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In Google We Trust 246

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-read dept.
firstadopter.com writes "The New York Times (registration needed) writes about how far Google has penetrated our culture (soul sucking "Free" registration required) in the last six years with the pros and cons of its success. It's amazing to think 200 million searches are done on the search engine each day on an index of 6 billion pages."
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In Google We Trust

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  • by turnstyle (588788) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:07AM (#8561123) Homepage
    Is whether Google will be able to hold onto their cool after they have their IPO and have to answer to shareholders...
    • Not impossible... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Faust7 (314817) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:11AM (#8561159) Homepage
      After all, Apple has, hasn't it?
    • by saden1 (581102) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:17AM (#8561195)
      Once you go IPO things definitely change. Makes you wonder why such a profitable company wants to expose itself to the vultures at wall street? I mean really, they don't need to compete with MS and Yahoo because they already have a brand name that is more recognized and highly thought of. Googling is now synonymous with Internet searching.
    • by dnoyeb (547705) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:37AM (#8561296) Homepage Journal
      The real question is why Google and not Yahoo!? I always used yahoo, and yahoo actually advertises its service on TV, Google does not. So how/why did so many people end up using Google anyway?

      From what I know, I learned of Google on slashdot. Its lack of advertisements and painfully plesant and simple homepage devoid of millions of options and ads was just wonderful. I recommended it to all my friends.

      Unless someone else can come up with a better reason, I believe Google is so strong because of the endorsement of Nerds. Probably also why AMD/Intel/ATi/NVIDIA let slip highly overclockable products every now and then.
      • by turnstyle (588788) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @12:04PM (#8561468) Homepage
        Once upon a time, Yahoo was cool and had the endorsement of nerds.
        • Looking back, though, Yahoo was never really that great. The only big feature it had over any other search engine was its category system. I never really used Yahoo exclusively back then, I was also partial to Webcrawler and Altavista. However, now that Google's arrived on the scene, with its exceedingly huge index and PageRank, I very, very rarely ever use another search engine. It's just that good and convenient.
      • by rtaylor (70602) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @12:14PM (#8561535) Homepage
        [i]I recommended it to all my friends.[/i]

        I can personally vouch for why a good chunk of my home town (population 120K) uses it.

        When Google was in Beta, I told my parents. They saw the usefulness and being teachers immediately started recommending it to students and other teachers for research. Students in turn talked to other kids and their parents.

        About a month after that, the local librarian was recommending it, having heard about it from someone at the board office, who heard about it from another teacher that works at my mothers school.

        That's as far as I traced the path but I'm fairly confident it went further than that.

        Of course, I picked it up on Slashdot.
      • For me, the major turning point was when they acquired dejanews. The usenet archive was a great resource of help to me setting up my linux boxes, when not everything worked out of the box like it is today.
      • by mindriot (96208) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @12:30PM (#8561619)
        Google simply won because it did what it was supposed to do -- find web pages. Just that. Fast. No advertisement crap and other "portal" bullshit. Remember, when Google came up, other engines were getting gradually more clogged up with crap no one needed -- just because someone wanted to make an extra buck. Look at the other engines now. Like AltaVista. They've all gone back to simpler interfaces and concentrated on what they are supposed to do -- providing a simple interface for a web search, not a shopping mall.

        Once people realized that Google just /worked/, the world was conquered simply by word of mouth...
        • by KingJoshi (615691) <slashdot@joshi.tk> on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:10PM (#8562256) Homepage
          Which is one thing people forget but makes others things all the more puzzling.

          Winamp became almost the defacto music player, and while WMP has also a large share, winamp gained popularity through word of mouth as well.

          ICQ *used* to have the same, until the software began to deteriorate. Now, AIM, MSN and Yahoo are the popular ones, though I don't know of anyone that uses Yahoo (I hear different ones are popular in different regions of the world).

          Programs such as Kazaa, Gnutella, Imesh, etc also gained widespread usage pretty fast.

          So, how come Mozilla and Opera (obviously technically better products) didn't spread as fast?

          It is true that the default setting by Microsoft makes a huge difference. That helps with MSN (Windows) Messenger and MSN.com. AIM gets a boost due to the many AOL users. But we know that quality products and services do spread rapidly through word of mouth endorsments. What is keeping Open Source Software behind?

