The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture

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9781591841418: The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture
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What does the world want? According to John Battelle, a company that answers that question—in all its shades of meaning—can unlock the most intractable riddles of business and arguably of human culture itself. And for the past few years, that’s exactly what Google has been doing.

 

But The Search offers much more than the inside story of Google’s triumph. It’s a big-picture book about the past, present, and future of search technology and the enormous impact it’s starting to have on marketing, media, pop culture, dating, job hunting, international law, civil liberties, and just about every other sphere of human interest.

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If you pick your books by their popularity--how many and which other people are reading them--then know this about The Search: it's probably on Bill Gates' reading list, and that of almost every venture capitalist and startup-hungry entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. In its sweeping survey of the history of Internet search technologies, its gossip about and analysis of Google, and its speculation on the larger cultural implications of a Web-connected world, it will likely receive attention from a variety of businesspeople, technology futurists, journalists, and interested observers of mid-2000s zeitgeist.

This ambitious book comes with a strong pedigree. Author John Battelle was a founder of The Industry Standard and then one of the original editors of Wired, two magazines which helped shape our early perceptions of the wild world of the Internet. Battelle clearly drew from his experience and contacts in writing The Search. In addition to the sure-handed historical perspective and easy familiarity with such dot-com stalwarts as AltaVista, Lycos, and Excite, he speckles his narrative with conversational asides from a cast of fascinating characters, such Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Yahoo's, Jerry Yang and David Filo; key executives at Microsoft and different VC firms on the famed Sandhill road; and numerous other insiders, particularly at the company which currently sits atop the search world, Google.

The Search is not exactly the corporate history of Google. At the book's outset, Battelle specifically indicates his desire to understand what he calls the cultural anthropology of search, and to analyze search engines' current role as the "database of our intentions"--the repository of humanity's curiosity, exploration, and expressed desires. Interesting though that beginning is, though, Battelle's story really picks up speed when he starts dishing inside scoop on the darling business story of the decade, Google. To Battelle's credit, though, he doesn't stop just with historical retrospective: the final part of his book focuses on the potential future directions of Google and its products' development. In what Battelle himself acknowledges might just be a "digital fantasy train", he describes the possibility that Google will become the centralizing platform for our entire lives and quotes one early employee on the weightiness of Google's potential impact: "Sometimes I feel like I am on a bridge, twenty thousand feet up in the air. If I look down I'm afraid I'll fall. I don't feel like I can think about all the implications."

Some will shrug at such words; after all, similar hype has accompanied other technologies and other companies before. Many others, though, will search Battelle's story for meaning--and fast. --Peter Han

From the Back Cover:

"The Search is a superb story, well written and feverishly researched. Whether you are a student, techie, business executive, budding visionary or just enjoy pop culture, this is a book not to be missed."
USA Today

"John Battelle is Silicon Valley’s Bob Woodward. One of the founders of Wired magazine, he has hung around Google for so long that he has come to be as close as any outsider can to actually being an insider....The result is a highly readable account of Google’s astonishing rise."
The Economist

"It’s a fascinating story, and Mr. Battelle... tells it well."
The Wall Street Journal

"A surprisingly gripping story...The Search yields impressive results, pairing a reportorial eye for detail with an evangelical zeal to help readers understand the import of the search revolution."
Wired News

"Battelle...manages to keep things compelling, adding his own trenchant analysis about what Google’s rapid evolution and powerful technology might mean for the company and our society as whole."
—The Associated Press

"A compelling glimpse of the search industry’s early years."
BusinessWeek

"Deeply researched and nimbly reported."
Publishers Weekly

"Indispensable."
London Review of Books

"John Battelle has written a brilliant business book, but he’s also done something more: he’s used the amazing saga of Google to explore what it means to search. All searchers should read it."
—Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute; former editor of Time; former CEO of CNN

"Nobody, and I mean nobody, has thought longer, harder, or smarter about Google and the search business than John Battelle. If you want to understand the rise of the search economy and culture, you need to read this book."
—John Heilemann, author of Pride Before the Fall

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781591840886: The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture

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ISBN 10:  1591840880 ISBN 13:  9781591840886
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover, 2005
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9781857883619: THE SEARCH - How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transfo

Portfolio, 2005
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