Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Peek Behind the Curtain: How Google (or Any) Search Works (video)

Have you ever Googled something (or Yahooed something, or Binged something, depending how you swing) and wondered, "How does it know? How does the Internet always seem to find what I am looking for?" Well, here's your chance to find out.

[Aside: And if you've never asked yourself that, why on earth are you still reading this?Clearly, we have nothing for you here, and you need to move along now and let the grown ups talk about information management, programming and technology.]

The Googlers put together a nice, simple 5+ minute video that explains in laymen's terms how search engines work. I enjoyed watching because although I am familiar with search engine optimization and organic results, I find it interesting to hear search engines explain how they use information management and algorithms to basically read your mind and guess what you want. Like magical pixie fairies rushing to match your search terms with everything on the Internet to make a match.

Of course, if they wanted to tell the whole story, the next video would explain how Google is able to use your own personal Google account to track your entire Google search history, and thereby make a more informed guess as to whether you, personally, will find a particular result relevant, as opposed to whether the masses might generally find relevance between those terms and that result. But I guess that is a video for another day.

Meantime, check this out. I suggest even bookmarking it because it could come in handy trying to explain to execs why you should spend time and consideration on your metadata and referral traffic. Granted they might still prefer to believe that pixie fairies make the decisions, in which case the second video might be more relevant. 


If the execs still don't get it, just tell them to watch this and substitute the coke machine for the search engine and the coke bottle for the search results ;)
(Source: Engadget)

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