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The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture
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The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  5,190 ratings  ·  165 reviews
If you pick your books by their popularity--how many and which other people are reading them--then know this about The Search: it's probably on Bill Gates' reading list, and that of almost every venture capitalist and startup-hungry entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. In its sweeping survey of the history of Internet search technologies, its gossip about and analysis of Google ...more
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published September 23rd 2005 by Portfolio (first published 2005)
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 ·  5,190 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Dannii Elle
This chronicles the rise of the infamous Google corporation and discourses on the impact it has had on the structure of our lives and our web browsing experience. Whilst I did find it of interest, the information is now a little dated and technology has moved on from the time of publication. The later portion of the book focuses on projected estimations for Google's future, which is of little relevance to a modern-day reader. ...more
Mar 26, 2016 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
Phil Simon
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was ok
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
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
Krishna Chaitanya
Nov 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Firstly, the book is much more than about Google as a company. As the title, suggests it is about the Search, a nact to find information and an intent to do something. Of the several concepts the book introduces the most interesting one is the Database of Intentions, with all our searches, we are building a Database of Intentions. This helps us to understand the power of internet and the cultural impact it has.

As the book was first published in 2005, reading it in 2020, might not help the curren
Al Doan
Feb 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hardknockmba-com
(My review from HardKnockMBA.com)

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
Avisek Barla
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sergey and Larry, met in Stanford in 1995. Sergey, a second year computer science PhD Candidate was giving a campus tour to prospective students who wanted to join Stanford. Larry Page, who was inclined towards mathematics, was an outgoing extrovert, something Sergey didn't like much. But both of them would end up solving an important problem of indexing websites. It was trivial to find new pages one after another, but there was no way to find out what pages were linked back to a webpage. Enter ...more
Gokhan Dirioz
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Even though the info in this book is now outdated; it still serves as an inspirational story even today.
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
Otis Chandler
Dec 14, 2006 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, business
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 rated it it was amazing
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!
Shahamat Shakir
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bob Page
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you have any interest in search or how Google came to be, this is fascinating and relevant even 12 years later. Of particular interest to me was how Bill Gross invented what would be Google's AdWords model: he was running multiple companies that desperately needed good, qualified traffic, and realized that he'd be willing to pay far more for differentiated traffic than the 5-7 cents he was paying for bad traffic via banner ad clicks. It was obvious to him (way back then) that search engines c ...more
Josh Hamacher
Mar 11, 2021 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
I was about halfway through this book when I realized that a) I just didn't care about this book and b) I really disliked the writing style. I don't know who Battelle is - apparently something about Wired, which I was never a fan of - but he seems to be a master of using a thousand words to describe either a trivial concept or something nonsensical - and it's hard to tell which. His breathless account of a dystopian future in which advertising is the absolute foundation of reality - painfully cl ...more
Alice Yang
Jan 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Witty and sophisticated in its style, this book is a treasure that recorded the evolving changes of the “search” business through early internet age. Going so far to the technology fundamentals yet also showcases the boom and bust of the late 1990 tech bubbles. A must-read if you want to understand the tech business, or to understand how the tech field has become what it is like today.

Highly recommended.
Bruce Rowe
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you want to understand the history of search engines, and the start of Google, this is an essential book. If you don't care about that stuff, it's not for you (even though it still is really interesting) ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amazing business story that I read during my MBA studies. This is a must read for all business candidates and helps us understand the concept of market busting ideas. Really enjoyed the background information about Google.
3.75 / 5.0

Nice historical sketch. Forecast of future trends is emblematic of how fast things have developed. current state of Search is orders of magnitude past what he envisioned. Well organized and easy to read and understand
Drone Immobilier
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantastic Book to read.

Contact Drone Immobilier:
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Quick read surrounding the origination of search engines and the growth of Google. Interesting to see the evolution and how quickly the progression was made.
Tadas Mankevicius
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great book for those willing to understand the evolution of search engine. Well written, however, outdated for today's world. Worth reading anyway. ...more
Mike Ncube
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: marketing
An interesting read on the beginnings of the search industry as we know it today and the biggest player in the industry: Google.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very well done. It's 15 years later and it's still amazing how Battelle lays the foundation and predicts today's future. A must-read, even today ...more
Varun Sharma
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked it, as the book chronicled the evolution of Search on internet.
Marcus Goncalves
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an old book by now, but covers how search engines work and the story of Google's creation. It was educational but a bit slow and a bit tedious to read. Overall I still liked it though. ...more
Anders Gränfors

Unfortunatly John have not published any more books abort Google. We have to read his blogg Instead. Enjoy the journey.
Apr 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating history of new tech age or more specifically internet age
Scott Dinsmore
Jul 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: critiqued, favorites
Like any other book worthy of a read on Google and its antics, this compilation too does not disappoint its readers, willing to dive deep to understand the content and grasp the technical-business aspects of Google Search Engine, the mention of which forms the core to the various other relative information provided in the 320 pages hardcover. The author in no way falls short of giving a complete insight into the 'The Search' facilitated by the work of the legend named Page-Rank Algorithm. In add ...more
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