Unofficially obsessed with Google.

Time Article on Google Reveals...Nothing

2/13/2006 02:52:00 PM
I opened my Bloglines this morning to find all of my feeds suggesting links to the Google story that was just released by Time Magazine ("In Search of the Real Google." None of these links seemed to have reviews, so Googlist will give you the quick rundown. For those of you who have read John Battelle's The Search or David Vise's The Google Story and/or read any other tell-all feature article on the company, the information is duplicative.

Basically, you get a glossed over description of Google's fetus stage at Stanford, its toddler year 1998 in a Silicon Valley garage, and the description of Google's formative years spent paying rent for a real office, garnering multiple venture capitalisters, and hiring the best of the best available management execs and engineers. You get to hear more about the ubiquitous toys, games, and banquets inside the Google campus and the laidback culture designed for comfortable, freeing, innovation. And then you have to muck through ruminations, speculations, and agitations about the future of GOOG stock, the ability of the company to stay on top of all of its diverse forays, and the general problem with being an "underdog" while at the same time being a billionaire corp. Don't forget the requisite Google v. Yahoo page and the "It's so damn hard to get a job at Google" paragraph. Yeah, has Time been following the tech industry at all for the past few years? This whole article really fails at delving into new territory for anyone remotely familiar with the company. So what's actually groundbreaking in terms of this article's informational content? What new stuff did we learn?

Here are the few things that made the article worth reading for Googlist:

  • Google's top 2 voted no on adding contextual advertisements to Google's image search. Something like under relevant pictures of bananas you might find text ads for Chiquita?

  • We do hear a cheeky little tid bit re: that ubiquitous slogan: "'There's a subtext to 'Don't be evil,' and that is 'Don't be illegal,'" says Vint Cerf, an Internet founding father who now serves as "chief Internet evangelist" at Google." Obvious, but admittedly I chuckled.

  • The article makes a conjecture over GBuy. So it's not just Digg readers who are passing this stuff around. "Real media" (in whatever way you want to think of it) is willing to dabble in the rumors as well.

Despite the less than revelatory feature article, Time does include a hilarious interview segment ("Meet the Google Guys"> with its questioner's interrogatives in blazing capital letters. Brin and Page do a predictably good job of avoiding tough questions, playing with legos, and generally courting nonchalance and ambiguity. I was hoping the top 2's answer to the question "HOW DOES IT FEEL TO SUDDENLY BE SO WEALTHY?" would include something about Boeing 767's rather than "money doesn't buy you happiness," but unfortunately no juicy bits there. Other bloggers are talking about the porn figure, though. The interview reveals that porn searches via Google apparently only number into the single digit percentages. If Zeitgeist weren't censored for non PG-rated searches, maybe we'd be able to back that up, but for now it's just positively skewed hype.

As for the third piece in Time's Google trilogy ("How to Be a Google Expert"), we'll just say that the included instructions on how to use quotation marks in a search are insulting to the readers of this blog.

In summary, Time's tell-all article really should just be one sentence: "Sorry, if y'all already know all this, but I'm gonna write it in a 10 page web article anyways..." This is probably all explained by one simple fact: that the author Adi Ignatius got his journalism stripes covering economics in Asia and Europe. Oh yeah, did we forget to remind you that Time is owned by AOL which understandably has reason to f*ck with Google? Not that the article sways that way exactly. I'm just saying...


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