          GAIM isn't as popular as Trillian. I don't know of anyone that uses Jabber, though I wish more did. Is OpenOffice.org being held back severely by those that pirate (copyright infringe) Microsoft Office? But two things being free, obviously that also means there is enough hassle to change or the product is inferior (in the minds of the many users).

          Switching OSes is even more of a drastic change, so if people seem unwilling to embrace Open Source less than piracy for application software, then it seems unlikely Linux will be embraced in the home anytime soon.

          I think GNU/Linux is not ready yet for the home (though I do think it's ready for business desktops) but beyond that, I think word of mouth reputation must also improve. Hell, based my own experiences, I wouldn't recommend people use Linux except Knoppix or MandrakeMove right now.

          It's obvious that advertising and Microsoft's monopoly and default settings make a huge impact. But word of mouth recommendations make a huge difference. And right now, Linux's reputation (and I guess Mozilla as well, though I'm not sure as to what reasons those are) also need improving.
          • Damn, I previewed, but forgot to add this...

            What Microsoft realizes is that its monopoly isn't secure. When (or IF for the less hopeful) Linux makes inroads and starts to get more third party support, costs for transitioning from MS Windows to Linux begin to erode for everyone. That's why FUD is even more important for them, because in whatever way they can, GNU/Linux's reputation and credibility can never gain high standing with the public.
      • True. Nerds are actualy respected by there none neard peer grupe.

        I.e. I sometimes get asked for advise on things way outside my skilset, like medicine, personal relationships or cars. People naturaly asume that if you can resolve an IRQ conflict you can setle a lovers quarel too :)

        By this logic if Neerds endorse Google it is sean as great.
      • by ShadowRage (678728) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:51PM (#8562513) Homepage Journal
        I think it's the fact that google.com is much easier to type in, it loads fast on slow connections, etc..

        type in search.yahoo.com..then wait for all the images and special stuff to load...

        type google.com in.. bam.. loaded. put in what you need.. results come up in almost an instant.

        that, and better and more accurate search results, minimal ads, etc... makes it king of the ring compare to others that show every off topic search result, load hundreds of images, ads, and other crap... it's easy to see why google became king.

        it simply offered a better service.
    • by BoldAC (735721) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:51AM (#8561399)
      Just remember NOT to purchase google when it goes IPO.

      Yahoo spiked big right after the IPO, and then it took years to return to that value.

      Even Money last month noted that people should not buy stock in a new IPO as most of them rise rapidly, fall rapidly, and then level out after a few years.

      I love Google and will love to own a piece of the company... I am just going to wait for the honeymoon period to be over first. :)

      AC
      • If you know it'll rise rapidly, then can't you be an early buyer and then sell after it's gone up some? You don't have to wait for it to peak (that's hard to predict), but you're predicting that it'll go up so that means you can make money by buying low and selling high.

        I just looked at YHOO and except for that rise and then dip for the first couple of months, it steadily rose for three years. Then it dropped at the beginning of 2000 and somewhat leveled around 2002 and began to rise again near 2003.

        But
  • Only appropriate... (Score:5, Informative)

    by interiot (50685) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:07AM (#8561125) Homepage
    It's a NYT story about google, but without the google no-reg link [nytimes.com], heh.
    • Article Text (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:09AM (#8561146)
      In Searching We Trust
      By DAVID HOCHMAN

      Published: March 14, 2004

      BEN SILVERMAN is what you might call a Google obsessive. A producer and a former talent agent best known for bringing "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" to American television, Mr. Silverman Googles people he is lunching with. He Googles for breaking news, restaurant reviews and obscure song lyrics. He Googles prospective reality-show contestants to make sure they don't have naked pictures floating around the Web. And, like every self-respecting Hollywood player, he Googles himself. Competitively.

      "Guys all over town are on the phone saying, `I bet I can get more Google hits than you.' " he said recently. "It's become this ridiculous new power game."

      It's more like the new kabbalah. With an estimated 200 million searches logged daily, Google, the most popular Internet search engine, "has a near-religious quality in the minds of many users," said Joseph Janes, an associate professor at the University of Washington in Seattle who taught a graduate seminar on Google this semester. "A few years ago, you would have talked to a trusted friend about arthritis or where to send your kids to college or where to go on vacation. Now we turn to Google."

      The Web site that has become a verb is many things to many people, and to some, perhaps too much: a dictionary, a detective service, a matchmaker, a recipe generator, an ego massager, a spiffy new add-on for the brain. Behind the rainbow logo, Google is changing culture and consciousness. Or maybe not ? maybe it's the world's biggest time-waster, a vacuous rabbit hole where, in January, 60 million Americans, according to Nielsen/Net Ratings, foraged for long-lost prom dates and the theme from "Doogie Howser, M.D."

      "In one sense, with Google, everything is knowable now," said Esther Dyson, who publishes Release 1.0, a technology-industry newsletter. "We were much more passive about information in the past. We would go to the library or the phone book, and if it wasn't there, we didn't worry about it. Now, people can't as easily drift from your life. We can't pretend to be ignorant." But the flood of unedited information, she said, demands that users sharpen critical thinking skills, to filter the results. "Google," she said, "forces us to ask, `What do we really want to know?' "

      Google delivers information that can radically alter one's self-perception. About a quarter of "vanity" searchers ? those who search for their own names ? say they are surprised by how much information they find about themselves, according to a survey by the Pew Internet Project.

      Sometimes, they're really surprised. When Orey Steinmann, 17, of Los Angeles, entered his unusual name on Google's query line, he discovered that he was listed on a Canadian Web site for missing children and told a teacher. After an investigation, county officials took him into protective custody last month and federal marshals arrested his mother, Gisele Marie Goudreault. She has been charged in Canada with parental abduction, said Barbara Masterson, an assistant United States attorney in Los Angeles. Canadian authorities are seeking Ms. Goudreault's extradition, and Orey is deciding whether to contact the father he never knew.

      Then there are the Google miracle stories. The morning after five left-handed electric guitars owned by Robert McLaughlin were stolen from a storage room at his San Diego apartment complex last year, he searched Google's image library for guitar photos to use on a reward poster. Instead, he found the stolen goods. "The thief was selling them in a live auction," he said. "In the past, my report would have gotten lost in a mountain of paperwork. Because of Google, the cops recovered four of the five guitars that week."

      While some compare Google's reservoir of six billion documents to the ancient library at Alexandria, it often feels like the shallowest ocean on earth. "Google can be useful as a starting point to research or for superficial inquests," said James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress. "But far too often, it is a gateway to illiterate chatter, propaganda and blasts of unintelligible material."
      • Re:Article Text (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Then there are the Google miracle stories. The morning after five left-handed electric guitars owned by Robert McLaughlin were stolen from a storage room at his San Diego apartment complex last year, he searched Google's image library for guitar photos to use on a reward poster. Instead, he found the stolen goods. "The thief was selling them in a live auction," he said.

        Miracle my ass. I call shenaningans.

        Are you saying that in the space of a morning, the theft occurred, the thief took pictures, posted

    • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:25AM (#8561241) Journal
      Isn't it funny that the NY times weren't doing any positive stories about google (that I know of) until Google news partnered with NYTimes, and suddenly there's one every 2 weeks.

      Hmm... Not tin-foil hat time, but suspicious.
    • I wonder how people can call the NYT a soul-sucking link and still ostensibly hang about at the NYT all day. Put these clowns out of business: wait until a good link appears before posting to /..
  • WOW (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Wow, this is BIG news!

    People use Google!

    Calling the f'ing newspaper!
  • Its impessive. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orgazmus (761208) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:08AM (#8561131)
    5 years ago i would refuse too belive that the name of a search engine would turn into a common verb.
    Google it.
    Its better than RTFM ;)
    • by lxt (724570) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:20AM (#8561214) Journal
      Somehow I don't think "Just Dogpile it" would have the same effect :)
    • Re:Its impessive. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by costas (38724) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:24AM (#8561234) Homepage
      That means less than you may think...after all Hoover doesn't have a monopoly on vacuum cleaners nor Kleenex has the market cornered on tissues. Google just happened to be the first effective, widely popular search engine just as the Web was becoming effectively mainstream: the switching costs are still essentially zero (just point your browser to a different URL), so any company that can deliver searches better *enough* than Google, can become the new Google. That's even more impressive IMHO...
      • Re:Its impessive. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:39AM (#8561305)
        I see what you're saying but I do think that the name has played an important part in Google's success (not the most important part, however). When you think of Google you can imagine that simple logo of blue, red, yellow and green letters that greet you when you arrive. 'Google' rolls off the tongue a lot easier than pretty much every other search engine, hence the reason it's become a popular verb.

