Thursday, February 23, 2012

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives (Book Review)

In little more than a decade, Google has grown from a smart, disruptive search company to an Internet behemoth, with over $39 billion in revenue and a product portfolio now spanning advertising, mobile, cloud computing, and video.

Since Google's inception, millions have used its search engine and services and come to rely on the company for fast, reliable information. Indeed, the company name itself is now a verb meaning "to search".

Steven Levy's In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives chronicles the story of Google, from its origins and founding, through its incorporation and rapid growth, and to its ascendancy as one of the biggest and most influential companies on the planet.

I found the text well-crafted and fascinating. Though a work of journalism, the narrative flowed very much like a story, with Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt cast as the main characters. The book elaborated all the major developments in the company's history, including the founding, the maturation of search and advertising as major revenue streams, "Don't be evil" and the distinctive company culture, incorporation, the acquisition of YouTube, Google's moral dilemma in China, and the company's recent challenges with privacy and social media.

I highly recommend In the Plex for anyone interested in learning more about the history and DNA of Google.

You can read more about In the Plex at http://www.stevenlevy.com/index.php/books/in-the-plex.

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