Google It: A History of Google

240p. bibliog. photos. reprods. Feiwel & Friends. Aug. 2018. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250148223.
Gr 6 Up—This readable and breezy history of the tech behemoth begins with the 1995 meeting of cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University, where Google (initially called BackRub) began as their doctoral thesis. Short chapters dip back to Page's and Brin's childhoods, then rapidly trace the company's time line to the present, providing ample context, which is particularly important, given that the intended audience is likely to need some background on business and tech concepts and to imagine how life was before Google. Well-placed images, callouts, and short interstitial chapters ("Not To Drone on, but…") add humor, clarify noteworthy points, and underscore the strong sense of pacing. Although the consistently cheerful tone is inviting and contributes to ease of reading, it also glosses over some more problematic aspects of Google and Alphabet, its umbrella company. Recent news about YouTube (an Alphabet subsidiary) has ranged from disheartening to disturbing, while controversy has swirled regarding Google's handling of diversity initiatives. Difficult issues, such as the compromise with the Chinese government over censorship, are mentioned, but Redding stops short of questioning whether Google has strayed from its famous ethical motto: "Don't be evil." Instead Page, Brin, and Google are cast as central (and largely sympathetic) figures in a narrative of conquest.
VERDICT An appealing and timely look at a universally relevant subject and a good fit for STEAM-related reading lists.

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