        "Just Yahoo it" - is hard to say quickly and coherently, and it doesn't flow that much

        "Just Alta-Vista it" - this is obvious, too many syllables, and you can't really shorten it to either Alta or Vista

        "Just Lycos it" - the S at the end flows straight into the 'it' and can therefore become confusing unless you have an annoying gap to separate the two words.

        Hoover and Kleenex are unique, instantly identifiable names that aren't a pain to say. I wonder if these companies would have even touched the level of respective marketshare they've had if their product names were 'bad'.
    • Why not? You dont use the name of a common compression program as a verb (well, not sure in english, but around here in spanish yes)? Or the name of a brand as the name of something (think at least in aspirin).

      Using it as a verb is like saying "use this particular search engine" because has become the default/best choice without thinking (with aspirins happened the same at least some time ago), and I would be surprised that that don't happens with more things.

    • Wasn't "Yahoo it" a verb five to seven years ago before Google became the search engine of choice?
  • by amacleod98 (757451) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:08AM (#8561133) Homepage
    It is interesting, whenever I want any information I go straight to google and rarely consider other sources. How many people do this? Do you ever find better results with other search engines?
  • Google link (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    No-reg link [nytimes.com] (free of karma whoring)
  • by intertwingled (574374) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:09AM (#8561145) Homepage
    Yep, while listening to Michael Myers commentary track of the Goldmember DVD, I heard him call Michael Caine a "veritable Google of the entertainment business." Thus, we are stuck with the word google as synonymous with search or knowledge base, whether Google likes it or not.
    • by Anonymous Coward


      google is a modification of the word googol [reference.com]

      but pronounced virtually identically, so really its the other way round and it was already in use (since at least 1938) before google discovered its branding potential

  • by TrentL (761772) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:09AM (#8561150) Homepage
    Well, Google has certainly affected web design. It's not uncommon for designers to arrange their site architecture in order to optimize their page rank.

    The good thing is that it's encouraged symantically correct HTML (ie. using [h1] and [em] tags, instead of [font size="30"] or [b]). The downside is that some people still don't understand what it takes to rise in the rankings: quality content and getting linked to. The more shady web designers set up link farms and share links like a heroin addict shares needles.
    • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:17AM (#8561197)
      The downside is that some people still don't understand what it takes to rise in the rankings: quality content and getting linked to. The more shady web designers set up link farms and share links like a heroin addict shares needles.

      Link farms, and other cheating schemes, are what result when people want to buy themselves a higher PageRank. They don't have quality content or want to wait for links to form.
    • The downside is that some people still don't understand what it takes to rise in the rankings: quality content and getting linked to.

      And mispellings. Nothing will get you hits like talking about Rush Limbough and Dr. Laura Shlessinger.
  • It's safe to say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by barenaked (711701) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:11AM (#8561155)
    It's safe to say when a search engine takes place as a verb in the 'tech cultures' vocabulary that it has created an empire "Would you google this for me...". In my opinion it was one of the great replacements for lycos and yahoo when it came out. Quicker more feature rich and over all better and easier to use, and that is why it has been able to grab such a market hold and popularity
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:12AM (#8561162)
    The actual headline on the NY Times article is "In Searching We Trust", but Slashdot calling it "In Google We Trust" isn't that far off the mark since no other search engine is even mentioned in the piece.

    Google isn't the only search engine out there, just the dominant one at the moment. Somebody who is using only Google, and is not aware that their are other tools with which to get a second opinion is missing out on a pretty big portion of the web that Google either hasn't discovered or just doesn't think highly of in PageRank.
    • The alternative... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:24AM (#8561238)
      I think the "next big thing" will be information only search engines. Filtering through the plethora of advertising and crud is getting more tiresome as the punters learn how to optimise their rankings. Something like Google [google.com] but with a Bayesian spam filter [slashdot.org] attached to the front end to filter the results for me...
      • Credible-source only searches do exist. The only problem is that without putting ads next to the results, the only way to make money is to charge the users.

