I finished reading The Google Story yesterday and really enjoyed getting a good look at how Google got started. Sergey and Larry (the Google founders) are my age, and it's amazing to see what has become of their research from grad school at Stanford. The authors at times seemed a little too enamored with Google, but in general they provided some great insight. After reading the book, I feel almost stupid for not buying Google stock when it first became available!
I love the 20% rule and the fact that they often support projects that initially have no obvious monetary rewards for the company. There was also an informative chapter about Danny Sullivan and how he started SearchEngineWatch.com.
I was however troubled to discover that Google is making huge amounts of money on selling pornographic ads in the AdSense program. Thankfully they do provide a SafeSearch mechanism that protects users from seeing pornography in their search results (although it is by no means perfect). It seems odd to me that a company that lives by the motto "Do No Evil" would profit from an industry that is so self-destructive to itself and its consumers. Google apparently believes it is morally wrong to advertise guns but not wrong to advertise pornography to minors. I’d really be interested in hearing an explanation from Sergey and Larry about this practice.
I wonder if Stanford will grant Sergey and Larry their PhDs? Obviously their work far surpasses what anyone has ever done to earn a PhD, and from what I understand, they have completed everything but their dissertations.