In the beginning, the World Wide Web was exciting and open to the point of anarchy, a vast and intimidating repository of unindexed confusion. Into this creative chaos came Google with its dazzling mission—“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible”—and its much-quoted motto, “Don’t be evil.” In this provocative book, Siva Vaidhyanathan examines the ways we have used and embraced Google—and the growing resistance to its expansion across the globe. He exposes the dark side of our Google fantasies, raising red flags about issues of intellectual property and the much-touted Google Book Search. He assesses Google’s global impact, particularly in China, and explains the insidious effect of Googlization on the way we think. Finally, Vaidhyanathan proposes the construction of an Internet ecosystem designed to benefit the whole world and keep one brilliant and powerful company from falling into the “evil” it pledged to avoid.
Siva Vaidhyanathan is the Robertson Family Professor of Media Studies and Law and Chair of the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia, and the author of Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity and The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash between Freedom and Control Is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System.
“Eloquent and urgent public thinking of the rarest kind, on a subject with the most encompassing implications for our world. Please read it today.”- Jonathan Lethem, author of The Fortress of Solitude
"While there have been other books chronicling the company's amazing rise, I know of none that looks so broadly and smartly, soberly but entertainingly, at the implications of this giant new global fact of life. Siva Vaidhyanathan has set the table brilliantly for one of the most important conversations of the early 21st century."- Kurt Andersen, author of Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values and Renew America and radio host, Studio 360
"Vaidhyanathan is everything you could want in a cultural critic: funny, fantastically readable, and insightful as hell. It's always a treat when a new Vaidhyanathan comes out."—Cory Doctorow, author of For the Win and co-editor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net)
"Siva Vaidhyanathan's lively, thoughtful, and wide-ranging book makes clear, in detail, how Google is reshaping the way we live and work. He finds much to admire, but also challenges us to not only use Google's services, but to go beyond them to create a new and genuinely democratic information order."—Anthony Grafton, author of Codex in Crisis
“A provocative and irreverent book that aims to knock the Google-dust out of our eyes and teach us to be much more aware of the ruthless logic of Google’s growing power over how we view information and understand our world.”- Pamela Samuelson, Berkeley Law School
"This is a critically important book because it's really about the Googlization of All of Us. This is a brilliant meditation on technology, information, and consumer inertia, as well as an ambitious challenge to change how, where, why, and what we Google. Vaidhyanathan forces us to think long and hard about taking responsibility for what we all know and how we know it."—Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate Magazine
“This is such an important book—courageous and wise, with not an ounce of blather or hyperbole. Vaidhyanathan reminds us that ‘We are not Google’s customers: we are its products,’ and then explores the many profound implications of this reality. It’s going to be a long Age of Google, and we’re going to need this book throughout.” - David Shenk, author of Data Smog and The Genius in All of Us
“A powerful and gripping tour de force. Siva Vaidhyanathan uses Google to examine our capacity for blind faith and to worship innovation as an end in itself. You cannot read this book and remain unstirred.”-Tim Wu, author of The Master Switch and Professor, Columbia Law School
"This is an important and timely topic, and Vaidhyanathan's head and heart are in the right place to guide the public through the thickets of 'googlization'."—Paul Duguid, co-author of The Social Life of Information
"Finely written and engaging, this is a book for anyone who has used Google."—Toby Miller, author of Makeover Nation: The United States of Reinvention