Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Google Odyssey

Google, one of the most powerful search engines on the planet, has turned into a household name. Founded in September 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, this site covers eight billion web pages, which make it the largest search engine ever.

Google comes from the word "Googol," a mathematical term for one followed by 100 zeros. Certainly the site has lived up to its mathematical derivative, for it contains a wealth of data that has turned it into the most popular search engine of our time. However, Google isn't just a search engine.Innovators at Google devote 20 per cent of their week to work on new and ground-breaking ideas. As a result, the site is continuously upgraded with various, new features that make it all the more interesting.

For scholars

An novel approach for scientists and scholars, Google Scholars is specifically designed for academic literature, including theses, books, peer-reviewed papers, abstract and technical reports from all major areas of research.

Web quotes

A few search engines (like Teoma) already provide suggestions or recommendations for thewebsites that you look up. However, Google's WebQuotes does not let you indulge in guesswork about a site, that is, whether it will be worth visiting or not.By including comments from other websites alongside your results, you get to see what other people think of the site before you click on its link.


Donate your PC's spare resources for serious medical and scientific research like SETI@home, by downloading Google's Compute tool bar. You can receive data packets which can help you find a cure for Parkinson's disease or give scientists the power to simulate protein synthesis.

Desktop search

Desktop search offers you multi-purpose full text search of email, computer files and the web pages you may have viewed. After installation, Google's desktop search can look for your personal items through all file types in your PC. It can also search chats from AOL messengers. Currently, it is available for Windows XP and Windows 2000 updates and above.


Towards the end of 2004, Google announced that it would provide details of digital books, so that worldwide users can look them up through the search engine. Working in collaboration with Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, Oxford University and New York Public library, the Google print programme helps publishers put their books and information in a searchable mode.

Voice search

This is truly a remarkable service from Google, but is still in its pilot phase. If you are tired of hitting the same key over and over again for your search, this feature is definitely for you. Through this service, Google will provide a special phone number for your query. Just say your search words and a state-of-the-art programme will understand and turn it into typed keywords, just the way you would.

Personalized search

Google is well-known for its famous page-ranking technology. Personalized web searching could be an evolutionary step in this regard. The goal is to get tailored results according an individual's search. For instance, if a fishing enthusiast enters the word "salmon," his results will be ranked so that salmon fishing tips appear highest on the list. A cook will see recipes first, while biology students will get links to anatomical data. For this to work, you will have to fill out a detailed form, quite like your personalized online profile.


Google hopes to index information throughout the world. It is perhaps for this reason that the company introduced Google Video, an amazing service in which you can search and organize thousands of TV programmes every day. Google video helps you search for a growing archive of televised contents - everything, from cricket matches to documentaries and from talk shows to news.

Source: This post is modified from an article 'Googlism explained' by Suhail Yusuf published in Sci-Tech World of 19th March 2005.