Taking the Long View of Google

Given my passion for historical analogies, I was thrilled to be asked to take part in a documentary in BBC Radio 4’s “Long View” strand. This is a program that draws historical analogies between modern and historical events — in this case between the rise of Google and the 19th century Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, which harnessed an older technology (the steam press) to similarly utopian ends (making knowledge more widely available). The show airs on Tuesday February 28th, at 9am and again at 9.30pm. Since we recorded the program, Google’s shares have fallen somewhat. Indeed, once a company becomes so successful that these kinds of programs are made about it, you can’t help but wonder if its best days are behind it.

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