Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Googled Myself

Yes, I am probably a year late in writing a review for this book. Nevertheless, I feel compelled enough to write about it, which in itself is a big deal because most of the books I read do not seem to warrant being talked about.

The book in question today is “Googled”

I use Google. The person sitting next to me at work uses Google. The person in the train at the farthest end with a phone in her hand uses Google and I sometimes wonder if there is anyone alive in this world, with internet access, who hasn’t been saved by the awesomeness of Google. So, most of us know the end product and now New Yorker Ken Auletta gives us a peek in to the inception and the growth of a company that started in a garage and blossomed into a massive organization, which has left many media moguls trembling. With just one aim in mind – to empower the users and to give relevant answers to searches that are not plagued by hovering advertisers- the two geeky Stanford dropouts Larry Page and Sergey Brin went on to create Google.

In the book, each of the initial recruits into the company are revealed in details, along with angel investors and also mentions the close relationship with Nobel price winner Al Gore. Auletta is clearly mesmerized by the extra perks a Google employee gets and he justifies these steps by explaining how each potential job seeker is grilled for four to five hours before being hired. Of course, only if your SAT scores are off the charts. Massages, free food made by a gourmet chef, physical training and a free hand to work on any project that pleases you is Google’s retention policy. At various moments in the book Auletta repeats Page and Brin’s mission statement as if his own. The envy and fear felt by others in the market is spelt out loud and clear. The book is a nice Sunday read!

My thoughts: Although I seem to have gotten to this book a year too late, the significance seems to be high even today, in 2010 because of the problems Google has lately been facing. China challenged the company’s policy to provide relevant searches and stalled access to the search engine in the Asian region. More recently, the company fired an employee who released an internal mail sent by CEO Eric Schmidt, containing information about a 10% raise and $1,000 holiday cash bonus. The reason given by Google? - “The leaker selfishly and thoughtlessly put 20,000 co-workers in immediate danger of being mugged while carrying holiday bonus cash on their way home in the dark that very evening.” Mugged? Really Google? For all the relevant information your search engine hopes to give can you not give us a good and relevant reason?

May be Google’s downfall is nearer than we can envision.

WSJ's review of the book

1 comment:

  1. Somehow, Neither your write up nor WSJ write up seems like a review.

    I think no one should expect transparency from anything which is successful. If there is accountability I think I can live with it...