By Adam Lashinsky

(FORTUNE Magazine) – A sure sign that Google is this year's It company? Two books are competing to satisfy the public's massive appetite for all things Google. The latest, about how Google grew from startup to superpower in seven years, is a well-told if largely unsurprising new book by Washington Post reporter David Vise. The Google Story isn't aimed at tech-industry insiders (who all undoubtedly have read John Battelle's authoritative book, The Search). But for the uninitiated, Vise offers a thorough primer on everything from the childhoods of founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to their ongoing battles with Microsoft. Though Vise uncovers some juicy tidbits on Google's IPO (via the SEC) with Freedom of Information Act requests, he relies heavily on, and gives credit to, the work of many other publications, including FORTUNE, for much of his research. Still, for those in need of a crash course, this tome does the trick.