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The contradictions of the Internet search behemoth are teased apart in this engaging, slightly starry-eyed business history. Wired magazine writer Levy (Hackers) insightfully recaps Google's groundbreaking search engine and fabulously profitable online ad–brokering business, and elucidates the cutting-edge research and hard-nosed cost-efficiencies underlying them. He also regales readers with the "Googley" corporate culture of hip techno-capitalism: the elitist focus on braininess, the campus game rooms, the countercultural rectitude of billionaire founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin (which can read more like puerile arrogance as they roller-blade into meetings with business-suited squares). Levy's narrative updates a familiar portrait of the company, with breathless accounts of recent innovations. He offers a smart analysis of the tensions between Google's "âÇÿDon't Be Evil'" slogan and its censorship of its Chinese Web site and the privacy implications of its drive to sponge up all information—but he accepts Google's blinkered conception of e-ethics and its demands for huge tax breaks with too much complacency. (Apr.)
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"Dense, driven examination of the pioneering search engine that changed the face of the Internet.
Thoroughly versed in technology reporting, Wired senior writer Levy deliberates at great length about online behemoth Google and creatively documents the company’s genesis from a 'feisty start-up to a market-dominating giant.' The author capably describes Google’s founders, Stanford grads Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as sharp, user-focused and steadfastly intent on 'organizing all the world’s information.' Levy traces how Google’s intricately developed, intrepid beginnings and gradual ascent over a competitive marketplace birthed an advertising-fueled 'money machine' (especially following its IPO in 2004), and he follows the expansion and operation of the company’s liberal work campus ('Googleplex') and its distinctively selective hiring process (Page still signs off on every new hire). The author was afforded an opportunity to observe the company’s operations, development, culture and advertising model from within the infrastructure for two years with full managerial cooperation. From there, he performed hundreds of interviews with past and current employees and discovered the type of 'creative disorganization' that can either make or break a business. Though clearly in awe of Google’s crowning significance, Levy evenhandedly notes the company’s more glaring deficiencies, like the 2004 cyber-attack that forced the removal of the search engine from mainland China, a decision vehemently unsupported by co-founder Brin. Though the author offers plenty of well-known information, it’s his catbird-seat vantage point that really gets to the good stuff.
Outstanding reportage delivered in the upbeat, informative fashion for which Levy is well known."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)See all Editorial Reviews
This is a great book to give you an idea of the two gentlemen who founded Google and how they did it.Published 20 days ago by Star Foundation Richard Smolowe
In depth review of Google and many of their products. You quickly get a feel for how engineering focused they are, and does a good job taking you through the cast of characters... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Alfredo
This is a detailed case study of the inside workings of Google. I only wish there was an update on the more recent activities at the company. Highly recommended!Published 26 days ago by Nancy H
It's a good read. It's a tough subject to cover because Google does so many different things. I found myself wanting a much better understanding of what they're working on... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Darren W. Reid
Thorough, insightful with deep original content. Steve Levy keeps you right in the founders thinking throughout their journey. A+++ !Published 1 month ago by Tadd Morganti
It's full of good information and anecdotes that will illuminate the reader regarding the history and operations of Google, however, it's also a sycophantic rant. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
"In the Plex" is Steven Levy's a highly engrossing and well-written account of the the rise of Google from a garage start-up to a $30-billion colossus. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dean hamilton
Thought this book was insightful, learning about how the founders thought and what motivated the idea. I like that it explain concepts in layman... Read morePublished 2 months ago by David Woo