Jumping into the game long after Yahoo!, AltaVista, Excite, Lycos and other pioneers, Google offered a radical new approach to search, redefined the idea of viral marketing, survived the dot-com crash, and pulled off the largest and most talked-about initial public offering in the history of Silicon Valley.

But this summary is much more than the inside story of Google’s tri- umph. It also takes a big-picture look at the past, present and future of search technology and the enormous impact it is starting to have on mar- keting, media, pop culture, job hunting, international law, civil liberties, and just about every other sphere of human interest.

The information contained in this summary draws from interviews with more than 350 people, including Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Google CEO Eric Schmidt; key executives at rivals such as Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL; early pioneers; scientists working on the future of search; venture capitalists; and even entrepreneurs whose fortunes rise and fall with every tweak in the Google search algorithm.

Through the story of the start and rise of Google, this summary attempts to explain the history of search.