In The Plex

In The Plex

How Google Thinks, Works, And Shapes Our Lives

Book - 2011
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Written with full cooperation from top management at Google, this is the story behind the most successful and admired technology company of our time. Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? The author, a technology reporter was granted access to the company, and in this book he takes readers inside Google headquarters, the Googleplex to show how Google works. While they were still students at Stanford, Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin revolutionized Internet search. They followed this brilliant innovation with another, as two of Google's earliest employees found a way to do what no one else had: make billions of dollars from Internet advertising. With this cash cow (until Google's IPO nobody other than Google management had any idea how lucrative the company's ad business was), Google was able to expand dramatically and take on other transformative projects: more efficient data centers, open source cell phones, free Internet video (YouTube), cloud computing, digitizing books, and much more. The key to Google's success in all these businesses, the author reveals, is its engineering mind set and adoption of such Internet values as speed, openness, experimentation, and risk taking. After its unapologetically elitist approach to hiring, Google pampers its engineers, free food and dry cleaning, on site doctors and masseuses, and gives them all the resources they need to succeed. Even today, with a workforce of more than 23,000, Larry Page signs off on every hire. But has Google lost its innovative edge? It stumbled badly in China, and the author discloses what went wrong and how Brin disagreed with his peers on the China strategy. And now with its newest initiative, social networking, Google is chasing a successful competitor for the first time. Some employees are leaving the company for smaller, nimbler start ups. Can the company that famously decided not to be evil still compete?
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2011.
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781416596585
1416596585
Characteristics: v, 424 p. ; 25 cm.

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WVMLStaffPicks Aug 29, 2014

I have sometimes wondered; who are the engineers behind the simple, but extraordinarily powerful Google search box, Gmail, Google Earth and YouTube? And furthermore, how exactly did Google’s technologies and engineers affect massive, almost global change in such a short time? Wired Magazine columnist Stephen Levy was embedded at the Googleplex for three years where he observed and interviewed many key players. He answers both my questions and, as a bonus, shares amusing anecdotes and insights about Google’s workplace culture.

b
baylife
Jul 26, 2011

Fascinating history of Google and its creators. Have a much greater understanding of search engines and Silicon Valley ethos etc.

debwalker May 26, 2011

Levy was given full access to the company for two years and interviewed hundreds of current and former employees. Scary.

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