by Julia Angwin
(Random House, $27)
MySpace is not the king of Internet traffic that it was four years ago, said Scott Rosenberg in The Washington Post. Unlike its younger rival Facebook, the first huge social networking website hailed from “the Web’s shadier precincts” and rode an anything-goes ethos to the top. Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Angwin has produced a history of its rise that “sparkles as boardroom page-turner,” which really takes off when Rupert Murdoch sets his sights on adding MySpace to his empire.
What Would Google Do?
by Jeff Jarvis
(Collins Business, $27)
Maybe a similar book got past me, said Richard Pachter in The Miami Herald, but it appears that media commentator Jeff Jarvis has written “the first religious tract” about Google. Jarvis’ “rollicking sermon” urges businesses in virtually every field to mimic Google by tearing down barriers to their services and embracing user empowerment. He “may not be quite as omniscient as he imagines he is,” but his lack of expertise about some non-media industries is, for the most part, “not a problem.”
The Wikipedia Revolution
by Andrew Lih
Andrew Lih’s history of the world’s most popular encyclopedia is much like the Wikipedia website itself, said Jeremy Philips in The Wall Street Journal. “There is much of interest, a certain amount of material only specialists will love, and some content that is better covered elsewhere.” Founded just eight years ago, the site “stands as an extraordinary demonstration of the power of the open-source content model.” So what if its founders never made any money from their breakthrough?
Wired for War
by P.W. Singer
The U.S. is developing robots that can make “kill decisions” on their own, and all P.W. Singer talks about is how they’re engineered, said Ian Shapira in The Washington Post. This comprehensive survey of the drones, sonic explosives, and other gizmos that are depersonalizing warfare lets readers hear “the debates about these machines that are playing out at the Pentagon.” But “the tension and anxieties” experienced by soldiers and decision makers engaged in this revolution deserve more attention.
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