Google is intriguing and there are plenty of books on the company. Who did it grow to such a beast? What is their true purpose? This is one of these books, published 5 years ago. Is it still relevant today?
Content and opinions
Google started as a search engine and ended up in more or less all domains of our life. It’s a pattern that is underlined in the book. wherever the engineers thought they could improved something in our lives, they created something. That’s the idea of the first part, messing up with the magic. Google earns money with ads, automated ads, and ads is the bread and butter of all publishing companies. And they did mess up with the magic (in a good way, I think) as they undermined the traditional way of doing things.
The second part is the story of Google beginnings, from the garage to the place where they could earn money. Seeing what they went through reminded me that they didn’t have a business model right from the start, they just wanted to solve an issue that we all had on the Web.
The third part starts more or less when Google could manage to do whatever it pleases, like buying Youtube. At the time, it was a big thunder to see Google absorb it, as the site didn’t have any business model (I still struggle to understand how it makes money now). It also stirred lots of controversies, but it was just the tip of the iceberg, the book describes all the other struggles Google faced.
The last part is about the future of the media companies (still struggling, Netflix is there with Amazon Prime, still pushing them to change their way of working) and Google as well. I think Google went further from their original corpus of thoughts with Android for instance (keeping lots of things closed when they started as open source). It is morphing further to a more traditional company in my opinion. And that’s for the worst…
Google is not a company like another. Its directors are one of a kind, and this book shows it quite well. Whether they will stick to their ideas is another matter.