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How Google Grows...and Grows...and Grows 278

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the take-a-lesson dept.
orangerobot writes "The latest issue of Fast Company has an article about how Google has managed to survive beyond its peers and develop a culture of openness and innovation. The article also mentions Google memes and spin-offs such as: Googlewhack, Googlebombing, Googleshare, Googlism and Google Smackdown."
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How Google Grows...and Grows...and Grows

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  • by coolmacdude (640605) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:00AM (#5535955) Homepage Journal
    When was the last time anyone visited another search engine? I can't remember when I did.
    • by ergo98 (9391) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:02AM (#5535973) Homepage Journal
      Indeed. Are we at the point yet where we declare Google a monopoly and start rooting for a competing search engine just because?

      Seriously, though, apart from the barriers to entry (namely having the computing power, storage, and bandwidth to spider the entire web) there are a wide range of ways that Google could be bested. The only reason they weren't before is that the major competitors saw search engines as a money losing proposition, and started throwing all their money behind duplicating Yahoo, making online communities, auctions, etc.
    • The last two that I can remember visiting are yahoo (which is google with a layer of yahoo on top) and dogpile, which I wasn't satisfied with.

      What I find odd is that I am the only person I know who does use google, and has for some time. My family uses whatever comes with aol, and my ex-gf used to use altavista.
    • by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:15AM (#5536050) Homepage Journal
      I happened to use Yahoo! earlier today, since they have news on their site, and links to other useful tools like yahoo maps, and free email... It also seems to work.
    • by John_Renne (176151) <zooi@gniffDEGASe ... et minus painter> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:19AM (#5536077) Homepage
      Google is one of the finest search-engines around but I use several different search-engines quit often. There's Kartoo [kartoo.com] that has great looks and vivisimo [vivisimo.com] that has the abillity to group results.
      • I just gave them a quick spin. Here's my highly subjective eval based on 2 minutes of use:

        Vivisimo [vivisimo.com] Light google-ish interface. "Clustered Results" is neat idea and may be quite useful. Seems a little light in the hits department, but so is every new search engine. Time will tell.

        Kartoo [kartoo.com] Ugly. Requires Flash - bad move - game over.

    • It was back a few years ago when Alta Vista came up fast, had a better search, and had more pages parsed.
      The fact is Google is the current boss because it is fast and gets you to want you want. If they were to become ad loaded pages, people would be switching to the next best thing.
    • Does it "work" or do you think it "works"?

      Because you'll get a completely different search singular/plural.

      This is one way in which Google can be improved or bested.

      Since I use Opera, I can search multiple search engines just by typing "s " into an address bar. And the results will pop up side-by-side in separate tiled windows. How much fussing does that take in IE?

      Dave.
  • by airrage (514164) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:00AM (#5535959) Homepage Journal
    Somewhere deep in the bowels of the google operating system is a little program -- a small, insignificant ranking program -- who is trying at this moment to break free and interface with his user: google-one.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Welcome to Googledot dot!!!!

    Bringing you every single fucking piece of news about Google you can dig up!!

    Can I be a slashdot editor now?

  • Spy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sokkelih (632304) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:02AM (#5535968)
    And google information-about-users-surfing-database grows, and it grows... :)
  • by DarklordJonnyDigital (522978) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:06AM (#5535989) Homepage Journal
    Is that all? A dozen comments will give you the most excellent GoogleFight [googlefight.com], no doubt. Googleshng [kekkai.org] deserves an honourable mention. Enjoy.
  • by hafree (307412) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:06AM (#5535995) Homepage
    Googleshare The invention of blogger Steven Berlin Johnson. Search Google for one word. Then search those results for the name of a person. Divide the number of results delivered for your second search by those from the first to get that person's "semantic mindshare" of the word.

    Is it just me or does this seem like one of the most pointless ides for a web site ever? Why would you devise a mathematical equation that calculates nothing...
    • "...If there were 10 sheep in a field and farmer Bob owned 5 of them what would farmer Bobs "semantic mindshare" of sheep be?

