Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Ryan Singel
Search Engine Watch
Matt Cutts
T.D. Wilson

John Battelle

The Search

In The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture John Battelle looks at the development of internet search engines. Starting in the early days with Yahoo starting as a list of sites, and Alta Vista as a program to demonstrate DEC hardware, he explains how search was considered unimportant - what businesses were aiming at was the status of a portal. Then the internet bubble burst, but somehow Google managed to buck the trend and make a rapidly growing business out of pure search.

Battelle doesn't just look at the history of internet businesses, he also examines what people want out of search engines, with the final chapter looking to the future of search. I felt that the book lacked focus a bit here. This wouldn't have been so much of a problem when it was published, but it is over two years old now, and that's a long time in search engine history. I feel it would have survived the test of time better if Battelle had looked more critically at the issues - is it time, for instance, for a return to human edited databases, moving away from the purely algorithmic approach which gave Google such success. If you're interested in a broad overview of the issues of search, though, then you may well find this book worth reading info
Paperback 336 pages  
ISBN: 1591841410
Salesrank: 1209902
Published: 2006 Portfolio
Amazon price $16.18
Marketplace:New from $4.00:Used from $0.10
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Paperback 336 pages  
ISBN: 1857883624
Salesrank: 997057
Weight:0.93 lbs
Published: 2006 Nicholas Brealey Publishing
Marketplace:New from £52.05:Used from £0.10
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Paperback 336 pages  
ISBN: 1591841410
Salesrank: 1033848
Weight:0.55 lbs
Published: 2006 Portfolio
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 18.75:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
What does the world want? According to John Battelle, a company that answers that question—in all its shades of meaning—can unlock the most intractable riddles of business and arguably of human culture itself. And for the past few years, that’s exactly what Google has been doing.


But The Search offers much more than the inside story of Google’s triumph. It’s a big-picture book about the past, present, and future of search technology and the enormous impact it’s starting to have on marketing, media, pop culture, dating, job hunting, international law, civil liberties, and just about every other sphere of human interest.