Book Review – Googled The End of The World as We Know It- By Ken Auletta

The title of this book is a bit over the top, but I feel its’ point is pretty right on. Things have changed drastically for people due to the past ten years of Google. Personally, if I can’t remember something specific in a discussion with a colleague, I jump to the GOOG for the answer.

This book explores the lifespan of Google from the beginning, and breaks the time line into chapters that roughly follow years.

One of the main points that Auletta makes is that Page and Brin want to solve all issues by consulting the data. This has been obviously extremely successful for them overall. This has also lead to some serious issues as they have morphed into a self proclaimed media company. Some areas here would be the miscalculation of publisher response to Google Books and the more recent failure of Google Wave.

As Google makes its’ way to the ranks of a large company, the book makes it clear that they want to avoid becoming the next Microsoft- becoming much less nimble and tangled in bureaucracy. Senior executive exits like Tim Armstrong and Sheryl Sandberg could also be a sign that things are moving in that direction.

There were some areas that made it seem as if Googled was written by an industry outsider-while I think that is good on some level, this certainly does not come across as a Google love letter- it does make a case for a strong editor. An example here would be referring to DoubleClick as an agency. There were also a number of typos and number inaccuracies.

Overall, I found this to be a great way to get up to speed with Google as a force. Many of the historical references, I had already heard or remembered, but this book does a wonderful job of assembling all of this into a single place.


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