A Look On Google Part 2 of 4

Philosophy – To Organize the World’s Information

The technological difference between Google and the other search engines was the PageRank algorithm, developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. With it, they were able to extract order out of the apparent chaos that reigns on the internet. It is often regarded as a perfect example of an abstract mathematical application to a practical, everyday, example – not to mention a very lucrative one: both of Google’s founders are now worth over $10 billion (US).

The mathematical genius was bestowed upon them by their parents. Sergey Brin is the son of a professor of statistics and a mother who works at NASA, while Larry Page’s parents are both computer-science teachers. They have established mathematical rules to understand the internet, and believe all information can be understood in mathematical terms. And have carried with them this deification of mathematics to Google.

Google is the natural home for geniuses. It is where computer nerds just finishing college hope to work at, and where researchers from other leading technology companies (i.e. Microsoft) are migrating. And they want to work at Google, not (just) because of the high paying salaries (which are always an excellent attraction), but because they feel they are making a contribution to humanity: they are organizing the world’s information.

And not just web pages. Google has started scanning entire libraries, thus bringing offline information to the online world. They now offer web mail (Gmail), which also scans and indexes your mail. They have also developed other technologies, which allow them to amass more information (in the end, that’s what they’re after, information).

Among these technologies, we can count: Picassa, which lets users edit and organize digital photos; Orkut, a social networking site; Blogger, which lets people create a professional-looking Blog in a matter of minutes; Gtalk, for online messaging and PC-to-PC calls (it will be broadened to allow calls to landlines – for free); Google Desktop, which allows you to organize files; Google Earth, with 3d maps of the entire surface of the planet; Google Pack, which allows you to set up the main programs you need on a new computer – including free antivirus, browser, anti-spyware, etc.; an online site called Google Video, a marketplace for uploading and downloading video files which has teamed up with YouTube, effectively gathering so many users it is the undisputed champion in the video blogging realm; and Google Docs & Spreadsheets (formerly Writely), which allows users to create text documents and spreadsheets, just like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, and share them online.

All this software is provided for free. They are also about to launch a new technology called the Gdrive (or the Google Grid), which will provide us with massive online storage space and possibly free internet access. This would be, of course, ad-supported, and they would be able to scan all data on their drives to index it (“organize it”). Yet indexing it, also means they are able to read anything you store, so personal privacy is essentially lost.

Some speculate that Google will later on link all these diverse systems (each of which with a massive database of stored information), creating what H.G Wells called the “world brain”. This global, all-knowing supercomputer would fulfill any geek’s artificial intelligence dream, and, in theory, possibly be capable of passing the Turing Test. [N.B. The test’s aim is to discover whether the response received through a terminal screen was produced by a machine or a human, provided we only communicate with it through our keyboard and the response is always text displayed on the screen.]


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Svaj Malizo - Design by Dzelque