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
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.
Let’s take a look at these features – many of which are currently running on
beta mode. Nonetheless, they could possibly change the whole process of
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.
Just like its web search, Google Scholar indexes your search results according
to its relevance. The most useful reference appears on the top. This relevance
ranking takes into account the full text of each article as well as the
article’s author, the publication in which the article appeared and how often it
has been cited in scholarly literature.
On the other hand, Google analyzes and arranges citations automatically and
presents them as separate results. You can also learn more about older articles
and other online stuff. The full text of articles only appears from opening
access journals and preprints.
A few search engines (like Teoma) already provide suggestions or recommendations
for the websites 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.
This service is still running as a beta version, but it offers you a full
description of a site’s content. WebQuotes intelligently farms sites for the
most relevant comments.
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.
One of the beneficiaries of this effort is Folding@home, a non-profit academic
research project at Stanford University that is trying to understand the
structure of proteins, so they can develop better treatments for various
Google’s interest in this service is not entirely selfless. The company wants to
use distribution computing to improve the search engine – which itself can
operate in a vast distribution network. Till that happens, of course, you can
join hands with researchers to fight against some of the more lethal ailments.
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.
After downloading this feature, you can search your personal items as easily as
you look for information on the internet through Google. Unlike traditional
computer search software that updates once a day, Google Desktop Search updates
continuously for most file types, so that, for instance, when you receive new
email in Outlook, you can find it within seconds. The index of searchable
information created by Desktop Search is stored on your computer.
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
program helps publishers put their books and information in a searchable mode.
On the other hand, Google is working with the world’s major libraries to
integrate its contents on Google’s index, making it searchable for users world
Users will see the relevant book page of their query. Clicking on a title
delivers a Google Print page where users can go through the full text of public
domain works and brief excerpts and/or bibliographic data of copyrighted
material. Library content will be displayed in keeping with copyright law.
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 program will understand and turn it into typed keywords, just
the way you would.
Results can then be seen on your desktop. So far, it cannot recognize who you
are, but engineers at Google are trying to make that work also. Of course, it
would be extremely difficult to design a personal voice search engine for all
users. However, this tool could come into its own as mobile computing and other
telecommunication technologies of the future.
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,
This feature could be more useful than casual search and may be an important
step towards developing search engines of the future.
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Every one is aware of mathematical sets in secondary schools, in which we
arranged things according to their similarity. Google Sets work in the same way.
First, you type in a few related search terms, which enables the search engine
to look for related keywords in its database and show you the answer with links.
I typed in “earthquake” and “volcano” and Google Sets returned with tornado,
thunderstorm, flood and avalanche.
Why is this service so important? Well for starters, our keywords never return
with the results that we want. Try creating a Google Set to catch those results
you may have missed. Google Sets can also be used as an impromptu thesaurus.
Alternatively, you can use it just for fun, when you have lots of time and can
type in random words to see what the search result brings.
It is the simplest of ideas that have the most interesting applications – Google
Sets’ apparent simplicity combine with a few algorithms for organizing data.
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 programs 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 or
MCSE Videos are one of the most searchable phases on the net.
Just type in your keyword or the name of the program and Google Video will
search the closed caption text of all the programs in its archive for relevant
search results. Click on the programs and you can read a short introduction
about it with a still image of the show.
A side panel, entitled “about this show” will provide you with details about a
particular show, for example, when it will air next.
Google is just testing this service right now, so you can find limited
programs from a few channels such as, Fox News, NBC and PBS. You can also
enter your zip code to customize showtimes to your local area as well. At
present, Google is asking content owners to add their contents to Google Video
and its pages are expanding rapidly.