Monday, March 2, 2009

What Would Google Do?

What Would Google Do?, by Jeff Jarvis
$17.81 in the Hansisgreat Gift Shop
ISBN: 9780061709715
We live in confusing times. Rapid advances in technology have changed the way we think and go about our business in just the span of a few decades.
Consider the Internet: developed by the Department of Defense as a method of communication in case public infrastructure failed, it is now a major media that is beginning to eclipse television, radio, books, and movies. To Google we owe the tremendous leap forward of organizing the whole thing, and doing it for free.
In this book, a combination economics guide and current affairs story, Jeff Jarvis proposes that all businesses need to adapt to Google's model or face extinction. The Internet has taken commerce out of the hands of the old men in the boardroom and placed it squarely in the lap of the average consumer. Now anyone with a working laptop can compete with the largest Fortune 500 corporation.
Starbucks has made great strides in imitating the Google model. Its website gives customers the oppurtunity to give the company ideas, and other customers the chance to comment on them. This has not only brought the company plenty of good suggestions from consumers who use their products on a regular basis, but also a tsunami of swirling media attention as customers race to contribute their ideas and comment on the ones others have offered.
Most interesting of all are Jarvis' comments on the book business, close to my own heart. Paper books are frozen in time, unable to be updated as new information comes to light and incapable of linking to other sources. Additionally, they kill trees, and rely on "blockbusters" for survival: there are only a few winners while most books remained unsold and unread.
While the publishing industry has often viewed the Internet with suspiscion, fearing that their products will be pirated in the same ways that plague the movie and music industries, Google actually helps authors by helping readers find and enjoy their books, which survive longer and spread their messages wider.
WWGD is a cutting edge look at the new century, similar to The World Is Flat. It was easy to read, fascinating, and strangely reassuring for those who are frightened by changing times.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Though some of this is true, it is slanted in that Google does not do this for free. They are a very competitive company with a profit motive. The writers who publish on the internet have yet to determine how to get paid for their thoughts and work. This is the challenge and Google has not found a way and is not really looking to hard to solve it. They use content to sell advertising. So, your words make them alot more money then it will ever make you if it makes you anything at all. I appreciate this is evolving, but this is not the benevolent giant looking to help the small guy. They are a content aggregator looking to see ads.