The Google Story
someone who spends many hours a day immersed in the Google search engine
site, to see a paperback on the Bookazine shelves called The Google Story
(written by David Vise, ISBN 0-330-44005-5, Random House 2005) meant that it
could not be passed up. One could almost say my search was over!
On the surface of it all, when you consider that two
boffins (bright boffins, I must admit) were worth over 1 billion dollars
each by the time they were 31 years old, it puts all of our own exploits in
Google was “invented” by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in
1998 and was singular by their dependence on each other, but with
independence from everyone else. However, Google did not propel them to
stardom overnight. As author Vise writes, “Inspiration still required plenty
The first feature is that Google was not just another
piece of fancy software that could pluck reference pages out of the
ionosphere, or wherever all that internet information lives, but the two
founders also made the necessary hardware for their own computer to work the
software. They made these themselves, using standard commercially available
PCs, housed in Lego blocks!
For those who have never “googled” for information and
perhaps cannot see the need for such a service, author Vise states it very
neatly, “In an uncertain world, Google reliably provides free information
for everyone who seeks it. It is a seductive form of instant gratification
for their minds.”
The book chronicles the exploits of the two university
friends as they began to build up their company, using some fairly noble
ideals to help them progress. “Don’t be evil” being their credo.
The concept would have failed if the two founders did not
believe implicitly in what they were doing, but amazingly did not really
know how to capitalize on their creation. In the early stages, they were
literally borrowing money to buy more PCs to keep their hardware side of it
with enough capacity, as they downloaded even more pages from the internet.
Like all “public” utilities, Google’s funding now comes
from advertising, but not the crass banners that you see everywhere else.
Google brought in the “Sponsored Links”, which run down the right hand side
of the page. Every time you click on one, you are authorizing that company
to pay revenue to Google. Enough companies made more than enough profit.
However, it didn’t stop there. Google was forced into the
public arena when its shares became available to the public, forcing up its
share price to where it is today, making the company worth billions. And
that’s dollars, not baht, allowing it to expand over the world and into
everything, even genetic research.
At B. 450, it is a fascinating read. It can hold you like
a good novel, and though occasionally repetitive, does show you enough of
the internal workings of the company for you to understand the working
environment. Do you work for an employer who will give you 20 percent of
your working time just to follow and develop your own projects? Google does.