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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Google Guys

Inside the Brilliant Minds of Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin

'Good Luck. I've been trying to do that for some years"- said Google CEO Eric Schmidt after being told the title of this book. Truly, if only one could go even a little bit inside their minds, one would have so much to learn and absorb.

Between the two of them, Larry the main strategist with a practical and Sergey the technologist and idealist, they have taken Google to great heights, using their infinite wisdom, akin to the number of o's in a Google search page.

This book aims to trace the milestones of Google and thereby understand what makes them do what they are doing.

The most important thought behind the Google brains is – how can I make the experience of the user better. How to best focus on the need of the user? And above all, is how best to do it without being evil.

This last sentence is all that a reader needs to fall in love with Google- as an organization, as a tool or as a search engine.

The book begins with a parallel drawn to the Great Library of Alexandria- created by Ptolemy I a childhood friend of Alexander the Great. Ptolemy created this library in 300BC and it was the greatest library in the world for 300 years. Ptolemy and his descendants ruthlessly collected all written work from world over, sometimes by fair means and sometimes by not and made them available at one place.

Practically this is what Google is doing. Making information available on the fingertips. Starting with a simple search Google has surpassed itself beyond anyone's imagination. One can now search photographs, videos and books- the recreating of Ptolemy's impossible dream in virtual format.

Each and every aspect that is Google today is explained threadbare in this book, from a seemingly minor thing like the frugal number of words used on Google page to make the page clean and clutter free to the very important privacy officer of Google who decides what information is allowed to appear on the search pages and what videos can come on Youtube.

What I most like about this book is that it reads like a storybook, a fantastic thriller that one is living in. One knows Google for as long as one is exposed to the Internet. Thereby this book is interesting even for a normal user of Internet like me who is technologically challenged. The anecdotes make the book really interesting and that is why I was hooked on to it for a long time even though I was most disappointed in getting this book unsolicited from Penguin.

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