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Google is bleeding edge

I don't know what I can say about Google that hasn't already been said before. So I will try and be brief and maybe just say how Google has crept into my internet life, and how it has effected me.
I can't remember the exact date that I began using Google, but I know before Google I used Yahoo for all my web searches. I can specifically remember a good friend of mine James saying, "Hey you gotta check out Google.com" and describing it as "quick" and "just a search box". I also remember my first thoughts were somewhat snooty, thinking that there was no way that my way of searching wasn't the best way. But I was quickly proved wrong.
In an instant Google proved itself to just be the best freaking way to find information on-line. Searches returned the results I wanted, I no longer relied on the categorized info Yahoo provided in it's results. Now as I look back I wonder why I liked the categorized links - It must have been that the other results from text searches didn't match what I wanted, so I would have to qualify links first by what category they were in. But that's all water under the bridge.
When I install Firefox onto a new computer, or update to a new version, upon opening the browser I always make Google the first site I visit. When I have had internet connection problems and wanted to test if the connection was back up, I would go to Google's site - or ping google.com. And I am not alone, Google has become the leader of being respected for stability and reachability [via kottke]. But is Google more than stable servers?
Google plain and simple returns the best results - text, images, or otherwise. A short-list of Google's other offerings include: spelling corrections, calculations and measurements, Gmail, aggregated news headlines, and Google has even been known to have recovered data originally thought to have been lost forever in a hard drive crash. And then there is the experimental search methods being tested in the Google labs. I have even searched Google by calling a telephone number and watching the results of my voice queries return in my web browser! So is Google just playing around with bleeding edge technology?
Google is bleeding edge - but not because of these experimental technologies. I think the most bleeding edge approach Google has taken is the simplicity of their home page, and showing to be dominating and profitable you have to give people what they expect, and in the case of search the web, Google quickly delivers the best relevant data that is accessible via the web. And they are definitely not playing around, from browsing around their web site a bit you can find that these experiments in searching, and expanding of services are all in-line with their mission.

Google's Mission:
Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Notice that Google is interested in the world's information, and not just the web's information. Google's Why Work at Google page paints a clear picture:

Let's say you used Google to search for the topic "Michelangelo's David". The results page would show "Results 1-10 of about 28,600" web pages. That's pretty helpful, but we could do so much more. Google prides itself on its algorithm for choosing the most relevant pages, but it's a work in progress; we're constantly finding ways to improve its selections. Plus, the top ten pages listed are all in English; surely there are some interesting web pages in Italian that we could translate for you, and chances are at least some of them deserve high ranking. Over at http://images.google.com you can find some helpful photos of the sculpture (plus some knock-offs), but there are video clips, museum guidebooks, historical articles, and many other sources of information about David that the web doesn't reach. And it's likely someone at the Galleria dell'Accademia has a 3-D scan of the sculpture you'd enjoy browsing. (From the search results, it's clear that Stanford has some 3-D data too.) So yes, Google is very good at searching the web for the most relevant pages for the query you type, but that's really only a minor subset of the true `search problem', which remains far from solved.

And consider this. Our front page, http://www.google.com, currently reports that we search more than four billion web pages. That's a lot of information, but even that's not the whole web. And even if it were, it's still only the web; what about all the other information out there? Google's mission is to make all the world's information accessible, not just a subset of the web.

I already use Google daily. It is the ultimate guide to the information of the web. And it is my personal belief that as time goes on and technology allows, our everyday lives will integrate more and more with the web. In the future I don't even think that people will view "the web" as a unique space, it will be so synonymous with everything else we do - that the unlimited supply of electronic information available will be taken for granted. And as this evolution takes place, I foresee Google being successful in their mission, mending newly accessible information into their catalog of data, and making it accessible to those in search of. And how will Google survive?
Like Google being always being the first web site I visit with a fresh browser, Google will also be the first company I purchase stock in. In the coming weeks Google will have it's IPO via an unconventional auction method. I plan on taking part in this auction and investing in Google and helping them in their mission. By no means do I mean to sound as if I plan to carry Google on my back, I know my planned 5 shares (minimin IPO bid) will ammount to diddley squat, but I am still excited to take part in Google and I encourage all to do the same - whether you join in on investing or just through using Google and their services and providing your feedback when asked.
5 Comments

User Comments

Monday, August 2nd 2004
Plus, it runs on Linux.
Monday, August 2nd 2004
Me James?
Monday, August 2nd 2004
Yep, you James. I remember when I was working at Price.com you turned me onto Google. You are hip man.
Monday, August 2nd 2004
Jacy, Amy's 18 year-old-sister doesn't think I am too hip. It won't be much longer before I am out of the prized 'male between the ages of 18-35' demographic.

By the way, I would like to participate in the bid too. Can I send you a check or something, or would it simply be easier to do it separately? I've never seen a bid like this before for shares. Any guess as to the amount they will get up too? $200-$500?
Tuesday, August 3rd 2004
Easier to just do it on your own. Getting a bidder ID took like 5 minutes (unless you want to read all the stuff), then from there you need to contact a firm registered with Google - there are like 30 firms, including E*Trade.

They say the price will be from $108 - $136 (or something like that).

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