Some say it began with the launch of Google News, the company's first media aggregation site, in 2002. Others point to Google Book Search, completed in 2007 despite cries of foul play from the publishing industry.1 But those were just trial runs. Google took its first real step toward media dominance in 2008, when it bought an obscure cable network for $3 billion and transformed it into Google TV.2 The library of video content the company had been archiving for years was now searchable via remote control. Viewers could choose any show they wanted from the history of TV; all they had to do in return was sit through just one commercial before each show, and then vote with their remotes on how relevant they found the ad.
The Google the world knows best occupies a spacious corporate campus in Mountain View, Calif., complete with a volleyball court and plenty of lava lamps. What's less well known is that the search giant also maintains an East Coast stronghold.