      Bonus Question:
      1) What is the proper Unit for "semantic mindshare".
      2) Express this in Hogheads/furlong
      Yeah i agree with hafree this is around as usual as an ashtray on a motorbike.

    • intersting results (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MrSkunk (544767)
      Very pointless, but yet somewhat entertaining. Someone set up a site where you can quickly perform a googleshare calculation [suppose.co.uk] on terms. Here are some of the results that I found kind of intersting.

      'microsoft' has a 24.44% googleshare of 'anti-trust'

      'linux' has a 62.64% googleshare of 'open source'

  • SIMPLICITY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _PimpDaddy7_ (415866) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:07AM (#5535998)
    Google just seems to "get it".

    They took a simple idea and kept it simple, yet making it extremely powerful.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:36AM (#5536185)
      Much like your post.
    • Exactly! Just look at Yahoo. Not only did they try to build a good search engine (which they were successful for some time), but IMO they overstretched and tried to build an entire web community with email, chats, geocities web host, and free internet via BlueLight.com. Google on the other hand seems to have the priority of giving you the *information* you seek fast and straightforward, uncluttered with huge ad banners and the like.
    • SIMPLICITY. Google just seems to "get it". They took a simple idea and kept it simple, yet making it extremely powerful.

      Put another way [realultimatepower.net]:

      Q: Why is everyone so obsessed about Google?

      A: Google is the ultimate paradox. On the one hand they don't give a crap, but on the other hand, Google is very careful and precise.
  • Google smackdown and Googlewhack? I hadn't heard of these terms before, but after looking at them, perhaps it is for the best...

    levine
  • Google as a business (Score:5, Interesting)

    by totallygeek (263191) <sellis@totallygeek.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:08AM (#5536007) Homepage
    I suppose with all the advertising and being the best search engine they are running well in the black, but I wonder for how long. Yahoo at one time was the only search engine most used (okay, so I used Alta Vista). All it would take is another search engine to crop up for less money that has a better method and Google is out of the limelight. So, I understand them moving into other areas of business. What has this done for their company, and when are they going public?

    • What has this done for their company, and when are they going public?

      I don't understand why people equate IPO's with success. An IPO is basically floating an unsecured loan from the public at large. If they have a solid business model which doesn't require them to outlay huge wads of cash they don't have in order to expand, I'd say they're doing pretty darn well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:09AM (#5536013)
    It is interesting to note that Google has been the only major coroporation to be successful while employing an 'ethical' policy. Unlike other search engines their page ranking system is 110% fair as they do not accept 'payments' (read bribes)to increasing ranking scores, they have not adopted widespread advertising (although most people would be happier if they had never allowed advertising on the site at all), and they have released all their search algorithms to the scientific community which has been a boon to people reaearching in Mathmatics/Computer Science.

    Finally they used Linux when most of the other web businesses were running Windows. Their example has shown that a business running linux can suceed, even though it can be more difficult than running windows.
    • by shish (588640) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:15AM (#5536047) Homepage
      > and they have released all their search algorithms to the scientific community

      but patented them >:-(

      > although most people would be happier if they had never allowed advertising on the site at all

      I've found that google is the only site ever that actually gives useful on-topic ads, and thus the only ads I ever follow are google ones
      • by jkujawa (56195) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:57AM (#5536340) Homepage
        Google's patents tend to actually be valid.
        The patent system, as it was originally intended, is not evil. Google's technology tends to be novel and innovative, which is exactly what the patent system was intended to foster.

        They're not patenting things like "1-click".
        • The patent system, as it was originally intended, is not evil. Google's technology tends to be novel and innovative, which is exactly what the patent system was intended to foster.

          Exactly! And when Google's patents run out, at least we know their algorithms will be available to the public since they've already been released, as opposed to other companies that might try to hide or suppress such things.

