Written with full cooperation from top management, including cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, this is the inside story behind Google, the most successful and most admired technology company of our time, told by one of our best technology writers.
Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes readers inside Google headquarters—the Googleplex—to show how Google works.
While they were still students at Stanford, Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin revolutionized Internet search. They followed this brilliant innovation with another, as two of Google’s earliest employees found a way to do what no one else had: make billions of dollars from Internet advertising. With this cash cow, Google was able to expand dramatically and take on other transformative projects: more efficient data centers, open-source cell phones, free Internet video (YouTube), cloud computing, digitizing books, and much more.
The key to Google’s success in all these businesses, Levy reveals, is its engineering mind-set and adoption of such Internet values as speed, openness, experimentation, and risk taking. After its unapologetically elitist approach to hiring, Google pampers its engineers—free food and dry cleaning, on-site doctors and masseuses—and gives them all the resources they need to succeed. Even today, with a workforce of more than 23,000, Larry Page signs off on every hire.
But has Google lost its innovative edge? With its newest initiative, social networking, Google is chasing a successful competitor for the first time. Some employees are leaving the company for smaller, nimbler start-ups. Can the company that famously decided not to be evil still compete?
No other book has ever turned Google inside out as Levy does with In the Plex.
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 " Don'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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great book! The author left me feeling like he wrote an authentic piece while maintaining a healthy admiration for google! It gave some great management lessons but really makes you understand what all these guys - gates, jobs and all their second generation kids have. Persistence and passion. Nice book I highly recommend it!
Very informative and captivating
This book kept me engaged from beginning to end. I now have a complete understanding how Google thinks and works from the inside.
Even though I have been a Google user since the beginning of the company, I have a better understanding of their products as well after reading this book..
Very inspirational story in pursuing what you want, overcoming hardships and simply asking "why not?"
Would recommend this book to anyone.
New York, NY
This book is a Google fan's dream come true. Every Google failure is billed as something the public is just not ready for.
How can you write a book about Google and not describe how TERRIBLE the search results have become as people have learned to game the system. The massive fraud in their ads. Google has become a giant malware distribution system, and none if that is even mentioned.
The writing quality is excellent, but the philosophy and premises are gag worthy.