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Randall Stross

Planet Google

Google's search engine is so well known that we now have a verb: to google. But Google's aim of organising the world's information means that it is active in plenty of other areas besides web search. In Planet Google: How One Company is Transforming Our Lives Randall Stross describes some of the projects the company is currently involved in.

To maintain it's position Google needs to be aware of new ways in which people use the internet, and to gain a share of each new market. The book starts with a look at the competition between Google and the social networking site Facebook. We also hear about Google's acquisition of the video upload site YouTube, and it's plan to scan large numbers of the world's books. What I liked about this book was Stross' discussion of the issues involved in such cases. Is it reasonable that Google should disregard the objections of copyright holders? Should we be worried that Google is organising information that we think of as confidential? Stross also discusses the benefits and drawbacks of wholly algorithmic search results rather than those with some human input.

Some books about successful companies such as Google tend to concentrate on the areas in which they are most successful - search in the case of Google - rather than their future plans. I felt that this book gave a more detailed and up to date look at the world in which Google is operating, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the current state of the internet.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews