If you're like me you probably use a search engine numerous times a day without really thinking about it. Yet they are such an important part of the Internet - a gateway to all the content out there on the web.
This is a fascinating history of search engines, from the early days through to about 2005. It is a bit outdated now as things in the search engine world, just as with the rest of the Internet, change and develop constantly. However, this is a minor niggle with what is otherwise an excellent book.
It focusses inevitably on Google, but is by no means exclusively about Google. It's amazing to think that only 10 or 15 years ago the Internet as we know it was in its infancy. The book goes back to the very first search engines and traces the rise and fall of some sites you will have heard of and some you may well not have.
It also takes a look at the future of search, much of which is still relevant despite the date of the book, and puts search in a wider context, referencing events such as the Dot Com bubble.
It's well written and well read throughout. The author has clearly been paying close attention to the evolution of search since early on and has spoken to many of the key people involved at various times during the period covered by the book.
Very much recommended.
A nice article from the HBR about the business advantages family businesses create. Well worth listening too especially if you are starting a business as it will set you off in the right direction. Some really useful nuggets.