Book Review: The Search
Just finished reading The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture by John Battelle. This is a must-read for anybody trying to make sense of where Web search fits into our profession. By "profession", I'm thinking primarily -- but not exclusively -- of law librarianship. Battelle is not a law librarian or a professional searcher, by the way.
It's not a how-to search book like you'd get from O'Reilly or Information Today. It's not a guide for using Google AdWords to grow your business. It not a history of the Internet. (There are way too many of them already.) And it's not a Wow-The-Future-Will-Be-Soooo-Cool book, either. (Although there is a touch of that in a couple of the chapters.)
The main thread of the book is this. Before Google, search was moribund. Google saved search. For Google to survive short-term, they had to generate cash. AdWords did that for them. (And changed the advertising industry as well.) For long-term survival, they had to do their famous IPO.
So far, none of this really interests me professionally. But the next step in the story does -- competition. Google v. Yahoo v. MSN v. Amazon v. eBay. That's what's driving innovation: desktop search, local search, multimedia search, and more. We as searchers are the beneficiaries of this battle for supremecy among the Big 5.
Get the book. The perspective on your profession is worth the 26 bucks.