Richie's Picks: GOOGLE IT: A HISTORY OF GOOGLE by Anna Crowley Redding, Feiwel & Friends, August 2018, 240p., 978-1-250-14822-3
"I want my MTV"
-- Sting, appearing on Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" (1985). Back in the 1980s, I watched a lot of MTV. These days, I get my music video fix anytime I want to by visiting Google's YouTube website.
I wanted to know what year that song was released, so I googled it.
Meet Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google:
"In 2009, thirty years after Sergey and his family arrived in the United States, Sergey gave $1 million to the agency that helped his family escape Russia and resettle in Maryland. In 2017, when US President Donald Trump announced an immigration order banning travel to the United States from several Muslim-majority countries, Sergey joined the crowd of protesters at San Francisco's airport saying, 'I am here because I am a refugee.'"
"Larry's father was a computer science and artificial intelligence professor at Michigan State University. Talk about a pioneer! His mother had a master's degree in computer science and worked as a database consultant'I think I was the first kid in my elementary school to turn in a word-processed document,' Larry recalled in an interview."
In the 1990s, as PhD students at Stanford, Sergey and Larry teamed up on a thesis project in which they sought to determine the relative popularity of each of the then-clunky 10 million pages on the web.
"...Your popularity isn't measured by how many people you like; it's by how many people like you.
Studying the structure of the internet, Larry discovered a similar truth. It's not how many sites you link to that matters. What matters is how many sites link to your page. The more sites that link to you, the more relevant, substantial, and credible your site is."
Borrowing and stealing computer hardware from around the Stanford University campus in order to get started, Larry and Sergey embarked upon the academic project that eventually became Google, now a behemoth company whose products I rely upon on a daily--often hourly--basis:
I'm drafting this review in a Google doc, which is stored in my Google Drive. I access it by using Chrome, the Google web browser installed in my Chromebook laptop. When the review is complete, I'll use my Google mail account to send it to various listservs. I took a break from working on the review when Google Calendar reminded me to head off to my dental appointment. And no matter what I'm working on, I constantly use Google's search engine to get answers to my questions.
Having spent the majority of my life before Larry and Sergey created Google, I really appreciate being able to retrieve information at home, day or night, whenever I have a question or a notion.
Anna Crowley Redding has written a fantastic, comprehensible history of Google that most American middle school and high school students will be able to follow, despite the fact that it includes many revolutionary and mind-blowing technical and information-related concepts. It's fun and exciting to read, not only about where Google came from but, also, where it's heading. Copious graphics, sidebars, and photos enliven and enhance the presentation.
We learn how today's Google can afford to devote time and money to "moonshots"-- attempts to solve any number of human problems without worrying whether a particular quest will lead to a successful, money-making product. I am awed by the breadth of projects described by the author that are currently underway at Google
For many young readers, GOOGLE IT will also provide a great introduction to concepts about creating and growing businesses that kids don't typically encounter in their reading.
Google is a constant in the lives of today's young people and GOOGLE IT explains, in an appealing and understandable fashion, how this company became an everyday presence.
Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com