        Lexis-Nexis is solid, it's just too expensive for the average user.
        • I'm happy with ads next to the results, as long as it filters the results themselves. AFAIK, Google doesn't get paid for regular search hits, just the "marked as sponsored" stuff, so that arrangement is fine with me. To be fair, I'd probably pay a trivial sum for access to a better-than-Google-and-no-ads search engine, as I do for Safari Bookshelf and some of my J2EE tools and docs, along with car reference manuals even. OT, but I'd say the age of mainstream payed-subscription content is well and truely upo
  • Devotion to google (Score:2, Interesting)

    by betelgeuse-4 (745816)

    I'm not religiously devoted to Google, I use it because I reckon it's the best search engine available. If something better comes along, I'd switch straight away.

  • by kisrael (134664) * on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:14AM (#8561174) Homepage
    Yeah, if you search on "apple" it's going to talk about the computer company. Search on "apples", you know, like human people talk, and the first hit is an excellent, informative site on the tasty fruit. Search on "fruit apple" (well, without the quotes) and you get relevant results as well. (On the other hand, "fruit apple" is a better search than "apple fruit", so there is some seeming arbitraryness to it...until you learn that Google gets some hints from word order on queries and pages.)

    But yeah, successfully using Google requires both some search term assemblage skill and some online cultural literacy. Old farts at the NYTimes might not be blessed with too much of either, but I bet their kids are.

    It's not perfect, but that college president / symphony director's comment "It's like looking for a lost ring in a vacuum bag. What you end up with mostly are bagel crumbs and dirt." sounds like it's coming from someone who doesn't really know how to use a search engine.
    • More or less, that's Google adapting to the way the language is used.

      The single form of the generic word "apple" is rarely used in conversation, when you're talking about just one piece of fruit it isn't a very newsworthy event. If you're discussing the fruit, you're usually talking about more than one apple.

      So, "apples" is more likely to mean the fruit, while the single word "apple" more likely to be headed for the computer company...
  • Media Sensationalism (Score:4, Interesting)

    by myownkidney (761203) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:14AM (#8561175) Homepage
    It's more like the new kabbalah. With an estimated 200 million searches logged daily, Google, the most popular Internet search engine, "has a near-religious quality in the minds of many users,"

    This is so untrue. Almost any computer savvy individual knows that google results are not very reliable. Google is just an online popularity contest. And it doesn't go very deep into the website structure. If you believe in google as your messiah, then you do really need to get your head checked.

    As for the story about Left Handed Guitars, all I can say is it took google more than one month to include my site in their searches. So unless the guy did the search after one month, he would probably not have found them.

    Google is not at all what it is hyped upto be. It has its uses, but it ain't the oracle my friend.

  • by Faust7 (314817) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:14AM (#8561179) Homepage
    Google, the most popular Internet search engine, "has a near-religious quality in the minds of many users,"

    And that is exactly why Microsoft will have a hell of a time toppling it with any MSN Search. Lord, Google is a verb now. The kind of entrenchment that Google has in our culture is extraordinarily difficult to overcome.
  • Firefox (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Haydn Fenton (752330) <no.spam.for.haydn@gmail.com> on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:17AM (#8561190)
    To be honest, before I used firefox [mozilla.org], or phoenix as it was called back then, I very rarely used google. However, since firefox has a built in 'google function' as I call it (this works by typing google [searchtopic] in the address bar and hitting enter) I must use it around 10 to 20 times a day.
    Looking back on things, I don't know how I ever got anything done without firefox or google...
    • this works by typing google [searchtopic] in the address bar and hitting enter

      You can save yourself some time. In Firefox and in Opera, you can type just the letter 'g' followed by keywords. It's really slick--probably the most useful feature of Opera for me.

  • by Gilesx (525831) * <gil@RASPforesightlinux.com minus berry> on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:17AM (#8561193) Homepage
    In my experience Google seems great for searching for popular items, but due to their ranking system if I want to perform an obscure search, my chances of finding anything are slim to none.

