What does the world want? According to author John Battelle, a company that answers that question in all its shades of meaning-can unlock the most intractable riddles of business and arguably the human culture itself and that’s what Google has been doing. Google today has become the gateway to instant knowledge. Hundreds of millions of people use it to satisfy their wants, needs, fears & obsessions, creating an enormous artifact that the author calls ‘Database Of Intentions’.
‘The Search’ is not exactly the corporate history of Google. It gives an insight about the past, present and future of search technology and the enormous impact it’s starting to have on marketing, media, pop culture, job hunting, research and just about every other sphere of human interest. The ambitious book has several fascinating and thought provoking sections.
Read how Idea Labs’ Bill Gross who created the pay-per-click at GoTo wasn’t able to beat Google; read how the company survived the dot com crash; read how the academically oriented founders – Sergey Brin & Larry Page were inspired by academic peer review in their algorithm which later formed the basis of Google.
Battelle lucidly explains how search technology actually works, explores the amazing power of targeted advertising and reports on the frenzy of the most talked about Google IPO-when the company rewrote the rules of Wall Street. He points that somewhere in the Google’s archives, you can find silent plotting of a would-be bomb maker, inquisitiveness research of a research scholar, excitement of a teenager hunting for the latest music track and even the anxiety of a programmer trying to find possible fix for a bug in the piece of code!!
Towards the final part of the book, author visualizes about ‘Perfect Search’ in ‘Semantic Web’ where we can get results for queries like “Give me all the documents on the web that have at least one page in Arabic, are located in MidWest but are not connected to say Al Jazeera” (Of course not the kind you would dare to punch into Google today!).
For anyone who wishes to understand how Google succeeded in creating a goldmine of information & the implications of a world in which every click can be preserved forever – The Search is an eye opening and indispensable read.