What Would Google Do? Jeff Jarvis

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What Would Google Do, written by Jeff Jarvis an American journalist, professor and former television critic explores how Google’s founders and executives have changed the rules of business in an internet age by introducing new rules to follow in a modern age.  Google’s adaptability had resulted in a change of interaction between individuals, companies, businesses and the world. By analyzing the way Google responds to situations and creating market and innovation, Jarvis has been able to identify set of rules created by Google which it follows to make it the world superpower, rules that Jarvis claims, can be applied to businesses, societies and enterprises to help and make them succeed as Google did.  According to Jarvis, the book’s central thesis emphasizes the new rules Google has created for this modern age,  rules which can be applied to multifarious elements, and which when applied can lead to the success Google has. Some of the main rules is listed below.


What Would Google Do main premise is based on the concept that the immense change brought about by the internet has resulted in a complete set of rules, and method of doing things, new ways of thinking and implementing things are needed in the new and modern age. The adoption of new rule and ways of looking at things will lead to new ways of facing challenges, solving problems, seeing new opportunities and understanding a different way to look at the economy and society. In his book, Jarvis outlines the “Google Rules” that should be adhered in this brave new world, rules including: the customer is always right, be a platform others can build upon, middlemen are doomed, be transparent and small is the new big.

One of the main point Jarvis points out in his book is the first essential rule of the new age, which is, “give the people control and they will use it, don’t and you will lose it “ pg. 10. Jarvis describes Google’s success in implementing the rule by not serving as a portal instead as a network and platform for information to abound. Google is able to accomplish that rule by focusing less on technology and media and instead creating avenues to enable people make new connections, leading to relationships. To expand on this point, Jarvis compares Google with other internet service companies such as Yahoo and AOL. According to Jarvis, Yahoo and AOL operate under old rules by controlling contents, distribution, customers and showing consumer ads.   A huge contrast to Google who spreads itself all over the web by going to the people, and integrating itself with the individual, and enabling individuals which enables Google.

Jarvis conveys in his book that the internet disruption of everything created an opportunity for Google to bring in organization.  Google has an amazing ability to organize information, maps, documents, and people. As opposed to deciding what a community should be and creating one, Google enables people and community to use the tool of openness and flexibility creating a mass of niches.  Jarvis suggest that companies be aware of the communities around them. Google’s new world order is to use the internet to leap over borders, countries and companies.

Described as, “Eye-opening, thought-provoking, and enlightening” by USA Today and Chris Anderson author of the long tail describes the book as, “Google is not accompany it’s an entirely new way of thinking: extend that approach to business and culture, revealing just how revolutionary it is.”  What Would Google Do can be purchased on Amazon kindle for $4.99, hardcover $18.57, and paperback $13.86, and audible $11.95, it can also be read for free at https://aszapla.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/what-would-google-do.pdf.

What Would Google Do while interesting does not contain original points. Instead it is an amalgamation of several well-known ideas. I would recommend the book to a novice in the field of technology hoping to learn more, however I would not recommend it to an expert. I have the skepticism that the Google model highlighted in Jarvis book cannot actually be applied in any avenue to receive the same result, a skepticism shared by blogger PeterD. The Google model cannot be applied to every situation and expected to create success because Google is a product of its own environment, and the rules created suit that specific environment.   Also the book is written from an outside point of view looking in as opposed to an insider’s view. Although some of the argument is not solid it is an interesting and informative read.



  1. “Google’s Mission Is to Organize the World’s Information and Make It Universally Accessible and Useful.”Company – Google. Google, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2015.
  2. D, Peter. “What Would Google Do? – Book Review.”What Would Google Do?p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2015.

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