Google’s Technology In the Webs early days, full-text searches ranked their results according to information contained on Web sites themselveslike the prominence of a certain word. If, for example, you wanted to learn about buying a small dog and you searched for dachshund, your list of sites was likely to be organized by which ones had the most instances of the word “dachshund.” That might well have been a site set up by a woman in Boise who painted cartoon dogs onto sweatshirts, the schedule for a group of people in Sacramento who have dachshunds with ingrown toenails, and the Daytona Dachshunds Little League roster. You could search through thousands of pages before you hit any useful information.
Even if you narrowed your search to something like “dachshund breeders,” you might still have gotten sites run by pet food conglomerates or veterinarians or any company that set up its Web pages to draw people with an interest in dogs. In short, it was maddeningly hard to get relevant search results.
Enter Google. In 1995, Sergey Brin and Larry Page met in the graduate computer science program at Stanford University. Their idea was to create a search engine that would rank search results not on data that could be manipulated by Web masters, but by using the strength of the Internet itselfcommunity input. Their technology evaluated a site primarily on how many other sites linked to it, and ranked search results accordingly. Thus, their searches tended to return results that lots of other people found useful, resulting in a surprisingly valuable system.
By 1998, Brin and Page had dropped out of Stanford to start Google. In its first year, the companyrun by four employees out of a garage in Menlo Park, Californiaanswered about 10,000 search requests per day. Today, the Web is home to about a dozen very popular search sites and likely thousands of less well-known ones, but Google’s computers handle more search requests than anyone else’s over 250 million per day.
Google is the reigning search champ not because the company has clever marketing (it doesn’t) or a killer online dating service (again, no dice), but because the site is easy to use and effective.