The Fruits of Civilization (26-9-7) Google


Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. ~ Google mission statement

Google presents a stark contrast to AOL and Yahoo!. Founded by computer scientists Larry Page and Sergey Brin when both were Ph.D. students, Google has been restlessly mercurial in its technological prowess, and amassed an impressive portfolio of patents in the process.

Google started in 1996 as a research project in search engine technology before going commercial in 1998. The company has pulled in plentiful profits peddling advertising, but incessantly dabbles in many leading-edge technologies: most notably artificial intelligence, including driverless cars, and a program that expertly plays Go, a skill hitherto beyond computerization. Google has also grown by strategic acquisition, such as the popular video-sharing site YouTube.


All told, the dot-com crash wiped away $8 trillion of notional wealth; $5 trillion in the US alone. Yet it had scant impact on economies. Awash with cash owing to loose monetary policy, stock markets quickly recovered, and in the process helped blow the bubble that resulted in the 2008 recession.

The competitiveness problem of the 1980s and early 1990s didn’t really go away. It was just hidden during the bubble years behind a mirage of prosperity, and all the while the country’s industrial base continued to erode. ~ American business academic Gary Pisano & American businessman Willy Shih