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The Search: How Google And Its Rivals Rewrote The Rules Of Business And Transformed Our Culture

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  3,972 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
The rise of Google is one of the most amazing stories of our time. Jumping into the search industry long after Yahoo!, AltaVista, Lycos, and other competitors, Google offered a radical new approach to search, redefined the idea of viral marketing, and in just seven years became the largest IPO in the history of Silicon Valley. Google's enormous impact straddles the worlds ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 22nd 2005 by Nicholas Brealey Publishing (first published 2005)
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Phil Simon
May 18, 2012 Phil Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few weeks ago, I saw a list of the best business books of all time. I was a bit proud of myself that I had read most of them--at had at least heard of the rest. For whatever reason, though, one book had escape me over the years: The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture. I was more than five years late, but figured that I owed it to myself to give it a read.

I'm glad that I did.

I had seen Battelle on Bloomberg West and he was particularly sm
Jul 23, 2008 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Don Pederson
I first used the internet sometime around 1993, when it seemed gopher was still where all the good information was, or maybe I just wasn't in the know since most of my direction was from a deadtree book of listings. I quickly grew to love the internet in college, and Altavista was the clear best choice for search until someone introduced me to Google and I saw it was clearly better. I have been paying attention to things technical and their social ramifications since 2000.

Thus there was not a gr
Mar 26, 2016 Supratim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
The word Search in large font size and the word "Google" just below it had attracted my attention towards this book. Initially, I thought this book is about Google and its impact on internet search but later discovered that the main focus of the book is search and understandably Google emerges as the central player.

This book is the revised edition which was published in 2006 and given the very nature of technology some of the technological stuff and rival players to Google discussed in the boo
Otis Chandler
Most stuff in this book I already knew (90%). But hearing it in a cohesive story is a great way to fodder new ideas - if you wanna think about the internet and where its going, its a great primer - and a quick read too.

Hearing the the Goto/Overture story was interesting. While it sounds obvious, its an impressive insight by Bill Gross that traffic with an intent (ie search traffic) is worth more than random traffic, and that if you played arbitrage in the middle you could make a lot of money. I
Sep 19, 2013 Shiri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book in the history of commercial search engines, including (but not limited to) Google. Must read for anyone in the field; highly recommend for non technical readers as well!
Al Doan
Feb 20, 2010 Al Doan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: techies and business students
Recommended to Al by: E Jacobson
Shelves: hardknockmba-com
(My review from

So this was an interesting pick (it was on the top of the stack) for my first read in this endeavor, primarily because it isn’t necessarily a ‘business book’ in the traditional sense, so I had to approach it a bit differently, but it still proved rather insightful, and an enjoyable read for a techie like me.

The Search goes over the tale of how the search industry came about, starting with Archie and Gopher then Yahoo and GoTo and finally the arrival of Google. Th
Feb 24, 2017 Eunice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few weeks ago, I saw a list of the best business books of all time. I was a bit proud of myself that I had read most of them--at had at least heard of the rest. For whatever reason, though, one book had escape me over the years: The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture. I was more than five years late, but figured that I owed it to myself to give it a read.
Scott Dinsmore
Jul 09, 2009 Scott Dinsmore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why I Read this Book: The Internet search industry is dominating our web experience and Google is leading the pack. I wanted to understand this phenomenon as best as possible. This is a must read for anyone who currently has an online business/website or who is looking to create one.


Anyone who is reading this must be somewhat familiar with the Internet and with Internet search (that is probably how you got here). The truth of the matter is that even to the non tech savvy, the odds are tha
Cik Aini
Watak Utama:
Ini adalah buku 'non-fiction', maka tidak wujud watak-watak melainkan yang benar.

Tentang Apa Buku Ini:
Industri 'pencarian' @ 'search engine' pada masa kini. Sangat menarik, digarap daripada kisah sebenar tentang industri tersebut. Permulaan mengisahkan 'evolving trend' industri ini, kisah-kisah 'search engine' sebelum Google, kisah Google, kejayaan yang dikecapi Google, cabaran-cabaran lain yang dihadapi Google, terutamanya berkaitan dengan kemasukan syarikat gergasi itu ke Tanah Bes
John Battelle's The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture, asks this question on page 13: "What, in the end, might search tell use about ourselves and the global culture we are creating together online?" That to me is a profoundly interesting question, but Battelle's book doesn't explore it nearly enough. He raises all the right questions in the first chapter of his book, but then he takes readers off into a story about the decisions and play ...more
Daniel Solera
I read this book a few years ago and decided to re-read it to see if its insight into the veritable cultural force still holds its relevance. Though it is already dated by today’s standards (the book’s most recent publication was five years ago), it is still a very interesting read.

