What were you doing in 1997? I was using Netscape on Windows 95 – as you did. But after AOL took over Netscape Search, I swapped to Google search as it gave better results.
Google search has come a long way. Back then the world wide web had just 25 million web pages (and I registered a two-letter domain name im.com.au – rare as hen’s teeth these days).
Google’s original altruistic mission was ‘to organise the world’s information and make it
universally accessible and useful.’
Google says it has remained true to that mission along the
way. But it discovered it could monetise search. I won’t comment on that except
to say that you can’t run a business without income and where a product is free
– you are the product.
To a large degree, Google’s mission remains. You can
anonymously search, use ad-blockers, remove tracks and more and still use the
search service for free.
How does Google search work?
Google Search is the most used search engine on the
internet. It hands billions of queries daily and provides the most relevant matches
first. Of those queries only 15% are unique, so
it learns how to better answer those by reviewing user reaction to search.
To get that information Google bots crawl the web and index text
and later images and voice. It then applies a range of filters (like looking
for plagiarism) and relevance to assign a page ranking. But keyword search is only the beginning.
Google now includes Universal search. It incorporates a wide
variety of sources, including websites, news, pictures, maps, blogs, videos,
and more, all shown on the same search results page.
And finally is the addition of natural language search
allowing users to ask questions and receive hopefully relevant answers.
Where is Google search heading?
Three fundamental shifts
drive the next chapter in how Google thinks about Search:
The shift from answers to journeys: To help you resume tasks where you left off and learn new interests and hobbies, we’re bringing new features to Search that help you with ongoing information needs.
Underpinning each of these are advancements in AI, improving
the ability to understand the language in
ways that weren’t possible when Google first started.
Neural networks can help from understanding words to
understanding concepts. Neural embeddings, an approach developed in the field
of neural networks, allow transformation of words to fuzzier representations of
the underlying concepts, and then match the concepts
in the query with the concepts in the