How does Google search bar work?

As we learned from the readings this week, Tim Berners-Lee explains that when he thought of the Web, he envisioned ” a space in which anything could be linked to anything”. He wanted this to be a single,global information space. He explains the idea behind this “space” by saying that every information would be labeled and with an address, and then, by being able to reference this information, the computer could represent association between things, and all this could be an open space for everyone to use and share.

As Irvine explains, the web is a protocol layer that works over the underlying technical architecture of the internet. The web is based on different standards and protocols including data standards, network services, HTTP protocols. So imagine all these different layers that make up the web architecture.

While reading about the web, I started thinking about the google search bar. 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, wait for it, “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, a lot of it remains unclear.

We usually refer to Google by saying that Google developed this program or created this algorithm, and sometimes we forget that behind the name is a big team of software developers, researchers, engineers, scientists, analysts that do all the work.

Back to my previous question, luckily, just by doing a google search on how google search works,(funny, right), we are able to have some answers,

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.

To make this search even better, we can do specialized searches including images, videos, maps, news articles, products, content in books, scholarly papers etc.. For these searches, Google has created specialized indexes that only contain the relevant sources.

Work cited:

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

“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/>.

Irvine, Martin “Introduction to the Web

Strickland, Jonathan. “How Google Works.” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, 20 Dec. 2006. Web. <https://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/basics/google1.htm>.