John Battelle is a definite Google fanboy, taking only slightly critical angles when necessary, and giving the internet supergiant heaps of kudos where deserved. The book deals with Google’s history only briefly (for
Dane Cobain
Apr 21, 2013 Dane Cobain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's get the obvious out of the way first - my copy of this book was published in 2005. Now, that might not seem like a huge revelation, but eight years is a long time in the age of the internet - in fact, Facebook didn't even exist when the book was written, at least in not in any recognisable form.

This book is so old that even Yahoo, the lumbering behemoth that eventually collapsed under its own weight, is listed as a major Google competitor, claiming 24% of the search market compared to Goog
Nicholas Moryl
The first half is an interesting history of search, going back to nearly the origins of the internet, and a brief history of Google through ~2005. Since the book was published in late 2005, it has some of the same issues as "The Facebook Effect"--namely, the company the author is studying is too young to really know who or what within it will have true long-term importance. Obviously the core search product was important at the time, and AdWords, but beyond that it wasn't clear why Google was go ...more
Oct 05, 2015 Mizzourah619yahoo.Com rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
Good book, but if want to get the best insider/investigative look at this cutting edge; ever evolving company, you will need to upgrade your Google books as often as you upgrade your computer. If you know nothing about Google other than, "it's that internet search thingy" this might be a good book for you as it supplies a concise narrative history of the company's origins, founding members, its initial successes and failures. However, the story ends sometime between 2003-2006 which basically mak ...more
May 26, 2007 Seth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Battelle expends a vast amount of his energy and my time describing the history of the web and search in general before finally getting to the real point of the book "how Google and its rivals rewrote the rules of business and transformed our culture." For roughly the first 180 pages, I was tempted to cast this book aside, but when I crossed that boundary, I found his analysis of the potential for search as a knowledge and economic commodity both engaging and exciting.

The book suffers somew
Ricardo Roman
May 02, 2008 Ricardo Roman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Buscar es la historia del desarrollo de motor de búsqueda, desde los inicios de internet hasta google y lo que venga como búsqueda perfecta. Está lejos de ser un libro técnico, sino que es casi una novela llena de emociones, desafíos y aventuras. Logra comunicar las emociones de los innovadores y emprendedores que han desarrollado esta industria. Tiene aristas de negocio, científicas, tecnológicas y hasta políticas.

No se entenderá el fenómeno cultural/económico que es internet si no se entiende
Gautam Soman
This book is not just about Google, but about the search economy at large. Nevertheless, Google features in each and every chapter and most of the discussion revolves around the rise of company so far and its future prospects. Battelle begins with a background of search before Google. Next, he describes the lives of Google founders: Larry Page & Sergey Brin and their days at Stanford and the first days of the company. This is followed by rise of Google rise and its historic IPO. The book con ...more
Jun 16, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tech, non-fiction
A cool look at the evolution of the internet through search engines - not just Google, but also the earlier-generation Webcrawler, Excite, AltaVista, etc - and the respective business models behind them. Much of the book details how Google went from 2 employees to thousands, from private to public, and managed unprecedented amount of growth, though the chapter I found most interesting was "Search, Privacy, Government, Evil". Even though it was written in 2005, the issues presented - Google's eng ...more
Oct 19, 2011 Netz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
atpit, i'm really new to this kind of reading. this only being my second book of this kind.
i was surprised, how easy "John Batelle" made this book for the reader, or in my case listener, to understand.
upfront i was a little afraid that a history of algorithms & semantic could be a little tedious - but it wasn't! not at all.
this is a good insight into the business side of search, showing how google,coming in late, fared to other big guns. it really is amazing how apparently small difference
Sean Sullivan
This book is two things – first, it is a detailed and interesting look at how searching online has changed over the last ten years, and how the refinement of the process has made the internet the usable tool it is today. It’s a pretty basic idea, really, if you can’t find shit, the internet is basically useless.

