“The most interesting book ever written about Google” (The Washington Post) delivers the inside story behind the most successful and admired technology company of our time, now updated with a new Afterword.
Google is arguably the most important company in the world today, with such pervasive influence that its name is a verb. The company founded by two Stanford graduate students—Larry Page and Sergey Brin—has become a tech giant known the world over. Since starting with its search engine, Google has moved into mobile phones, computer operating systems, power utilities, self-driving cars, all while remaining the most powerful company in the advertising business.
Granted unprecedented access to the company, Levy disclosed that the key to Google’s success in all these businesses lay in its engineering mindset and adoption of certain internet values such as speed, openness, experimentation, and risk-taking. Levy discloses details behind Google’s relationship with China, including how Brin disagreed with his colleagues on the China strategy—and why its social networking initiative failed; the first time Google tried chasing a successful competitor. He examines Google’s rocky relationship with government regulators, particularly in the EU, and how it has responded when employees left the company for smaller, nimbler start-ups.
In the Plex is the “most authoritative…and in many ways the most entertaining” (James Gleick, The New York Book Review) account of Google to date and offers “an instructive primer on how the minds behind the world’s most influential internet company function” (Richard Waters, The Wall Street Journal).
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.
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
Revealing look at Google and a Data Driven Organization
This is a very interesting look into the nature and operations of Google. It presents some of the character and business model of Google. It also is a look at the nature and uses of data collected on the internet. The story about the uses of data mining to help translation services clearly demonstrates some of the surprising aspects of artificial intelligence.
Unfortunately, the later sections of the book do not keep up with the expectations set by the first half. This may be a reflection of the changing environment that Google and we find ourselves in.
I find this book complementary to "The Search: How Google and it's Rival Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed our Culture" by John Battelle.
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!