    • by lylonius (20917) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:53AM (#5536731) Homepage
      I would hardly consider the google toolbar to have a triumphant level of ethics.

      Not only does google plant an "infinite" cookie (infinite in unix epoch land) to uniquely id each user, but it logs every web site you visit, every GET string from each of those sites, as well as each HTTP REFERER. In terms of contextual user-tracking, that's a fairly significant breach of user-privacy.

      I realize that google makes their disclaimer very clear, but so do most other spyware companies. I also realize that we can all disable sending cookies to google as well. Unfortuneatly most anti-spyware products like spybot and ad-aware do not flag google's behavior as such, leaving many users in the dark regarding google's monitoring. I also realize that many people have personal firewalls, but the toolbar sends its requests to the same IP as each of the www sites at each of Google's 7 data centers... disabling the toolbar monitoring effectively disables your use of their web site.
      • You'd have a valid point if Google didn't make you read this page [google.com] prior to downloading the toolbar. They couldn't have made it any clearer, IMO.

        "By using the Advanced Features version of the Google Toolbar, you may be sending information about the sites you visit to Google."

        "Google will not sell or provide personally identifiable information to any third parties."

        "We understand and respect your privacy concerns. By selecting this option, you will not have access to advanced functionality. However, no i
      • Google's toolbar sends data on the sites you browse only with the advanced features turned on. These advanced features are things like the ability to view Pagerank, or "Pagerank voting" - you can click a plus or minus button, and have a very slight effect on a page's Pagerank. I don't see how Google could implement either without sending a query to their servers containing the URL of the current site.

        The privacy implications of these features are laid out very clearly in the configuration page, in plain E

  • by path_man (610677) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:11AM (#5536023)

    When your company name becomes a verb (google): to search for something; I'm going to google for that computer part you know that you're onto something.

    Google has survived the dot.com bubble burst because they offer a great service that people want. The natural thing for most companies (brick and mortar or otherwise) is to spin-off and leverage the successful business model into something that will grow their company.

  • Anti-Google (Score:4, Interesting)

    by totallygeek (263191) <sellis@totallygeek.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:12AM (#5536025) Homepage
    Interesting that no one has purchased Fuck Google [fuckgoogle.com] yet. It has been for sale for a while.
  • uh oh (Score:4, Funny)

    by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:12AM (#5536030) Homepage Journal
    Google believes that users' productivity begins to wane after 0.2 seconds.

    I must have problems, since it takes me at least 5 times that amount to decide what to search for!
  • by shayborg (650364) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:14AM (#5536046)
    Any simple search engine that has become basically a cultural icon has to be special. You don't search for anything any more, you google for it.

    Google was a good search engine in the beginning. It gained popularity, which made it a better search engine, which let it gain more popularity, which made it an even better search engine, ad infinitum.

    It's not an exaggeration to claim that, right now, Google has earned itself the enviable position of becoming the first (at least nearly) definitive search engine.

    -- shayborg
    • It is infinitely and easily helpful (much more so than Yahoo or Infoseek, etc, etc) to my research for my eBay items that I sell. It also helps me find out scam artists. One of the best features about Google is typing in an email address and seeing if that person has a residence or business or what they are involved in. I do this with everyone on Yahoo auctions that I bid or buy from. Try it with your own email address and see what it comes up with.

  • by bunyip (17018) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:16AM (#5536052)
    Wow - we've had a story up about somebody's website for at least 10 minutes and we haven't slashdotted it yet. Am I the only one who's noticed?

    Alan.
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:23AM (#5536099) Homepage Journal
    You mean... You mean... a Google just for pr0n???