    Apparently, the "deep web" is the best place to make obscure searches, and I've used turbo10.com to perform searches in this way. It's really interesting to compare the results of two searches between google and turbo10 - google certainly appears to be the quick and easy search engine that grandma can use, but for serious work, I am increasingly finding myself turning to the deep web.
  • by itsme1234 (199680) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:17AM (#8561199)
    Here is the cached page if we ./ google:

    http://66.102.11.104/search?q=cache:zhool8dxBV4J :w ww.google.com/+google&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

    Wait ...
  • by MarkWatson (189759) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:18AM (#8561204) Homepage
    For developers, the Google SOAP API is great. I used it a year and a half ago for a demo system that answered "who" and "where" questions posed in natural language. You need to ask for a license key that allows 1000 SOAP based calls a day. In addition to searching, you can also use the Google spelling corrector with this API.

    Amazon also provides a SOAP (and REST) API.

    -Mark
  • by r6144 (544027) <[moc.uhos] [ta] [k6r]> on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:19AM (#8561207) Homepage Journal
    Indeed, searching (whether on the Web or on IEEE journals and similar academic things) is useful when you just want to have a basic idea about something popular, but it is easy to miss things this way, probably because others use a different wording, a different spelling, or simply because the actual authors are not the ones naming their ideas (you will probably not get Newton's original super-groundbreaking article on Newton's laws, except through trees of citations, just by searching for "Newton's laws" on any search engine :) When doing academic research, if we want completeness (for example to look for some new ideas) we ca n at least browse the contents of all recent issues of journals of interest, but there is no such thing on the web. Google Directory is an opportunity to get the things more complete for those who really need the completeness, but it is currently woefully incomplete.

    Currently many interesting sites, such as wikipedia, everything2, groklaw, are spread by words-of-mouth (mostly on slashdot :) Surely many people has taken the pain to collect a set of links that is hopefully quite complete by the time of writing (which is much harder than simple googling), but such pages usually show up only in obscure places at google. Maybe the community can invent some way to make an easy-to-use distributed link-list service where everyone can easily share the results of their searching efforts.

  • It's amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AbstracTus (576474) <`si.yranib' `ta' `ranie'> on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:19AM (#8561210) Homepage
    The other day I had to look up a missed call from my cellphone. Now, there is a pretty good online phonebook for my country (Iceland), but the number was not found. So I googled it (yes, it has become a verb), and google found it. Turns out it was a direct line to an employee of a company (who's main number was registered in the phonebook). I use google every single day, life just wouldn't be the same without it.
  • All Hype (Score:2, Funny)

    by johnhennessy (94737)
    I preface this by saying Google is probably the only search engine I use at the moment but ...

    This stinks of hype. With an IPO due later this year, a established news source writing at lengths about the wonders of Google sounds a bit fishy. I began to wonder reading the article - who exactly really wrote this...

    Hopefully its just the paranoid part of me.

    Some one, please, prove me wrong.
  • by LordK3nn3th (715352) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:28AM (#8561254)
    ...If you're lazy and afraid of possible spamming (probably not from NYT, but you never know), then try the slashdot account!

    Username: slashdot2003
    password: slashdot2003
    • I've registered personally a long time ago with a special email address that I only use for nyt, and I have _never_ received any spam on that email address. They are behaving fine in my book.
  • Same post (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Epistax (544591) <epistax&gmail,com> on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:37AM (#8561294) Journal
    I'm using wikipedia now for my encyclopedia over google (which I used to use). I've also been looking for alternative searching systems but google still seems to be the best. I wouldn't put much stock in them staying on top after profit driven investors get to them. Froogle has been an interesting foray, I must say.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:38AM (#8561302)
    The basic concept of PageRank is flawed because it assumes a monotonic ordering of sites on some single scale (e.g., popularity as defiend by linkage). The problem with PageRank is not the use of links to assess popularity, but the presumption of a single scale.

    The search of "Apple" illustrates this well. This search, like s many is deeply ambiguous. It could refer to the computer company, to the fruit, to the record company, to New York City, or to Apple Valley (MN or CA). Even if you know it refers to the company, its still ambiguous. It could refer to the company (as an investment), the products (for purchase), or a question(as in technical support).

