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An Overview of the Google Search Engine

An Overview of the Google Search Engine

If you are curious about how the Google search engine works, this article will be an eye opener. The search giant reigns supreme in the Internet world and reading through this article will give you an idea about how it works to serve as the 'Information Genie' of the world.
Omkar Phatak
The fact that is testimony to Google's supremacy over the Internet is its transcendence from being a name, to being a verb in the English dictionary. All over the world, whenever people need information on just about anything under the Sun, they Google it.

History

The entity that rules the Internet today had modest beginnings (like all Silicon Valley start-ups) in a garage in Menlo Park, California. The idea behind Google has roots in the research project of company founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, when they were pursuing their PhD at Stanford University, in circa 1996. They wrote an algorithm for web search (patented as 'PageRank' later), that weighed the importance of a page on the Internet, according to the number of links that were directed towards it. Instead of just searching for relevant keyword density, like conventional web search engines, they gave importance to incoming links towards the page and the relevancy of those pages.

The Google domain name got registered in 1997 and since then, it has grown by leaps and bounds to become the premier web search engine on the Internet. Through acquisitions and innovations, the company has included many services, in addition to its web search features like YouTube, Google Earth, and the recent launch of Google TV. The company offers advertising solutions through its AdSense and Adwords programs. The company's revenue is generated through advertisements placed by it, on websites, that submit themselves to their programs.

How Does the Search Engine Work?

The aim of Sergey Brin and Larry Page in designing the algorithm was to build the perfect search engine that could fetch the most relevant information to any query. The search engine's working begins with its web crawler, which travels through the length and breadth of the Internet, indexing every new page that gets published.

How does the crawler discover new pages? It looks for new links on pre-indexed pages and crawls them as soon as they become live. Every page that is indexed, goes through a range of 'checks'. The number and content of web pages linking to that page is checked (which decides its importance) and it goes through a rigorous quality check in terms of content, code, and other features.

A snapshot of the page gets saved in the Google cache, which is located on one of the company's servers, in the many data centers it has, around the world. When you search for anything, Google searches its vast cached database of pages on its local server, applying various filters of relevance, to provide the most accurate of search results. Now, even a personalized search is provided, whereby your results are customized according to usage history. This search engine handles more than a billion queries daily, in this manner. There are more than 100 parameters, including incoming links, content, and page history, that are given importance, when displaying a page in a search query. All this happens within fractions of a second.

Google will, of course, never reveal the algorithm that makes it possible for it to deliver accurate results and the technology that makes the answering of billions of search queries possible, as it is a trade secret. It is constantly evolving as a search engine, while making new changes in strategy to deliver high quality and accurate search results. May the company keep improving as a search engine, with time, and go forward towards its goal of making the world's knowledge accessible, to mankind.