Google's Search Engine
Google is a remarkable corporation.
It’s one of the largest and most notable tech companies. Its parent company, Alphabet, has a market cap of roughly a trillion dollars - you are probably using one of its services right now.
Aside from laptops, phones, speakers, and a myriad of other innovative and useful products, Google is most famous for its search engine; hence the ubiquity of the command “Google it!” that often serves as the courtroom judge in any given dispute between family or friends over the veracity of some claim.
Over the years, we’ve grown increasingly reliant on Google’s search engine, but few actually know how Google collects the information we’re seeking.
It seems that since we make consequential decisions every day based on the information we absorb and regularly integrate that information into our ever-evolving picture of reality, we should know at least with some degree of depth how Google answers the questions we ask.
The search engine is made up of three main parts: crawling, indexing, and ranking. In the crawling phase, Google “spiders” scan the web looking for pages that they haven’t already encountered in the past. This ensures that Google can deliver the best possible information to its users.
When a Google spider finds a web page it hasn’t come across before, it makes a note of it so that its contents can be added to Google’s database collection. This marks the second part of the search engine.
Without categorizing and storing new data that Google spiders discover crawling the web, this data is rendered worthless and the entire search engine unavailing, as Google won’t be able to make use of online content to answer a given query.
Accordingly, Google performs crawling and indexing constantly. After all, a search engine that doesn’t have access to a wealth of the most up-to-date information regularly revised to reflect the ever-increasing amount of web pages accumulating on the Internet has no value. This brings us to the third portion of the search engine: ranking.
After crawling and indexing vast amounts of content on the web, Google is ready to collect (and elegantly and usefully display) the information we’re looking for when we search. So, how does the system determine which pieces of information to prioritize? The Google search engine is composed of various algorithms that filter out what content may or may not be useful for a given query.
The algorithms, which employ artificial intelligence to carry out their functions, accomplish various tasks. Among countless others, they understand the language used in the query and identify keywords to ascertain the meaning of that query.
They then match keywords to the style used in various web pages to decide whether the content of those pages is relevant to the question.
Next, the algorithms measure the frequency with which users on the web are brought to a web page in order to assess the quality and dependability of that page’s content and finally evaluate the compatibility of web pages with different devices to determine the usability of those pages.
Equipped with this rudimentary understanding of Google’s search engine, you can be at least reasonably confident that the information Google provides you is worth your perusing. The next time you have a question, consult Google; you likely won’t be disappointed.
Written by Jared Nussbaum
Edited by Calvin Ma, Gihyen Eom, Rohan Mehta, Michael Ding, Kevin Ma, Jason Kauppila, Jack Argiro & Bryan Xiao