Googlism explained

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.

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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 searching.

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.

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.

Web quotes
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.

Compute
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 diseases.

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
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.

Libraries
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. 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 wide.

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.

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.

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.

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, This feature could be more useful than casual search and may be an important step towards developing search engines of the future. IT Training/ Educational search

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Sets
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.

Video
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 or
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Just type in your keyword or the name of the programme and Google Video will search the closed caption text of all the programs in its archive for relevant search results. Click on the programmes 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 programmes 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.