    Oh, you mean that googlewhack! [googlewhack.com]

    Erm... Hem... Uh, never mind. Carry on.
  • Funny that the article didn't mention the fact that Google's lawyers recently asked [linguistlist.org] Paul McFedries to remove the word 'google' from his excellent wordspy [wordspy.com] lexicon. A company that 'gets it' indeed.
    • by will_die (586523) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:00AM (#5536358) Homepage
      Same way as kleenex,xerox and hormel(spam) have done.
      All done for the reasons that want to keep the word for business use and don't want thier competitors to be able to use thier brand name as something else.
      In the case you mentioned they had/have Google down as a synonym for search, a verb which cannot be protected. If Google did not protect their name they would have no more rights to use the word then Yahoo, or alta vista would to use the word.
      IIRC, they finally solved the problem by mentioning that Google was a protected word of the Google corporation.
      • Same way as kleenex,xerox and hormel(spam) have done.

        Actually, Hormel [spam.com] has, in fact, stated that they don't mind the use of Spam to describe unwanted e-mail.
        • That still makes perfect sense since common usage of the term spam to describe unsolicited bulk e-mail only would dilute Hormel's Spam trademark if their product involved any form of e-mail. Since their business is processed pork and thus has no connection with e-mail whatsoever it is quite easy for them not to object to the usage of the term 'spam' for unwanted e-mail.

          Sometimes I wonder what's so bloody hard about trademark law that the slashdot geeks almost always get it wrong. Of all areas in law it h

    • by dissy (172727) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:04AM (#5536397)
      > Funny that the article didn't mention the fact that Google's lawyers recently
      > asked [linguistlist.org] Paul McFedries to remove the word 'google' from his
      > excellent wordspy [wordspy.com] lexicon. A company that 'gets it' indeed.

      Erm, thats odd, because that never happened. Did you just make that up on the spot or did it take you a while to prepare?

      Google asked them to change their definition of 'google' from "To search for something" to "To search for something using the google search engine"

      But they never once _DEMANDED_ that they remove the word google.

      The wordspy.com listing was clearly incorrect.
      Google simply corrected them.

      So no its not too funny that the article didnt mention lies and FUD. Its a refreshing change actually.

      What I _do_ find funny is you even link right to the article that proves me right and your own statements wrong! Did you even read it?

      Direct quote from the article you linked:
      > we want to make sure that when people use "Google," they are referring
      > to the services our company provides and not to Internet searching
      > in general.

      The email then ends with:
      > We ask that you help us to protect our brand by deleting the definition of
      > "google" found at wordspy.com or revising it to take into account the
      > trademark status of Google.

      Hell, even keeping the clearly wrong and incorrect definition would be OK with google if they simply added a (TM) mark after the word Google from how their email reads!

    • If they want to maintain the Google trademark they are required to take this kind of action. By not activly defending a trademark you risk losing it into the public domain (cf. Kleenex, et. al.).

      Google does not want to see the following phrases to become common place:

      "I just used MSN to GOOGLE for the latest IIS exploit"
      "My Yahoo GOOGLE sure brings up a bunch of ads"

      My understanding of the situation was that Google ASKED to have the term removed as opposed to using a Cease and Desist letter right off the
  • Here is the google cache for google smackdown [google.nl] that is currently /.'ed
  • With all due respect to the good people at Fast Company, I was alomost made ill as the writer gushed over how wonderful

    EVERYTHING at Google was.
    Being just a bit cynical, without being a a conspiracy theorist, I wonder why. Does google plan on a big advert prgram with Fast? Does the writer want a new job? hmmmm.
  • by Syncroswitch (656450) <jack DOT lauritsen AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:32AM (#5536149)
    I was just wondering how many people use Google as their home page. It seems to be the sight I use the most when I am trying to finish real work. ( I spend more time on Slashdot, but that dosent make it useful... its like taking the newspaper, or LJ to the bathroom...) Does anyone know of a listing or poll of homepage settings. Would slashdot like to run one...
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <.teamhasnoi. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:40AM (#5536215) Homepage Journal
    I hear all this talk about it, but there is no link in the story.

    Is there a good search engine I could check to see what this 'Google' is?

