It's remarkable to think how young Google is, and how recently we've all been connected to the Internet, and to consider the deeply profound impact it's had on almost every aspect of our lives. The company responsible for much of the adoption is of course Google, which seems to release updates and new products at a rate that's really hard to keep up with.
I haven't read a book on Google before, so the first few chapters provided a useful history of the company and background of the founders. The author paints a picture of a somewhat arrogant persona in the engineers who believe in the art of the possible, who use a combination of their intellects and technology to pry open the covers of various industries and essentially rewire them completely. This impression is useful in conveying not only the unprecedented changes being fostered on the world by Google, but also leading in the major part of the book, assessing its impact on everybody else.
I'm a huge fan of open source, open standards, etc etc so I'll be the last one to sing the praises of Microsoft or Apple - but where we've bashed these companies to death with questions about their monopolistic ambitions, this book raises similar questions about Google from the opposite side. Yes, pretty much everything Google offers is free - at least for you and I - but 100% of the cost is being shouldered by advertisers. Is this fair? To what extent does the company have the right to kill traditional media, and is this really Google's fault at all? Is Google's approach an abuse of privacy and copyright laws or not?
The author delves into a range of different areas - some of which have been discussed in the media, and others are ambitious and thought provoking. I'd recommend this for anyone who has an interest in pop-tech or web 2.0 - while I don't necessarily agree with the authors conclusions, he raises some excellent questions.
(Released on November 3...)