In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

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Simon and Schuster, Apr 12, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages
Written with full cooperation from top management, including cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, this is the inside story behind Google, the most successful and most admired technology company of our time, told by one of our best technology writers.

Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes readers inside Google headquarters—the Googleplex—to show how Google works.

While they were still students at Stanford, Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin revolutionized Internet search. They followed this brilliant innovation with another, as two of Google’s earliest employees found a way to do what no one else had: make billions of dollars from Internet advertising. With this cash cow, Google was able to expand dramatically and take on other transformative projects: more efficient data centers, open-source cell phones, free Internet video (YouTube), cloud computing, digitizing books, and much more.

The key to Google’s success in all these businesses, Levy reveals, is its engineering mind-set and adoption of such Internet values as speed, openness, experimentation, and risk taking. After its unapologetically elitist approach to hiring, Google pampers its engineers—free food and dry cleaning, on-site doctors and masseuses—and gives them all the resources they need to succeed. Even today, with a workforce of more than 23,000, Larry Page signs off on every hire.

But has Google lost its innovative edge? With its newest initiative, social networking, Google is chasing a successful competitor for the first time. Some employees are leaving the company for smaller, nimbler start-ups. Can the company that famously decided not to be evil still compete?

No other book has ever turned Google inside out as Levy does with In the Plex.
 

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User Review  - Darwa - LibraryThing

Overall a very interesting read. Having grown up in Silicon Valley and spending most of my working life tied to a computer, there are moments in the expansion of every major internet company that I ... Read full review

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User Review  - ffifield - LibraryThing

The story of Google from its inception to the present day (2011). An interesting look at one of the Internet's biggest companies. Read full review

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Contents

Prologue Searching for Google
1
Cracking the Code on Internet Profits
69
How Google Built Its Culture
121
Building Data Centers That Hold Everything Ever Written
167
The Google Phone Company and the Google TV Company
213
Googles Moral Dilemma in China
267
Is Whats Good for Google Good for Governmentor the Public?
315
Epilogue Chasing Taillights
369
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About the author (2011)

Steven Levy is editor at large at Wired magazine. The Washington Post has called him “America’s premier technology journalist.” His was previously founder of Backchannel and chief technology writer and senior editor for Newsweek. Levy has written seven previous books and his work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Harper’s Magazine, Macworld, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, The New Yorker, and Premiere. Levy has also won several awards during his thirty-plus years of writing about technology and is the author of several previous books including Facebook: The Inside Story; Insanely Great; The Perfect Thing; and In the Plex. He lives in New York City.

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