Last August I was provided a complimentary copy of Gabriela Taylor’s book Google: The Ultimate Guide to Building and Marketing Your Business With Google . It’s been a busy several months but I’ve worked my way through the book and would like to put it to review.
The Set Up
The first thing you should know is that I went into this review with the mindset of finding out how best to utilize Google to help my wife’s direct sales business. I’ve heard at various meetings that other girls with Thirty-One have been using Google ads with success in driving their business and recruiting and desperately wanted to discover the key to this for her business. The title of this book seemed to be directly in line with my goals. The subtitle: A Step By Step Guide To Unlocking The Power Of Google Tools And Maximizing Your Online Potential cinched the deal. This has to be a must-read book for someone in my position.
In the introduction, Gabriela sets up a 10-point plan for maximizing your success in your internet endeavor. She ties each of the 10 points together with the appropriate Google product to help accomplish each step.
First 2 chapters are a brief history of the internet followed by a brief history of Google itself. This serves to set up the bulk of the book which covers Google’s specific tools. After this, however, the bulk of the book (2/3 or so) goes through a description of many of the Google apps and services that apply to the 10-point plan laid out in the intro.
I will admit that this is where I got entirely bogged down in the book. Going back over things again for the review, I can better see the author’s intention than what I gathered from my initial reading (keep in mind the Set Up above… I was reading for specific information to help me make something happen). During reading, even though the “chapters” are arranged in a way to promote the Step By Step Guide promise of the subtitle, it simply read as a list of the various services offered by Google and their subsidiaries.
Amplifying that problem is that the book started from such a basic place, it started bogging down early. As a die-hard geek, there was little benefit to me having a run-down of the history of the internet and Google along with descriptions of all those Google “apps.” If this were covered in the first quarter of the book, I think it would have been easier to work through to get to the meat.
The good news is that there is actual meat to the book for me. It’s the last 20% (roughly) where she talks about the Google Affiliate Network, Adwords, Adsense, Monitoring your brand and competitors, and Google Analytics.
The bad news is that these sections are still written in a way that makes them seem like a “manual for Google.” It’s not very practical.
I would have liked seeing some real-world scenarios. Giving examples of the process used for an individual or company making use of these products. And using that approach to illustrate how the various services can be used together powerfully. Or setting up problem scenarios and going through steps with which a user is likely to need to become familiar to overcome them. What are the common workflow tasks for internet entrepreneurs? Bloggers? Again, some of this is covered, but it is spread out in descriptions of Google services and isn’t particularly descriptive of common use.
I think this is a good book for the author’s intention. Specifically, I believe this book is intended for that person who is not very internet-literate, but who has heard about Google and YouTube and AdWords. Maybe someone who is highly involved with business, but who never really dealt with “the online presence stuff,” but who now has an interest in becoming more involved in that area for some reason. This is definitely not a book for geeks who are intimately familiar with most things internet. I can also see this being something of a useful resource for someone who is overwhelmed with all of the services offered by Google and just wants to learn more about them and perhaps get an idea of the one or two apps they can utilize (likely for free!) to accomplish something specific.
So, really, it comes down to the question: what do you need from this book?
If your answer is an overview of services and features, then this is a good place to start. If the answer is something along the lines of “I want to learn how to put it all together and make something specific happen,” then there’s a good chance you’ll be left cold.