San Francisco, California

How Google Book Search Got Lost

Scott Rosenberg on Google Books:

...Google started Books with a “better ask forgiveness than permission” attitude that’s common today in the world of startups. In a sense, the company behaved like the Uber of intellectual property — a kind of read-sharing service — while expecting to be seen the way it saw itself, as a beneficent pantheon of wizards serving the entire human species. It was naive, and the stubborn opposition it aroused came as a shock.

But Google took away a lesson that helped it immeasurably as it grew and gained power: Engineering is great, but it’s not the answer to all problems. Sometimes you have to play politics, too — consult stakeholders, line up allies, compromise with rivals. As a result, Google assembled a crew of lobbyists and lawyers and approached other similar challenges — like navigating YouTube’s rights maze — with greater care and better results. It grew up. It came to understand that it could shoot for the moon, but it wouldn’t always get there.

Reply via email Random post