Googled: The End of the World as We Know It - Ken Auletta Google revolutionized the search process and changed many forms of media. This book may be great for those who do not know technology but I found a lot of this book to be dull and hard to read. One of my biggest issues with this book is that Auletta will go on long diatribes about things but in the end are insignificant and just barely tie to Google. One example in the book, Auletta goes on for several pages about other media companies (not the first time either) and how they struggled in the changing internet environment. While this is important but it does not have anything to do, in my mind, in how Google is ending the world. Another thing I disliked about the book is there were a ton of names to keep track of! I pretty much ignored every name that was minor and/or I did know them (for example, Marc Andreesen). Lastly, I did not enjoy the times when Auletta jumps from topic to topic. There were parts, for example, on page 116, Auletta is discussing bringing Schmidt on board at Google. Then all of a sudden on page 117, Auletta is discussing the CEO of Sony Music. There were other little things but these were the most glaring.

While not a book I would automatically pick up at the library or bookstore, I did find many of the things interesting. It was interesting to read how the Google search engine works (pgs. 38-39), and how much both Brin and Page had similar backgrounds, and the perks that Google employees get (though I knew much of that). But overall, this book was just another book for me to read for school. It is not my type of book and not really all that enjoyable for me to read. There were some really great quotes. One of my favorite is from Amazon’s founder, Bezos: “Physical books won’t go away, just as horses won’t go away” (Auletta, 2009, pp. 314).

The strengths of this book relate to the reader but there are several that I feel are important. The first strength that I see in this book is that Ken Auletta is a true journalist. He presents facts and does not let his feelings about Google impose on the information, whether that is good or bad. For example, as a writer, Auletta has published several books and when writing about Google’s suit with the publishing companies he takes a very neutral tone even though he could be angry because he would lose money of Google had gotten to do what they wanted to (Auletta, 2009, pp. 125-126). The second strength is that Auletta does provide both positive examples of how Google has changed “our” world such as opening up things like Google Scholar to provide access to journal articles, but also negative aspects of Google that just did not work things like Gmail not having a delete function (Auletta, 2009, pp. 99).

There are weaknesses to this book, but they do not take away from the book be a source of information. The first weakness is that at times Auletta spends too much time and space talking about one person or another and making the reader think that this person is important only to find out that in the grand scheme of things, the person is not. For example on page 147-148, Auletta (2009) spends two pages taking about Jason Hirschhorn but Auletta never explains really why he is important to Google’s overall story. The second weakness is that many parts are very technical and confusing. One of these parts is the way Google’s AdSense program works (Auletta, 2009, pp. 21, 90-91).

These weakness seems minor to what I feel is a huge weakness. This weakness is that, I do not feel Auletta proved his thesis very well. I feel his thesis is that Google has changed the world so much we will not know what to do with ourselves or our technology. Do not get me wrong, Google has changed the western world, or for that matter the world. But it has not ended it. Google has definitely changed the way things are searched for, how media is played, and even how a company goes from being a privately held one to an open company. Nevertheless, the world has not completely ended. So Auletta’s title “the end of the world as we know it” is a bit misleading. He really should have titled it something to the effect, “Googled: how it changed the internet”. My guess he used the title for dramatics but again I harp back on my point in that the world is not ending. It is changing. And if that was his intended purpose, which I believe it was, and then by all means he proved his point. Google has changed the western world’s lives. From the way we search (i.e. PageRank, pages, 38-41), to the way books are searchable (125), and to social media (now with Google+), Google has definitely changed the internet.