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When Larry Page and Dr. Sergey Brinn were working on their Digital Libary Project around this time in 96, little did they know they were creating what would become the largest and smartest search engine of all – I call him the King Solomon of our time. All hail Google Search, the engine that, as CEO Larry Page puts it, “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.”

He’s so smart I call him King Solomon.

Type anything and you get the right results (if you type the right thing).  Google indexes every page on the web, and uses PageRank™, a software system Larry and Sergey designed for ranking web pages. And the speed with which search results are displayed is just amazing.

What exactly is PageRank™

Principles of PageRank
Principles of PageRank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PageRank™ relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”

Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank™, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don’t match your query. So, Google combines PageRank™ with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page’s content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it’s a good match for your query.

If you want the nitty-gritty of how PageRank works, you can join me and take a look at the lecture on the Mathematics of Google Search done at Cornell University. Trust me, it’s worth taking a look at.

I do not need to go into history of how Google was formed and all that stuff, but you will agree with me that Google is the best search engine ever. It has by far the largest index, of not just page titles and URLs, but of whole pages too! You can even get a page that no longer exists. I remember when MTN Nigeria did the Ultimate Wonder promo and declared a winner, and then declared another winner hours later (smells like a scam doesn’t it?), Google helped me to resurrect the dead facebook page they thought was gone forever.

 

There are lots and lots more you can use Google search to do. I even know companies that whole departments rely heavily on Google to do their job.

 

But…

All you have to do is know HOW to use it. Not just entering the question as it comes to your head, but “crafting quality search queries”. If you want to search for how fast a jaguar (car) runs, you don’t need to type the question as it is in your head (like “How fast does a Jaguar run?) because this can confuse Google (Remember the Garbage In, Garbage out thingy we were taught those days?). You would find out that this search returns no concrete answer. But how about this? It returns the best results instantly, from the most reliable sources. In fact, I do most searches without the need to necessarily click the search results; the answers just lie before me right there!

 

Jaguar XK120
Jaguar XK120 (Photo credit: Sherlock77 (James))

Ok enough said. The question now is, how well can you exploit the wisdom of the mighty King Solomon?

 

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