the playing field in some respects for Jarvis, and on this point, I would agree. As one of his supports on this point, he points to his own experience with his last (final (?)) Dell laptop purchase. His experience with Dell, drove him to take his grievance online and finally get some results. This chain of events, drove Jarvis to come over to the Apple camp, though.

By leveling the paying field, I believe that Jarvis posits that since Google has done such an effective job of organizing data, that anyone with a question can ask Google and get relevant answers. This effectively leads to a new era of openness.

There is no longer anywhere for anyone (or company) to hide. Theroretically, this should lead to more honesty, because your associates or customers can now find the truth in a few keystrokes.

Some of the professions that could stand to change with this event include, realtors, PR and lawyers. They seem to be the biggest holdouts. The medical profession has begun to change. He doesn’t really address some of the downsides of openness in detail, though. I definitely feel that social networking leads to over sharing for some people, especially on Facebook.

I really enjoyed some of Jarvis’ thoughts on Apple that he shares at the end of the book. He calls Apple the anti-Google as they flout Jarvis’ 1st law- “Hand over control to the customer. You must be joking. Steve Jobs controls all- and we want him to.” That said he is a huge Apple fan, (full disclosure- so am I.)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone. I think that it is especially relevant to those outside of the internet advertising industry and the post 50 demographic.

I wonder if the next Jarvis examination will be of Facebook, especially since this seems to be where internet addicts are spending more time, interacting more and none of this can be indexed by Google.

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