Book Review: Google And The Mission To Map Meaning And Make Money

Google and the Mission to Map Meaning and Make MoneyGoogle And The Mission To Map Meaning And Make Money
by Bart Milner

Amazon: This book is a brief history of Cyberspace and Google’s fundamental contribution – a new search method that gives almost immediate access to the contents of billions of web pages.

It covers the rivalry with Yahoo! – once their closest partners, the competition with Microsoft and the success that made Google’s 2004 launch on NASDAQ inevitable and the struggle by the company’s founders to prevent that success from ruining their vision of how a 21st century engineering enterprise should be organised.

It traces the origins of the Internet in the work of Vannevar Bush, Ted Nelson and Tim Berners-Lee and the serendipity of the Google founders’ breakthrough discovery of a technology of hypertextual and contextual search developed at Stanford University, after the failure of dozens of earlier Search engines, and their subsequent development of targetted advertising which is already fundamentally transforming the future profits of both the Internet and printed newspapers and magazines industries.


I just completed reading this book. It was tough to finish because it’s not written like a conventional story with biography-style narrative. It’s more like a patchwork collection of ideas about the search industry and Google’s impact on it. A word of warning, if you want a nice background story of the people and the events behind the Google Internet company, this is not the book for you. The author actually states this in the book. I didn’t know before buying the book and perhaps if I did I would not have made the purchase in the first place, however I feel it has been worth my while to finish the book.

Google And The Mission To Map Meaning And Make Money teaches you about Internet search and the dream of creating meaningful search. Meaningful search technology’s goal is to provide the perfect meaning-within-context answer to every question a user may ask of it. This is not an easy goal because computers, and the technology behind them, have no way of accounting for meaning which is vital in human communications. Google made a solid step forward providing context and relevance using technologies such as PageRank, but it is still a far away off from mapping meaning.

The main reason this book is a beneficial read is to gain a better understanding about Internet search and Google methodology. If you are interested in Internet business and/or run your own business website this book is well worth a read to familiarise yourself with why and how Google changed the Internet search industry and why other sites such as AltaVista and Lycos fell behind and eventually faded from prominence. It also explains how Yahoo! survived and evolved from it’s original incarnation as a human built directory of links.

Considering the majority of web business site traffic comes from Internet search and will most likely only increase in the future as more and more people come to rely on the Internet to find things, keeping abreast of the developments in this industry, including an understanding of how it has changed in recent net history, should be a priority for any Internet entrepreneur. For this reason alone I recommend this book. If you want a good story, with interesting characters and entertaining events, I suggest you look elsewhere.

Rated 3 / 5

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