In general I tend to devour books, ones that I like anyway. I just get so into them that I can’t put them down – except for maybe food. This approach to reading is unrealistic with a young child in the house, so I’ve had to adapt and read things in a more piecemeal fashion. The Search is ideal in that John Battelle has broken the text into nice bitesized chunks as if he had anticipated my dilema.
What I like about the book is that it isn’t just the story of Google, and doesn’t show too much reverence to the world’s favorite search engine. JB rightly points out that search was important before Google, even if both the early pioneers and users didn’t quite realise. Plenty of credit, and comisseration, goes to the companies like AltaVista and GoTo.com (now Overture) which were the companies that could have been King. There’s also a deserved focus on the companies that rely on their place in search result that have got caught up in the crossfire of the war against search spam (and therefore forced to buy AdWords to get their traffic back).
Of course like all the best reviewers I haven’t actually read the whole book yet – it’ll probably take me another couple of weeks to find some time to finish it, and I just couldn’t wait. If I find that Battelle completely screws it up in the last quarter of the book, I’ll come back and update this.