Planet Google


I have just finished reading this book and it presents an interesting look at the growth of Google, as well as explaining how some of Google’s technical algorithms work. Below is a brief summary of some of the key points that I found interesting:

Google was founded in 1998 and plain text ads are its main source of enormous profits. However when it first started it was ad free which made it stand out from sites that had banner ads and pop ups. Even in 2000 85% of Google searches had no ads (this is due to the ads all being targeted based on search terms).

Google is based on the opposite premise to social networking sites; like facebook.Whereas google aims to catalogue and organise all the worlds information in an open format, social networking sites aim keep the information behind closed doors and shareable only between friends. Its page ranking system, a key part of its search algorithm relies on openness; if major websites refused access to google’s spiders it would make its page ranking system unworkable.

Google’s strength lies in the data it holds; for example the data collected for Google news also makes Google translate more natural. Google was able to develop a Chinese-English translation algorithm without the help of any Chinese speakers.

Arguably one of the best products produced by google is Google Earth (possibly biased as I am a Geography Teacher). However Google Earth which is now linked with Google Maps provides an opportunity for data to be organised spatialy using a maps and satilite imagery. Google Earth does not provide any new information but simply organises the information in a more effective way.