If you ever wanted to find out how Google does what it does In The Plex is the book.
I have read a few Google stories and none are even remotely as good as this. Steven Levy was granted a lot of access and he made full use of it. The book is rich in detail and deftly puts together the way Google took search, a concept no one thought could be monetized successfully and turned it into a money spinning machine.
Many products are given short shrift but that is understandable given the scope and breadth of the tale. Levy paints the broad strokes using Search, Gmail, Android and Chrome as the anchors. He also takes us through what Google went through in China and how censorship and governmental controls made the time a tumultuous one. He talks about the impact that Google has had and the privacy concerns that crop up all time.
Its a brilliant, fascinating and intriguing read about what makes Google tick. It talks about its reliance on data above all else, its grandiose ambitions to make all information accessible and of course the don't be evil mantra. It lays out about how a feisty start up founded by two nerds and geeks with lofty ambitions actually succeeded and became the behemoth it is today. This is by far the definitive book on Google and an absolute cracker of a read.