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Internet search and the rise of google

The Rise of Google: The pages that had text most similar to the search term were considered to be more relevant and were featured higher in the list of search results.

Excitea popular search engine in 1996. Unfortunately, this automated process did not always return logical results. By 1997, students at Stanford had discovered a better approach to Web search called Google. Google delivered unusually relevant results compared to the existing search engines.

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Not only did Google offer superior results, it lacked the growing clutter found on the popular search portals of the time. Larry Page at Stanford Despite its rapid ascent to search engine supremacy, the technology behind Google was not envisioned as a search engine โ€” or even a commercial product.

Page, the son of a computer scientist from Lansing Michigan, came to Stanford in 1995 at age 22 after graduating from the University of Michigan. Page selected Terry Winograd as his academic advisor but did not have a clear idea what he wanted to write about in his dissertation, though he was intrigued by the mathematical implications of the World Wide Web. Such a graphical representation shows the interconnectedness of websites and how users move from site to site.

Archiving and making this data accessible was an important part of the project, and Page used some of this funding in his research much of which resulted in published papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Instead of using text or human-beings, Page would calculate the relevancy a numerical value of a page based on links embedded in its HTML and by outside links to the page. Links originating on the website being examined are easy to gather, a spider a piece of software that crawls the Internet looking for data parses the HTML and can create a database of links. Incoming links are more difficult to capture. Analyzing these links requires a more sophisticated spider. Papers that have a breadth of sources and that are cited by other authors are more likely to be useful than papers that are not.

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Furthermore, articles that are cited and cite more prestigious journals are likely to be even more relevant than a paper that uses only obscure sources. This system is intuitive but complicated. Relationships between pages become very elaborate. Page devised a system of assigning numerical values to each page based on the number of links it has and the number of times the page is linked to.

This system was called PageRanknamed after Page himself. Page had met Brin during a campus tour, and by all accounts, the two had not hit it off. Some of the most famous figures in the field of computer science have been on the faculty or are alumni of the university. Following the handful of links on the bare-bones site, the index swelled to over 28 GB by the time Page and Brin left Stanford, a considerable size for 1996, when storage was still quite expensive.

Another advisor, Rajeev Matwani, famous for his work in the field of databases โ€” and data mining in particular โ€” helped develop the search tools that tapped into the PageRank database. Students and faculty, many of whom were enthusiastic Google users, did not seem to mind, but it was time for the search engine to find a new home.

As a result, the check was not deposited until September 4, the earliest date that Google could be incorporated. When Google was still at Stanford, Page and Brin would beg for components from other departments. A CPU was salvaged from the loading dock, and faulty hard drives were rescued from all over campus. Brin wrote a piece of software that made these broken drives usable, important for storing the very large and ever-growing databases holding PageRank ratings and text indexes.

This type of scrounging was impossible in the private sector, but Google was still frugal.

Pictures of the server racks from the time looked like rats nests with tangles of cable and components scattered everywhere. Google was also careful to control hiring practices, avoiding piling up costs before it had a chance at becoming profitable.

But they learned that not all services are created equal. Finding information is much more important to most people than horoscopes, stock quotes, or a whole range of other things.

By February of 1999, Google was handling 500,000 searches a day. The growing traffic attracted both venture capitalists and technology partners. First, it had become the largest search engine in the world in terms of pages indexed, beating out much older competitors like Lycos and HotBot. Instead of becoming bloated and unfocused, like many of the other portals, Google was actually becoming better with age. This forced some of the most popular portals on the Internet to turn to Google for their search technology, turning over a significant amount of their traffic to a third party and a competitor.

The first major portal to switch from its own search engine to Google was Yahoo. Yahoo feared that customers would realize how good the Google-powered results were and would just move to Google. Only two years after incorporation, Google had beat Yahoo at its own game.