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Featured Website: Google.com

By Jeff Kelley

We love Google. We all use it here at Whittaker Associates and have found that it is the most useful search engine for finding whatever it is we are looking for. It looks like a straightforward search engine, but there is a lot more to Google than the simple search box and logo.

How does Google do it?

Google produces results based on a sorting system called PageRank™. PageRank claims to be “uniquely democratic.” It produces results based on votes that pages cast when they are linked together. For example Google sees one page linked to another as one vote, by page 1 for page 2. It also analyzes the content of the page that casts the vote. More important pages that cast votes weigh more heavily. But what it comes down to for me is that the more popular pages come up first, rather than pages highly ranked because someone has purchased a spot as an advertisement (www.google.com/technology/index.html).

Relevant Results

Unlike other sites that have banners and sponsor links at the top, Google doesn’t let marketing clutter your results. It’s fair, and that’s nice for the little guy. And because it’s democratic, Google weeds out sites which aren’t as useful, such as those that come up through metatag manipulation.

Even I Misspell a Word Once in Awhile.

Google uses a spell check and offers to search for the suggested spelling. I don’t know how many times I’ve been saved from rifling through pages for something that I misspelled, er mistyped.

Check out Google’s example of how it has helped many Britney Spears fans: www.google.com/jobs/britney.html

Other Features

Google offers a number of different ways to get at the information that you are looking for. My favorite is the Google Toolbar that IE users can add (http://toolbar.google.com). You can quickly search without returning to Google’s site. They also offer searches for wireless devices like WAP, web-enabled phones or handhelds (http://www.google.com/options/wireless.html). You can also add Google to your website to search the contents for free (www.google.com/services/free.html). And if you are really impressed with that, you can add the Google search appliance to your network (www.google.com/appliance).

If you’ve ever visited Google on a holiday or an artist’s birthday, you know its clever logos are fun to click on.

If you like another search engine we’d like to know why and how you use it.

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