The Search

Battelle, John
October 2005
Search - Business Book Summaries;2005, Vol. 1 Issue 1, p1
Book Summary
Book summary
As Battelle observes, it seems as though the words "Google" and "search" are now nearly synonymous, for Google is currently the culture's most prominent declaration of the power of search. Despite its having entered this technological game long after Yahoo!, Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos, and other pioneers, Google offers a radical new approach to Internet technology, and that approach has made it more of a gateway to instant knowledge than any of its rivals. Drawing on more than 350 interviews with major contributors to, and observers of, the industry (from Silicon Valley to Seattle and Wall Street), The Search details the inside story of Google's PhD-project beginnings to its current multibillion-dollar triumphs. Framing this report is an illuminating analysis of the past, present, and future of search technology and its already enormous impact on marketing, media, pop culture, dating, job hunting, international law, civil liberties, and almost every other aspect of life and society. It is a far-reaching picture of a world in which "every click can be preserved forever" in what Battelle calls, the Database of Intentions. Despite the fact that Google is one of the most intriguing and successful companies of the Internet Age, focusing solely on a company that is "still a work in progress" seemed a bit premature. Thus, Battelle embeds Google's story, in the larger story of search and, by doing so, helps both the specialist and nonspecialist understand what Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley says is "one of the most important trends of this generation: organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible." This recounting of the story of search is essentially a recounting of the story of the modern Internet era "in all its cultural and commercial nuances." It provides the important insight that search is no longer an impersonal tool for finding stuff (either pure information or the hottest new digital camera), but is increasingly "our mechanism for how we understand ourselves, our world, and our place within it. ... how we navigate the one infinite resource that drives human culture: knowledge." Business Book Review(tm)


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