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Googled: The End of the World As We Know It Hardcover – November 3, 2009
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Perhaps the author could not expand on what exciting new initiatives Google has is because all the really exciting news lately has been from other companies. The most life-changing products to hit the market lately have been Facebook and Twitter, neither of which are Google products. It is also worth noting that while search will never go away, Twitter, and to a lesser extent Facebook, have gone a long way to changing the way we access data. Instead of simply searching for things, people can now share links quickly and easily with their network of friends. Android has yet to make a significant dent on the iPhone's market share. Perhaps if Google made a more concerted push to support and develop Augmented Reality technology for Android phones, because AR certainly seems to be where the next wave will come from, and there are no dominant players in that field yet.
In the end, I was misled by the subtitle of the book, "The End of the World as We Know It," into hoping it offered a view of the future. Given the fact that I read the book in paper format, I should have known that this was a long shot. Our view of the future is constantly changing, and it is an unrealistic expectation to hope that a book author can make predictions that will a) stand up to the delay between idea formulation and publication and b) avoid being leaked and widely distributed on the web prior to publication.
However, the Amazon price for the physical book is $17.47. So you only save $2.10 by buying the Kindle edition instead of the hard cover edition. That's a savings of 12%, not 45%.
I believe this to be deceptive advertising.
I would also like to know why the Kindle edition is priced at $15.37 instead of $9.99. I would have bought this at $9.99. But now I'll need to think about it a bit more.
It was an unrewarding experience.
I've never read anything by Ken Auletta before, at least not knowingly. I will never willingly read anything by him in the future.
There is so much wrong with this book that I have to edit myself from running on.
First, Auletta's grasp of technology and the contemporary history of technology are weak. There are several howlers scattered throughout the book that the technologically literate will pck up on immediately.
Next, though Auletta turns in a detailed history of Google - the only reason I give this book 3 stars - he is never clear as to what his point actually is - and he allows his biases to guide him, perhaps unknowingly.
Ostensibly the book is about how Google is changing the world. But Auletta's concept of "world" is limited - he really means the media and entertainment industries. He writes extensively of how newspapers are losing money. He joins editors and publishers and pundits in blaming this in large part, though not exclusively, on Google. Not once does he hold newspapers themselves accountable for their own destinies by allowing themselves to become political agents and stuffing their pages with fluff known as "infotainment". I used to read the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Wall St. Journal religiously and did so for decades. The New York Times began to resemble Pravda and wasn't worth my attention or my subscription money. Auletta blames the Times' substantial circulation losses on Google - not its own editorial policy. I stopped reading the Chicago Tribune because it became People Magazine or worse. Auletta doesn't blame the many newspapers who adopted this "infotainment" policies for their losses.
Auletta tries to make us feel sorry for the entertainment companies, their problems with piracy and their fear of Google. "Frenemy" he tells us is the new buzzword: a friend and an enemy combined. But he doesn't mention even once how the entertainment companies created millions of detractors by pricing their products high and suing their own customers among other things.
In all, this is a mediocre book. The parts about his conversations with Page, Brin, Schmidt and others are somewhat illuminating with regard to Google, but I was left with the impression that Auletta was rubbing the reader's nose in his having access to these luminaries while the plebian reader did not. I was, in fact, reminded more than once of the social climbing, name dropping late Dominick Dunne. Auletta thinks highly of himself and his skills not only at analyzing various industries, but of his ability to predict the future. I did not find him convincing.
In terms of style, Auletta is ponderous. He could have been served well by a competent editor.
The few occasional insights into the thinking of Brin, Page and Schmidt are interesting, but on the whole I found nothing to justify the pain of reading all 336 page - and now I wonder what masochistic impulse urged me on. I guess I kept hoping for something really interesting.
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This was a comprehensive look at google. Auletta dove into the deep in and explores how Google really looks out for the user.Read more