I'm just over half-way through Steven Levy's In the Plex: How Google thinks, works, and shapes our lives, and wanted to jot down a few notes (and remove the sticky I have marking a quote).
The early chapters aren't going to give you much new information if you've been a Google follower for a while, but there are some details I hadn't known before. About a third of the way through, as Levy starts discussing Google's move to the cloud, is when I started to find it more interesting. The following quote is the one that I marked with a sticky, as it reminded me a lot of one of the points I use to try to promote Summon here on campus:
Whether due to pathological impatience or a dead-on conviction that speed is chronically underestimated as a factor in successful products, Page had been insisting on faster delivery for everything Google from the beginning. The minimalism of Google's home page, allowing for lightning-quick loading, was the classic example. But early Google also innovated by storing cached versions of web pages on its own servers, for redundancy and speed. "Speed is a feature," says Urs Holzle. "Speed can drive usage as much as having bells and whistles on your product. People really underappreciate it. Larry is very much on that line." - p. 184
About the only beef I have with the book so far is Levy's tendancy to gloss over Google's misses. Oops, I was about to write how I seemed to recall that Gmail launched w/o the ability to search, something not acknowledged by Levy, but then I did my own search and realized it was Google Reader that didn't acquire search for a while :-0. Ahem. So ok, there was one other failure he glossed over with a single sentence, but I didn't mark that one, and now I can't find it. I guess that's a pretty little nit to pick!
I'll post again if I find the rest of the book remarkable. Onward with my first non-fiction title in months!