I just got back from a talk by Steven Levy, author of In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives. Levy spoke for about 45 minutes about how Google started with their revolutionary search engine technology, how they monetized their project through their ad-serving paradigm, and how from their philosophical basis of doing good for humanity they moved from their search engine into a host of other areas.
A fresh perspective on one of the biggest and fastest growing companies of our time was well worth the trip. The library director introduced the topic of Levy’s book by mentioning how Google has their hands and fingers in so much of our everyday lives, and more so every day. Throughout Levy’s talk and in my own self-reflection, I feel the weight of this point. Google finds the information I’m looking for on the internet. Google hosts my email. Google runs my cell phone. Google provides my web browser. Google tracks the web traffic for my sites. Google provides ads for my blog. Google lets me watch videos on YouTube. I interact with Google on a daily if not hourly basis.
What would the world be without Google? It would still be, but it would certainly be different.
Levy ended his talk by sharing part of one of his interviews with Google CEO Larry Page. After a two-hour interview, Page returned to Levy to add one last word. We are at a point technologically that what was once impossible is now possible, Page said; people only need to be more ambitious to take advantage of all these possibilities.
Along those lines, I hope to be sufficiently ambitious.
Want to read the full book? Buy it on Amazon.