Every day more and more people are realizing that Google is running the world. Whether or not that is a good thing is a debate for another time. Today we are going to briefly discuss the basis of the Google Empire: Search.
It is almost hard to believe that there was a time before Web Search, but the World Wide Web is only 20 years old (Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist for CERN, unveiled a project for organizing and sharing information in Aug 1991 which would be known as the World Wide Web). The original PC, the IBM 5051, on which nearly every computer in the world today is based upon, is only 30 years old (first put on sale in Aug 1981). The explosion of these two technologies created an unimaginable amount of data that could be easily accessed. Of course the problem is that much information, there has to be a way to find the information that you are looking for.
From the very beginning there were search engines. Many of the early search engines are still in use, such as Lycos, InfoSeek, AltaVista, and of course Yahoo! All of these search engines made money for their creators, usually through advertising on the web page, although many were caught up in the "Dot Com Bubble" of the late 1990's. All of them were lacking in the ability to accurately find the information the user was after. In 1997 a pair of Computer Science students from Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, launched a search engine they named Google.
The heart of the Google Search Engine is the Google Algorithm. Google sends out "Spiders" or "Web Crawlers" that read every web page they can find, and index the information they find. One of the things that the Spiders are looking for are the links on each page. Even more important to the Algorithm are the links back to the page. The more links back to a certain page there are, the more important, or "relevant" that page becomes.
When a user types a term into the search box at Google.com (or where ever you find the search box) he will be presented with all the pages that match that term. The magic of the Google Algorithm is that the results will be presented in order of relevance.
This has opened up a brand new world for advertisers. If you are selling Acme Thing-a-mabobs, whenever someone searches for "Thing-a-mabob", you will naturally want Acme's page to be at the top of the results. So now there is a growing industry of Optimizing websites for Google, or Search Engine Optimization (SEO).