    The point is that each of these ambiguous alternatives creates an independent cluster of hits. Although one can create a ranking within each cluster, it is impossible to construct a meanful rank for all hits across all clusters - the second hit for "Apple computer" is not comparable to the 2nd hit for "Apple Records".

    Instead of a pagerank scheme that sorts the universe of hits the instant the user enters the search, search engines should be more interactive. The first page of hits would emphasize breadth -- displaying hits most representative of their respective alternative clusters. As the searcher selects hits, the subsequent pages might show popularity-ranked hits within the clusters that seem to interest the searcher.

    Each hit and each page would serve a double-duty -- serving the searcher's need to get information from the internet, and answering the search engine's question about the needs of the searcher. Until the search engine understands each searcher and each search, it cannot hope to rank the hits.
    • It's true that due to PageRank, finding what you're looking for can be difficult when using a simple query like "Apple". But I have found that the quality of results are a direct result of how well formed my query is.
      Most people usually start out searching using simple queries, but as they get more experienced they learn that more complex queries [most of the time] result in more accurate results. This has resulted in classes like this one [jenkinslaw.org].
      Isn't it just too demanding to ask the search engine [whichever we
      • I never type in one or two word searches unless I'm looking for something extremely broad. My searches are usually comprised of at least 5 words. Very effective! My high school G/T History teacher made me the official class Googler a few years ago. I felt special.
  • 6 Billion Pages? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stevyn (691306) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:43AM (#8561329)
    I thought it was 4,285,199,774 pages
  • by Bl33d4merican (723119) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:48AM (#8561380)
    I think Google really is an example of a large company that everyone can like. Other posts have already alluded to the attitude many have taken--not even thinking of other search engines when looking for information. With an index of over 6 Billion Pages it's almost impossible for anyone else to compete. But these facts are just the tip of the economic and creative iceberg. Through a proactive strategy, Google has become a symposium of services. Google News, Froogle, and partnerships with Dictionary.com and Blogger.com. When google created a tool bar (http://toolbar.google.com/), Yahoo and Microsoft followed. (Google's toolbar, FYI, has been the most successful--much to Microsoft's chagrin.) It's actually rather amazing that such an aggressive and successful company has remained free of so much of the controversy typical of similar corporations. Google really is a friendly giant.
  • From the article:

    In Britain, a former mathematics student named Dave Gorman has created a popular play, a book and a television series based on his "Googlewhack" adventure, in which he chased down 54 other Dave Gormans,
    all while trolling you know where. [emphasis mine]

    My interpretation of the sentence was: hmm, strange that so many Slashdot trolls share the name "Dave Gorman".

  • by FePe (720693) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:50AM (#8561392)
    "The terrifying and wonderful observation about Google is that people these days are using it as an information resource of first resort," said Brewster Kahle, chairman of the Internet Archive, which is preserving hundreds of millions of Web pages for their historical value. "Unfortunately, many of them also believe if something's not on Google, it doesn't exist."

    I remember reading somewhere on the Net (of course) a piece called something like "Google Ate My Brain" refering to the fact that you have to google to know something, and you can't rely on your existing knowledge. While it's great to be able to use Google for nearly everything you would like to know about, it has its sad counterpoints. One of the counterpoints could be the fact that you are more unsure if what you know about a thing really is right, and you have to google for the truly definitive answer. And another counterpoint could be the absence of deep knowledge on websites.

  • by Marco Krohn (254334) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:50AM (#8561393)
    Registration is not needed! Thanks to google :-)

    Just google for the following URL:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/14/fashion/14 GOOG.h tml

    (without the space in "h tml")