Secondly, the book is a look at what makes Google* so special. If Batelle is to believed what makes Google different is a, a belief in the ability of science fixing any problem and b, a
Erika RS
Thisis a history of search and search engines with a focus on Google. Battelle also discusses the social significance of search.

I found the most interesting part of the book to be the history of different search engine companies and how their attitude towards search changed over time. The basic overview of how search works might be interesting to people who do not know it already. The commentary on the effect of search had the potential to be interesting but was not -- it came across as scattere
Tim Kadlec
The Search is a good, but not great, book detailing Google's ascension to the top of the search world. It's interesting to hear the background story of how Google came about, and some of the other companies whose efforts paved the way.

My only complaints with the book are that the author appears to be rather biased in favor of Google and that now, a few years after publication, some of the insights are a bit dated (though to be fair, that is to be expected with a book about such a fast-moving com
Bojan Tunguz
Apr 05, 2011 Bojan Tunguz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was well written and provided enough information to keep me glued to it. However, I was really hoping to find out more about Google than what would be possible from Google's own PR machine. The early search engine history and the development of that technology is probably the more fascinating part of the book. Which is ironic, since the book is supposed to be primarily about Google. My guess is that the author sacrificed the ability to write about more ...more
Leah Hess
It fascinates me to think of the dawn of the search engine. Battelle recollects how search engines began and have evolved since. Information is readily available with the click of a button--and Google is the top contender. This search engine has branched out to bring users e-mail, blogs (yes, Blogger is Google's blog platform), shopping, and a wealth of other information and resources.

The only preface I have going into reading this novel is to recognize that it was written in 2005. In the world
Nov 26, 2007 Manda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone intrested in
The Search is an amazing book! It has somehow managed to tell the story of Google's overnight success and its continuing potential in a novel like manner that is easy to follow. It tells an incredible story about the past, present, and future of search technology, and the enormous impact it is starting to have on marketing, dating, media, pop culture, shopping, job hunting, people finding, civil liberties, and just about every other element of human interest.

This book is a must read for anyone
Jul 17, 2007 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of Founders At Work
I have had this book for over a year but I just started adn finished reading it (read along with Audible is my style) this weekend. I should have read it sooner. Lot's of great info on the history of search. I though I should finally read it after doing some blog posts about the state of SEO. Luckily, I was not too far off on some of the assumptions I made (or maybe just read/heard somewhere else can cannot remember where).

I wish John talked a little more about the browsers wars throughout the b
Evanston Public  Library
Every day, with a click, hundreds of millions of people search: for news, for deals, for jobs, for love. Google has become the primary gateway for instant knowledge. Its archives are, increasingly, the “database of the world’s intentions,” to use John Battelle’s apt phrase. Battelle lucidly explains the search technologies (such as PageRank, kind of an instant measure of webpage popularity) that fueled Google’s rise to dominance. He also traces the personal histories and goals of its founders. T ...more
Sam Motes
Search gives a good history of the early players in search including offerings such as Veronica, Web Crawler, GoTo, AltaVista and others and pointed out where they stumbled along the way and lead to MSN, Yahoo, and today's dominance of Google. It reviews the key pieces of search including the link crawlers, the indexer, analyzing the indexes from and back to a page, and the secret sauce of each offering in its algorithms that determine what results are returned. The first third of the book cover ...more
Tom Schulte
John Battelle, having helped launch Wired in the 1990s and launched The Industry Standard during the dot-com boom, has the credentials and background to tell the story of searching the internet for fun and profit, by he could have chosen a better narrator than himself for the audiobook version.

The earliest history of searching especially the rise and fall of such early fore-runners as Lycos, Excite and Alta Vista is very interesting. The book's final act is a look forward, but the at Internet sp
Sep 25, 2008 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book for the ideas and brain storming it provoked. Before reading this book I took for advantage what search engines like GOOGLE do for me on a daily basis. It is no long just a search engine for me. I use it to check spelling and sometimes meanings as well. I use a search engine to go to places I already know because it is nice to see where I'm going before I commit to go there (do not want to confuse two different site that may have similar addresses). Last but not least I searc ...more
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“Gross’s core insight, the one that now drives the entire search economy, is that the search term, as typed into a search box by an Internet user, is inherently valuable—it can be priced.” 0 likes
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