Staff Picks

Two Google, or Not Two Google

Sally Haldorson

September 15, 2010


Most of our employees have hidden talents. We're a creative bunch and while we love business books, we also love to dabble in various other art forms. We have musicians, collectors, writers, performers.

Most of our employees have hidden talents. We're a creative bunch and while we love business books, we also love to dabble in various other art forms. We have musicians, collectors, writers, get the drift. Our shipper/receiver, Todd Lazarski, makes sure the books we have in our warehouse get to our customers safely and quickly. But Todd is also a freelance writer with a distinctively quirky voice and he is happy to tackle a book review occasionally between pallet deliveries and games of Wii Tennis. This month, Todd tackled a comparison piece on new two books about Google, and here's what he had to say: Everyone uses Google. Even if you're a Bing acolyte or don't know how to change Yahoo as your browser's default search engine, there is little argument that Google is the definitive chronicler of information and the frontrunner in any effort to "organize the world's information." But besides directions to that new restaurant downtown, or info on whether that rash is contagious or not, what can the company and it's business model show us about getting ahead in the workplace? Apparently, a whole lot - at least two noteworthy, new releases worth.
Aaron Goldman's Everything I Know About Marketing I Learned From Google is basically an attempt to allay the mystique behind the Internet's almighty gatekeeper, and offer 20 (one-per-chapter) business-guiding tidbits direct from the company's playbook. As an author Goldman uses a playful, personal tone, and his experience as one of the company's biggest clients, to "demystify" Google. While a member of Resolution Media, he assisted the likes of Dell, Visa, Hertz and State Farm to the top of Google searches, and here, Goldman filters his own anecdotes into applicable lessons. Truisms come from the very simple - 'Relevancy Rules', 'Sex Sells,' 'Mindset Matters' - to the extremely simple, 'Keep It Simple, Stupid,' to the likes of how to 'Make Your Company a Great Story.' The latter depicts the Google work environment like a wonderworld, something akin to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and shows both the effectiveness and methods for establishing a similar vibe back home. Even in the off-chance that none of this is helpful, he points all roads back to the book's first line, that "Google is an amazing company." It's a notion widely taken for granted; but here, it is plainly broken-down, dissected, and applied to everyday business life in revelatory terms.
While Goldman's tome "isn't a book about getting to the top of Google", this is precisely what Vanessa Fox's work, Marketing in the Age of Google, is. A current speaker and consultant on "search engine strategy," Fox also used to punch the clock as Google's search engine spokesperson, and was responsible for "communicating how google's search algorithm works to millions of Web site owners." In other words, she knows her stuff, and wastes little time on style or nuance. The statistics ("Americans conduct 22.7 billion online searches a month") and charts ("Mortgage Refinance Search Trends") come fast and furious, and largely laid out like a Power Point presentation, this is a nuts and bolts 'how to' guide. If you're already familiar with the difference between 'Organic' and 'Paid' results, or are interested in a techie's take on the futures of 'social search' and 'real-time search,' or simply need extrapolation on the process of 'canonicalization,' this is probably the volume to start your query on how to make Google work for you. As two halves to a whole, each work helps paint a comprehensive view of an endlessly complex entity. (If you still crave another look, Wired magazine's Steven Levy has a forthcoming work titled Searching for Google. Whether approached from an angle of simple curiosity or practical progress, a little more understanding to one of the interenet's unquestioned stalwarts can never be a bad thing, especially in an increasingly search-centric world.

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