Contrary to popular belief, Google’s success was not simply a matter of inventing a better mousetrap and watching the money flow through the door. The initial design of Google’s search engine did not have technology much more advanced than its competitors. It was how they used and refused to abuse the technology that mattered. Larry and Sergey have been successful because they have completely rethought the process of catching mice. Not surprisingly, they’re upsetting a lot of business fat cats in the process.
Revolutions do not come easily. They arrive like an invading army, pillaging industries in their path. One group’s revolutionary is another’s corporate terrorist. Google’s fans see it as a corporate version of Thomas Jefferson, or a freedom fighter trying to spring dissidents from a Gulag work farm. Its enemies think of it more like Joseph Stalin, and are mobilizing to attack Google like capitalist idealists fighting the Red Menace. Competitors, Hollywood executives, book publishers, copyright holders, privacy advocates, civil rights activists, and government regulators are menaced by Google’s enormous power.
Larry and Sergey are wickedly clever. They break the rules. They challenge old industries and make a lot of enemies. They’re ruthless businessmen. Most of all, they’re idealists, believers in the power of the Internet to make the world a better place.