As most of you know, last Friday I posted a plea for help on the subtitle for my book. I never imagined I’d get so many responses – 90 comments so far and still climbing, and more than 150 discrete suggestions. Thank you!
So as to hone your subtitlin’ skills, many of you asked me what the hell the book was really about, and that certainly is a reasonable question. So let me attempt to outline the thing, given that I just sent chapter 9 of 10 to my editor, and I need a break from writing it. (Instead, of course, I’m writing about it, but there you have it.)
The book breaks into ten discrete chapters, and attempts to tell the story of search through any number of major narrative actors, as well as via a few key Big Ideas. One of them is the Database of Intentions, which was one of the first posts on Searchblog, but others include the idea of Intent over Content as well as the power of the Search Economy. As one might expect, Google plays a significant role in the book – I devote three chapters to the company.
In any case, here’s the outline (subject to change, of course).
Chapter One I’m calling “Why Search.” I attempt to lay out why I think search is such a big deal. If you’ve read my immortality or eternal/ephemeral riff, or the DoI post, you’ll find some familiar stuff in here. I preface some of the bigger issues – privacy, shifts in business, etc. – that I go more deeply into in subsequent chapters. I end with a pretty far fetched scenario around AI, but that’s kind of the point of the first chapter – get you interested in all manner of things, and hopefully pay it off later on.
Chapter Two I’ve come to call “Who What Where Why When (and How Much)” – this is the chapter many of you search vets might skip, as it introduces how search works, what its basic business model is, how we came to where we are in search, and so on.
Chapter Three I’m calling “History” – it tells the story of early search, from Archie to AltaVista, and the rise of the portals. There’s a fair amount of Yahoo in there (of course, if you count AltaVista, there’s a lot of Yahoo in there).
Chapter Four is called “Google Is Born.” This was a lot of fun to research.
Chapter Five chronicles the birth of Overture and profiles Bill Gross. Also, very fun.
Chapter Six might as well be called “Google’s middle years” – 2000-2004, roughly.
Chapter Seven I’m calling “The Search Economy” and it goes into the amazing growth of the search industry and its impacts on all forms of commerce, on and offline.
Chapter Eight discusses the impact of search on society – from privacy to The China Question.
Chapter Nine I’m calling “Google Now.” A sort of meditation on the company post IPO.
And Chapter Ten, finally, is “The Future of Search”, which I posted on earlier.
Well, there you have it. Reading over this, it seems a bit dry, but there’s a lot of fun stuff in there, I think.
So, does that help with any more subtitle ideas? So far, there have been some great ones, some hilarious ones, and some pretty terrible ones to boot. But I love ‘em all. Some of my favorites so far, at least in terms of informing the final choice or making me laugh out loud:
The Search: The Web’s Killer App
I’M FEELING LUCKY: Knowledge and Wealth in the Age of Google
The Search: How Google Made Us Forget How Little We Really Know
Results 1-10 of about 17,300,000
Google Trek III: The Search for Stock
The Inside Story of How Google Taps the Global Brain (and Our Wallets, Too)
The Search: Intellectual Capitalism in the Age of Google
GETTING EVERYTHING: Search in the Age of Google
Inside Google and the birth of a new industry
Search: The Battle for Digital Dominance in the Age of Google (this one came via email)
Keep those cards and letters coming, and thanks again!