The Google Story

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If Google’s splashy IPO and skyrocketing stock haven’t revived the dotcom sector, they have certainly revived the dotcom hype industry, judging by this adulatory history of the Internet search engine. Billionaire founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, their counter-cultural rectitude imbibed straight from the Burning Man festival, are brilliant visionaries dedicated to putting all information at mankind’s fingertips and “genuinely nice people” who “didn’t care about getting rich.” Their company motto, “Don’t Be Evil,” is not just PR boilerplate rendered in fantasy-gaming rhetoric, but a deeply-pondered organizing principle. Washington Post reporter Vise, author of The Bureau and the Mole, and researcher Malseed give a serviceable rundown of the company’s rise from grad-student project to web juggernaut, its innovative technology and targeted advertising system, its savvy deal-making and its inevitable battles with Microsoft. But while they raise the occasional quibble about controversial company policies, they generally allow Google’s image of idealism to overshadow the reality of a corporate leviathan. Worse, the bloated text feels like the product of an overly broad web search: anything with keyword Google-executives’ speeches, seminar talks, informal Q and A sessions with students, company press releases, legal documents, SEC filings, even the company chef’s fried chicken recipe-comes up, excerpted at inordinate and rambling length, drowning insight in a flood of information. (Publishers Weekly)

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