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People often refer to Google as a synonym for search which clearly shows how dominant it has become in both usage and mindshare ‘The degree to which a product or brand is known’ to most albeit it being only 20 years old thus making it the most significant invention by humans. It provides many benefits which include time-saving, advertising and discovery of new information in the education and health sector. Google is a vital component of the internet which makes the two more or less the same, thus most of its benefits are attributed to the internet hence Google’s importance as a search engine is not fully recognized.
Although Google nowadays is a powerful search engine it had to reform in many ways which form part of its history. Before Google was found there were a number of search engines such as Yahoo, AltaVista, Lycos and WebCrawler. According to Harford, T’s article ‘Google search’, “if you typed ‘cars’ into Lycos ‘a leading search engine’ you would get results page filled with porn websites. ” This statement shows how other search engines provided unreliable and irrelevant information. During that time Larry Page and Sergey Brin were doing their studies at Stanford University. Page was studying towards his Ph. D. Thus he had to find a topic for his doctoral thesis, he chose to research on how the Web was linked together and Brin was helping him out. They soon came up with a viable project they called BackRub, it was a system which could rank links by the order of their relevance. John Battelle (2005) in ‘The Birth of Google’ he gives an example were when one was looking for a business, he would rather be referred to an assured firm like IBM rather than a teenager. With this, they realised that BackRub was much more superior to the then search engines and soon renamed it to Google. According to Christopher McFadden (2018), Google comes from ‘googol’ which is a numerical 1 followed by a hundred zeroes which showed their main aim of organising the infinite amount of information on the internet. Hence the first version of Google was released in August 1996. Page and Brin had made a breakthrough but they were in need of resources so that their search engine could work effectively. They needed new computers of which they could not afford at that time and they constantly relied on Stanford’s resources.
In the ‘The Birth of Google’ (2005a) John Battelle writes, “At one point, the BackRub crawler consumed nearly half of Stanford’s entire network bandwidth” this was quite an extraordinary feat since Stanford was one of the best-networked institutions at that time which shows how massive it had become. They started to look for a viable investment to help them out but to no avail big companies like Yahoo, Excite were not interested, it was a bitter pill to swallow for them since they knew the potential of Google. They soon met up with Bechtolsheim who offered them a $100 000 check, so Google had to be officially incorporated. According to John Battelle in ‘The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote The Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture, ’ (2005b) “On September 7, 1998, Google Inc. was formally incorporated, with Page as CEO and Brin as president” which was the formal birth of Google. Google from a couple of thousand dollar worth company grew to a multi-million within a couple of months. Google then took a risk to introduce advertisements on the search engine although they were quite aware that it one of the reasons their predecessors had floundered. They soon resorted to the conclusion that they would consider providing the best possible search result then the ads even though the latter generated more money. Decisions like these are those that made Google be what it is today since it could rectify mistakes done by the other search engines. Google transformed from one version to another as the years passed by as it grew from a simple web search to universal search i. e. it now included image, video, books and maps results.
Google enables us to save humankind’s most precious thing which is time as we either looking for information as students or in our professions or we are consumers. Nobody can really argue that he or she does not rely on time, so saving it is a remarkable benefit. In Harford’s ‘Google Search’ he states that, “Studies suggest that googling is about three times as quick as finding information in a library, that is before you count the time spent travelling to the library. ” This statement shows how a lot of time is saved when you consider how much time one can spend looking for a resource which is specific to what he or she is looking for compared to a few clicks away on a computer for the same information. Also as consumers, people benefit as one can easily find the specific product rather than going to a shop looking for it. Additionally, this helps as one can do that on the go than going to the exact location thus at the same time saving money and also avoiding effects such as standing in long queues and the risk of theft. Google can even be a lifesaver for example when a two year old child has just swallowed a poisonous herb, the mother can look up on ways she can act so the effect of the poison can slow down whilst waiting for the emergency assistance. With this one can easily note how Google easily saves hours in one’s lifetime without noticing.
Google has surely played a key role in the commercial sector ever since it introduced advertising on its platform. Its ability to locate people as much as possible is one of the reasons it faces off competition from traditional ways such as newspapers, radios and televisions and billboards which only reach to limited and unspecific people. Stores can now sell a wide range of products hence more variety even if they do not the stock on ground and can also save up some space in stores on ground. This type of advertising seems to favour the big companies however small companies also benefit and are even investing more in online advertising. This fact is clearly backed up by Jacques Burghin et al. ’s article ‘The Impact of Internet Technologies: Search’ which states that “An analysis of some 40 small and medium-sized businesses in France showed that those who invested in paid search advertising reported as twice as many cross-border sales as a percentage of total revenue as those that did not. ” Furthermore, price transparency is the other benefit of advertising and hence increases the competition online thus goods are usually cheaper online and easily accessible. For convenience, Google has a Shopping tab on its homepage when one searches for an item to buy. This proves that Google is an indispensable in the commercial sector in the form of advertising.
Moreover, Google has made a huge impact in the education and health sector. Google Scholar is one of the common features of Google which students around the world as they use it frequently in their studies. Google Scholar is a component of Google but specifically provides academic resources by providing different sources such as books, articles and opinions. This lifts off the burden of most students of not affording to pay up library subscriptions and they get the resources much quicker. Google comes with a tool of defining words thus one can easily look up the definition of utterly everything in a split of a second rather than using a dictionary which sometimes will not be containing the word. Information is vital for the health sector and needs to reach to most people as much as possible and Google is a perfect tool for that. For example when one types a disease in the search box suggestions come up which are related to that disease and one is likely to use the links. Hence outbreaks of diseases can be easily known amongst people thus they will be on alert and prevent it to affect them. In Burghin’s article ‘The Impact of Internet Technologies: Search’ he mentions that when the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline linked its website to poison, suicide or emergency there has been a 9% increase in the calls on its hotline showing the impact of it. Google may have other social benefits which include entertainment in the form of YouTube, ability to locate and link with people but it has a much stronger impact in people’s lives in the health and educational sectors.
With the upcoming generation being more exposed to the internet thus Google surely will be more useful and relevant to people’s lives. With Google still at its early stage of evolution and more is yet to come such as searches using images or videos which now heavily rely on text searches one can wonder. This clearly shows that Google will become much better as each year passes thus making it more ideal more relevant to mankind thus making it the greatest invention of all time.
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