Introduction to Google


I'm focusing on Google not because it has (or doesn't have, who knows any more!!!) the largest databases of downloaded Web pages and other pages. Rather, I'm focusing on this search tool because the company has, generally, been the most proactive in expanding the range of information retrieval tools and resources of any search engine vendor in the world. Look at its book digitization and Google Earth projects two of an ever-growing list of examples.

So, it really is amazing what Google has accomplished since it has only been around since 1998, though Sergey Brin and Larry Page actually began development of the technology in 1995. See the Google History ( Web page for a full discussion of the evolution of the company's technology and the company history.

Pagerank ranking technology

What was particularly important about the search engine technologywas the way of ranking results of a search. (Though Google is, apparently, moving from it because of the endless attemps to manipulate it by marketing companies practicinig "search engine optimization" strategies) Specifically, Brin and Page developed a "link analysis" algorithm ("pagerank") which ranked the pages resulting from a search according to what other and how many Web pages and sites linked to a particular Web page. Part of the ranking involved an assessment of the repute of the other Web sites/pages and assumes that more respected Web pages will link to other quality Web pages.

Example: You do a search on "medical ethics." Pageranking usually brings up the following Web sites in the first five results:

A general introduction to Google's search engine technology is at:

Combined with conventional ranking

Major Google Tools

The table below is a part of a my home page, which consists of a collection of tools and Web site that I use frequently, not just Google sites. Another section of my home page has a variety of Yahoo tools plus several other search engines, indexes, and links to databases and other Web sites that I often use. I wanted you to see it to get an idea of the range of tools that Google offers.

Basic Web Search 
Web Suggest
Advanced Search 
Proximity (API hack)
Soople (API hack)
Scholar Advanced
 Print Advanced 
  Groups Advanced  
News Advanced
Blog Search Advanced
 Images Advanced
Froogle Advanced
Catalogs Advanced 
Gogglizer (API hack)

Translation Tools
Set Alerts

I'm not going to discuss all of the Google tools above, but I want to focus on a few below. The ones in RED are ones that you might not be aware of but which I think you should try, as they offer either important capabilities or access to information from other sources than pages intended specifically for the Web. Adn Google keeps developing new tools, most currently in beta. Take a look at Google's "Services and Tools" aka "More, More, More" page ( and Google Labs ( to get an idea of what is coming down the pike.

Some of Google's Other Tools & Operations