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The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture [Paperback]

John Battelle
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 Sep 2006 1857883624 978-1857883626
This updated edition in paperback of the bestselling and critically acclaimed book on the rise of Google and the 'search industry" contains a major new Afterword from John Battelle. The rise of Google is one of the most amazing stories of our time. Google's enormous impact straddles the worlds of technology, marketing, finance, media, culture, dating, job hunting, and just about every other sphere of human interest. And no one is better qualified to explain this entire phenomenon than John Battelle, the acclaimed Silicon Valley journalist who co-founded "Wired" and founded "The Industry Standard". Much more than just a business book, this explains how the search industry is changing the way we live in profound and unpredictable ways. "The Search" contains exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names at the top companies including Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google is the No. 1 search engine and is now a recognised word in its own right - they receive over 200 million search requests every day and it is estimated that over 80 per cent of webusers turn to Google first.

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing (14 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857883624
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857883626
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

If you pick your books by their popularity--how many and which other people are reading them--then know this about The Search: it's probably on Bill Gates' reading list, and that of almost every venture capitalist and startup-hungry entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. In its sweeping survey of the history of Internet search technologies, its gossip about and analysis of Google, and its speculation on the larger cultural implications of a Web-connected world, it will likely receive attention from a variety of businesspeople, technology futurists, journalists, and interested observers of mid-2000s zeitgeist.

This ambitious book comes with a strong pedigree. Author John Battelle was a founder of The Industry Standard and then one of the original editors of Wired, two magazines which helped shape our early perceptions of the wild world of the Internet. Battelle clearly drew from his experience and contacts in writing The Search. In addition to the sure-handed historical perspective and easy familiarity with such dot-com stalwarts as AltaVista, Lycos, and Excite, he speckles his narrative with conversational asides from a cast of fascinating characters, such Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Yahoo's, Jerry Yang and David Filo; key executives at Microsoft and different VC firms on the famed Sandhill road; and numerous other insiders, particularly at the company which currently sits atop the search world, Google.

The Search is not exactly the corporate history of Google. At the book's outset, Battelle specifically indicates his desire to understand what he calls the cultural anthropology of search, and to analyze search engines' current role as the "database of our intentions"--the repository of humanity's curiosity, exploration, and expressed desires. Interesting though that beginning is, though, Battelle's story really picks up speed when he starts dishing inside scoop on the darling business story of the decade, Google. To Battelle's credit, though, he doesn't stop just with historical retrospective: the final part of his book focuses on the potential future directions of Google and its products' development. In what Battelle himself acknowledges might just be a "digital fantasy train", he describes the possibility that Google will become the centralizing platform for our entire lives and quotes one early employee on the weightiness of Google's potential impact: "Sometimes I feel like I am on a bridge, twenty thousand feet up in the air. If I look down I'm afraid I'll fall. I don't feel like I can think about all the implications."

Some will shrug at such words; after all, similar hype has accompanied other technologies and other companies before. Many others, though, will search Battelle's story for meaning--and fast. --Peter Han --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"The Search is a fascinating story of the original and rapid rise of Google and the industry it leads..At once exhilarating and frightening." Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Times Higher Education Supplement "A highly readable account of Google's astonishing rise"The Economist "A compelling glimpse of the search industry's early years.....Full of colour from first-hand interviews, it helps answer the basic question: How did Google jump so far ahead in this seemingly obvious bonanza of a market?" Business Week "A brilliant business book. All searchers should read it." Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute; former editor of Time"

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discover the future of search - today. 20 Feb 2006
I found this a really interesting book. It’s not a ‘history of Google’ story (look at ‘The Google Story’ by David Vise, if that’s what you’re after); although Google’s evolution features throughout. It’s a ‘history of search’ story, which provides insights into Yahoo, Alta Vista, Google and the other main players. It’s also an essay on what ‘search’ could be, how it could change everything and what we should expect in future.
The highlights for me were:
The realisation that the ‘database of intentions’ (Battelle’s term for the as yet unrecorded database of all our collective searches) would be an incredible archive of the developed world’s interests at any point in time.
How TV advertising could become a function of the programmes you watch.
How cool mobile search would be (scan a barcode into a PDA to see if another local retailer has he item you’re after for less).
The positives and negatives of everything recorded about us being searchable, and the implications for privacy (like ‘reverse directory lookup’ – type in a phone number and Google returns a name and address).
The prospect of all our stuff being searchable (eg our kids having indexed digital photo albums instead of cardboard ones gathering dust).
The reasons behind Google acquiring other little companies that can help it produce things like Google Earth and Google Print.
The reason other traditionally non-search internet players (such as Amazon with its A9 search engine) are taking an interest in search.
The amazing possibilities of ‘perfect search’….
So don’t be left behind – buy your copy now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The power of Search: a boundless potential 9 May 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When a brilliant journalist writes about a contemporary and lava hot topic like Search-simply consider that Google which epitomizes Search experienced the phenomenal growth of 0 to $3 billion in the short time span of five years 2000-2004 -the result is a riveting book.

