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Monday, October 6, 2008

Planet Google (Book)

A new book by Randall Stross is out; it’s called “Planet Google” and covers Google’s beginnings but also their latest actions and troubles. It’s a very good, highly readable, well-researched and up-to-date introduction to the subject and will also offer bits and pieces of interest to those following Google more closely for longer. Randall both talked to Google employees and was there at one of Google’s Thank-God-It’s-Friday meetings (where employees can ask questions), but he also apparently had his ears close to the web to write the book. For instance, you’ll find blog sources and Friendfeed comments among the material.

This book broadly falls into the category of company biographies, like The Search by John Battelle or The Google Story by David Vise. Because Planet Google is so new, even more recent topics like Knol or OpenSocial are covered. (Google Chrome didn’t make it into the book, though.) The book also does a good job at avoiding to oversimplify certain patterns we can see with Google; for instance, the first chapter is called “Open and Closed,” describing both the ways Google opens up to the world – like via open source projects – but also the different ways in which they remain closed and non-transparent.

Here are some of the noteworthy bits from the book (with my emphasis):


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