Google It! A history of Google

Can you remember a time without Google? Older readers will remember when research could only be done using books and/or accessing a library. Times before you could easily find out the answer to a puzzling trivia question or idea, by tapping it into your smartphone or tablet… Times when information wasn’t so instantaneously* available (though now I can check the spelling of that word*). It really wasn’t that long ago – but it did involve quite an extensive process to get where we are now in the Information Age.

Thanks to the determination and efforts of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two Stanford University students, we now have a multinational technology company which has changed the way many of us now research – for both facts and fun.

Google It has the subtitles ‘A history of Google’ and ‘How two students’ mission to organize the internet changed the world’. And in its 230 pages, you will find details of:

How Larry and Sergey first met (and how didn’t really get on at first)

What they ultimately had in common

The initial project which started it all

The primitive beginnings of Google

What it took to get things going

And the transformations of the Google juggernaut over the years.

The book is written in an easy-going language, with inserts here and there to explain ideas and details (like footnotes and callout illustrations). Some of these inserts are interesting, but can also be a little distracting. However, the Google story is easily absorbed.

There are reminders of how we used to do things, and how we do things now:

Imagine this: you get into a car for a road trip . You’ve got your playlist, your bestie, some snacks and a book on how to get there. Yes, a book of maps. Printed. Paper. Maps. (From Google It, p. 148)

Now- Google Maps

Regardless of what you think of the Google machine, a great theme flowing through this book is how ideas and sacrifice overcame the necessary failures for its gradual development and success. The importance of these elements show that, for Larry Page and Servey Brin, academic qualifications were less critical than their own intellectual drive and determination. An interesting concept. A story worth reading.

Warning, Google It does present the positive glossy side of Google and its evolution. While I was pleased to see its beginnings were actually rooted in making “the credibility of a web page just as citiation validated research” (p.19), we still need to evaluate Google results, and also have to consider some of the negative impacts of Google.

What do you think? Read it and see.

(My copy was available from BMCC library A Kindle version is also available from Amazon.)