Internet Design and Google Search Bar

Today we use the word “data” in many different ways, but in the context of computing and information, it is related to structure, as an instance of a general type. Data is something that can be named, classified, sorted, analyzed. In any way that we use this term, we have to keep in mind that it should always be inseparable by the concept of representation. Ar Irvine suggests, by “representation” we understand a computable structure, usually of “tokens” (instances of something representable) corresponding to “types” (categories or classes of representation, roughly corresponding to a symbolic class like text character, text string, number type, matrix/array of number values, etc.). Representation in information and computing contexts defined byte sequences capable of being assigned to digital memory and interpreted by
whatever software layer or process corresponds to the type of representation — text
character(s), types of numbers, binary arrays, etc. Any form of data representation, then, is (must be) computable; anything computable must be represented as a type of
data. This is the essential precondition for anything to be “data” in a computing and
digital information context.

Computer systems, software, algorithms, Internet and Web protocols, and all
forms of data structures are intentionally and necessarily designed in levels that must “communicate” in an overall system design (termed the “architecture” of the system). The Internet and Web are not only network designs for transmitting digital data in standard formats from one address point (node) to another. They also form a networked computer system 
composed with many software, hardware, and networked computing processes on massively distributed servers that are precisely managed in levels or layers:

By Dr. Martin IrvineBy Alan Simpson

While reading about the web, I started thinking about the google search bar and how much data is stored and retrieved when we search for something, and how does the search bar gives the responses back.  In an article by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, they explain that they build a search engine that used links to determine the importance of the individual pages on the World Wide Web. This engine was first called “The Backrub”. Soon after, it was renamed to Google. But, how does the search bar work? Since we cannot physically see the process that happens behind this web page, we have to de-blackbox it and look at the “hidden” layers.

Google uses a special algorithm to generate search results. It also uses automated programs called spiders or crawlers (which scan Web pages and create indexes of keywords and links from that page to other sites), and has a large index of keywords and where those words can be found. The most important part of the process is the ranking of the results when we search for something, which determines the order that Google displays results. Google uses a trademark algorithm called PageRank, which assigns each page a score, based on factors like the frequency and location of keywords within the Web page, how long the web page has existed, the number of other Web pages that link to the page in question. So, if you want your web page to be higher in the search results, than you need to provide good content so that other people will link back to your page, and the more links your page gets, the higher the PageRank score will be.

I found this interesting video on code academy made by John, Google’s Chief of Search and AI, and Akshaya, from Microsoft Bing, They cover everything how the search bar works, how special programs called “spiders” scan the Internet before you even type in your search terms to what determines which search results show up first.

References:

Berners-Lee, Tim Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimative Destiny of the World Wide Web. New York, NY: Harper Business, 2000. Excerpts.

Michael Buckland, Information and Society (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017)

“How We Started and Where We Are Today.” Google. Google, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2017. <https://www.google.com/intl/en/about/our-story/>.

Review Irvine, “Using the Model of Levels to Understand “Information,” “Data,” and “Meaning”

The Internet: How search works, found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVV_93mBfSU