    Google will tell you that it found no results, but that you can visit the link by clicking onto it. Do that and that's all.
  • by Everyman (197621) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:54AM (#8561414) Homepage
    I was disappointed in the piece. Because I'm the founder of Google Watch [google-watch.org], the reporter on the piece, David Hochman, called me twice in the last three weeks to talk about Google, for a total of about an hour. I have a feeling that the reason the piece came out the way it did is because he was constrained by his editors. The NYT has a custom-filtered AdWords feed from Google, and it's one of the reasons why the Digital NYT is in the black. Their record of publishing trenchant pieces about Google has been rather lame now for several years. Money talks, both at the NYT and at Google.
    • by khallow (566160) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @05:53PM (#8563604)
      On the other hand, Google Watch appears to be the site that routinely cries "wolf". I think there's a straight-forward reason to ignore Google Watch. You aren't providing real information [lindqvist.com], but rather vapid propaganda. For example, we're supposed to get worked up over the fact that a single Google employee worked for a year at the NSA [nsa.gov]? Is this something like the "one drop" rule? If you ever hire someone who worked for any period of time at the NSA, then you become a tool of the NSA? My point is that, if Google does something particularly heinous, then Google Watch will be well positioned to discredit or hijack any public reaction to this information. Just the kind of operation the CIA would do... hmmm...
  • by Rooktoven (263454) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @11:59AM (#8561445) Homepage
    "...It's amazing to think 200 million searches are done on the search engine each day on an index of 6 billion pages."

    Less impressive when you realize that 150 million of those searches are for Britney and Janet...

    (I kid, google is the most esssential tool for my job...)
  • I keep getting e-mails with subject lines identical to my searches. So either A. they're selling my information to the highest bidder or B. many people are taking advantage of the referring link to try and invade my mailbox.

    I wish google would stop passing the search words along with the URL when I click on a link. That's a privacy invasion.

    What's worse, now I've started to receive spam that's addressed as 'from' people whose names I've looked up.

    Other than that, I could worship at the temple of googl

  • by freelunch (258011) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @01:06PM (#8561804)
    200 million searches a day, eh? Being a performance geek, I am driven to estimate the implications of that load.. Please feel free to augment and correct..

    200M searches/day = 8.33M/hour = 138888/min =

    *** Google averages 2415 searches / second ***

    Average page size = 5,563 bytes (a search for "apple", hey I RTFA)
    Assume outbound bandwidth requirement of 6000 bytes/search with some overhead.
    2415/sec * 6000 bytes/search =

    *** 13.88 MB/sec avg or 1200 GB/day bandwidth requirement (OUTBOUND ONLY) ***

    CPU.. 2415 searches/second.. Determine required aggregate CPU capacity using various assumed values for 'CPU per search':

    0.25 CPU sec/search = 603 CPU seconds required for each wall second
    0.5 CPU sec/search = 1207
    1.0 CPU sec/search = 2415
    2.0 CPU sec/search = 4830
    4.0 CPU sec/search = 9660
    8.0 CPU sec/search = 19320

    Assume they only run the search boxes at 50-80% util and tweak estimates accordingly. Also, the burstiness inherent in the internet will greatly impact these requirements (assume at least +30% for the second to second variations as well as the hourly variations).

  • quit the whining (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dh003i (203189) <dh003i@nOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday March 14, 2004 @01:49PM (#8562120) Homepage Journal
    "soul sucking 'Free' registration required)"

    Wtf is that about? They're providing you with an article for free, on the condition that you give them some information so they can maybe recover their costs, and you bitch about it? If you don't like registration, don't register -- but then you don't get articles from websites that want to do that. Also, when they say "Free", they obviously mean registration has no monetary cost, not that it has no cost at all (e.g., privacy cost, time cost to fill out form). Many people place a high value on money, but a lower value on time and privacy (to the extent that private info is revealed by these forms).
    • It's a joke (Score:3, Informative)

      by mdfst13 (664665)
      /. has included articles from the NY Times for quite a while. There have been a number of complaints that it requires registration to read. The recommended solution has been to not include NY Times articles as /. links (i.e. to refuse to post a link to NY Times the same way /. would not link to an article that required monetary payment).

      The "soul sucking 'Free' registration required)" is a compromise that seems to be working (I don't see the complaints that registration is required anymore). Except when
  • by symbolic (11752) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @03:47PM (#8562813)

    What if google suddently went down? Completely. Totally. Off-the-map down. I wonder how well the internet would route around the problem. Sure there are other search engines, but think of all the more subtle effects that might seen as a result.
  • by torokun (148213) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @06:07PM (#8563685) Homepage
    Why the heck does every slashdot story linking to a free registration required site put it in a parenthetical after the link? 1) don't we figure it out after clicking it anyway? 2) who cares? 3) does this imply some disdain for free registration, even though it is part of the site's business model (i.e. making money)? 4) Isn't the endless repetition of these little phrases DISTRACTING and ANNOYING??!

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)

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