There are similarities and parallels between the founders of Google and the founder of Microsoft. In both instances they are dropouts of elite universities in order to found companies and pursue their vision. In the case of Bill Gates the founder of Microsoft, the epiphany was the power of software. In the case of Larry Page and Sergey Brin the founders of Google, the driving insight was the power of Search.

The object of Search is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

The author's treatment is balanced in that while he shows that the present Search is already enormous and its future virtually unlimited he also points to its ominous consequences such as the infringement on privacy.

To show what the future for Search reserves, a comparison with Micrososft would suffice:

The audacious goal of Bill Gates and Micropsoft was of a computer on every desk, and Microsoft products running on every computer. A goal achieved within twenty years and in the process rendering Bill Gates fabulously rich and Microsoft a stellar world company.

Let us consider Google's audacious goal:to organize information and make it accessible. Forget about a computer on every desk. The entire world needs to become computerized. Anything of value will be in Google's index. We have to visualize the merging of the physical world with the World Wide Web.

Microsoft's success was driving a computer to every desk with Windows on every computer.
Read more ›
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Google delivers information at your fingers? 2 Nov 2005
John Battelle has a long history in the web's short evolution. He is currently deeply involved in the Web 2.0 technologies and strategies and therefore has a great understanding of the past,present and the future of the web. This book very much reflects that fact by covering the past, present and future of search. Google may rule the roost today but let us not forget in the past so did Alta Vista.
The delicious irony is that today Google has delivered on Microsoft's stated vision of "information at your fingertips" first but this is only the first round of a very long battle in the war to win consumers.
If you want to understand what comes next ... I recommend you read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book but ... 5 April 2011
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was well written and provided enough information to keep me glued to it. However, I was really hoping to find out more about Google than what would be possible from Google's own PR machine. The early search engine history and the development of that technology is probably the more fascinating part of the book. Which is ironic, since the book is supposed to be primarily about Google. My guess is that the author sacrificed the ability to write about more intriguing and behind the scenes happenings at Google for the almost unlimited access to the founders and the top managers.

Overall, this is a pretty good book, but a hard-nosed investigative reporter would probably have come up with more intriguing content.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
You probably use search engines to find information. If you already understand how one search engine varies from the next, this book will be much too simple and limited for you. Avoid the book.
If, however, you choose which search engine based on how cool the url is for that engine, you should read this book. It will tell you a lot that can help you find better information . . . and what you may be able to look for in future search engine improvements. If that's your main reason for reading the book, you'll find it too long and involved for that purpose. There's an awful lot about the history of Google . . . which is essentially ancient history by now. I graded the book down from this perspective mainly because it takes Mr. Battelle a long time to get the simplest ideas across.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting
This book is a really interesting book into the history of how Google came to become the biggest search engine on the planet. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Limes102
4.0 out of 5 stars John Battelle - The Search | Review
Let's get the obvious out of the way first - my copy of this book was published in 2005. Now, that might not seem like a huge revelation, but eight years is a long time in the age... Read more
Published 14 months ago by
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent companion volume
A story, written from further on the outside than 'The Google Story' about the early stages of google development. Read more
Published on 12 Aug 2008 by Bruce Murphy
4.0 out of 5 stars A Google-focused useful insight into the world of search
John Battelle has written an unputdownable page turner with a wealth of first-hand knowledge about the world of internet searching. Read more
Published on 9 July 2008 by Oscar Del Santo
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple search, complicated industry
Receive the search query and give back the results - it's that simple. There can't be more to this industry, right? Very wrong. Read more
Published on 26 Mar 2007 by Adil Hussain
4.0 out of 5 stars A 'must read' for Human Resources Executives
Companies pay millions to Futurists to tell them how consumer behaviours are likely to change. At the core of much of this, of course, is the internet. Read more
Published on 24 Nov 2006 by Christopher A. J. Lamb
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Google rules
The idea of making billions of dollars on a business based on searching online indexes is inconceivable, except when you consider how the Internet has changed the business world. Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2005 by Rolf Dobelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for everything it contains
Nice uncomplicated approach to the topic. Really good intro on the early years...yes search engines did exist before Google. Read more
Published on 25 Sep 2005 by Edward Cowell
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