  • niche search engines (Score:4, Informative)

    by blinder (153117) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .evad.rednilb.> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:40AM (#5536219) Homepage Journal
    I use google, but I find using niche search engines to be much more useful. Google is great for getting a bajillion returns, and the first 2 or 3 pages worth are mostly relevant, but for specifics I use some of the niche search engines. A good one is diysearch [diysearch.com] and sites like Outersound [outersound.com] for finding indy music and other resources.

    Yeah, it takes a bit more work to find these niche search engines/resources, but they are out there, and the noise is much much lower.

    Just my $.02

  • Google News (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jaguar777 (189036) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:41AM (#5536224) Journal
    I'm beginning to wonder what percentage of new Slashdot stories deal with google. Google seems to be a topic just as active as Microsoft. Maybe it is time for a Google section?
  • by kinnell (607819) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:44AM (#5536241)
    So Google got rid of the managers

    I hope this is an idea which catches on. Think what mankind could achieve if engineers were free to be creative, unhindered by the mindnumbing shackles of management and beaurocracy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:52AM (#5536304)
    In 1945, Vannevar Bush wrote an article for the Atlantic Monthly called "As We May Think", detailing the first account of a hypothetical hyperlinking system. In it, he writes of a system that keeps track of where a user surfs (not the terminology he uses), and the user is able to make comments about connections about different pieces of media. The more a user traverses the same path of connections between two documents, the heavier the link becomes, so to speak. I just reread this article a couple of weeks ago and was shocked at the parallels with Google; particularly how they use established links to figure out the ranking of a page, and then thinking about how they bought Blogger (presumably, so people could make comments about connections on the web). Perhaps Google's success comes because they have created a system that so successfully mimics the way that we think collectively.
  • Google proves that not being bought out (advertisements, false rankings..) pays off more in the long run.
  • by Hell O'World (88678) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:00AM (#5536364)
    From the article: ...without alienating neophytes who type in "amazon.com" to find . . . Amazon.com. ( Yes, people really do that. Google doesn't know why. )

    I have watched users do this, and it is pretty obvious why. To the neophyte, there are just these boxes where you type in stuff. It is not clear that one is part of the browser and one is being generated by a web page. Advertisers take advantage of this same misunderstanding when they have ads that look like dialog boxes. Which reminds me, I don't know how to tell you this, but, your computer is not optimized for downloading!
    • Actually I do something slightly different. Let's say I'm looking for the book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on Amazon.com. I either have to go to Amazon.com, let it redirect me to that whatever-the-hell-it-is URL, go to the search box, type in the name, select "Books" from the pull-down menu, look at the search results, click the name of the book I want, then click through another page of Amazon trying to sell me unrelated crap that they think I want before I get to the book. I can shorten this by goin
    • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @01:56PM (#5537817)
      I don't know how to tell you this, but, your computer is not optimized for downloading!

      Yeah, I know. It's because too much of my bandwidth is being used up by my PC broadcasting an IP Address to the world.

    • From the article: ...without alienating neophytes who type in "amazon.com" to find . . . Amazon.com. (Yes, people really do that. Google doesn't know why. )

      I can tell you why. Because I have done it. (Well, maybe not to find amazon.com. But typing a URL in the Google search box.)

      I wanted to find the google cache of an article that was slashdotted.

      I had hoped that Google's interface would be clueful enough to include pages whose URL was an exact match for the search string - bringing up the index pa
  • They never sell advertising to the same client twice, because once they've tried it they realise how poor value for money advertising on Google or Yahoo is so they don't come back.

    The reason this doesn't bother Yahoo! or Google is because there is a huge market out there simply waiting to find out that it doesn't work.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:34AM (#5536586)
    Go to Google's home page, and search for "French military victories". Then, hit the "I'm Feeling Lucky button.

    I think you will not be surprised at the results.

  • by NigelJohnstone (242811) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:39AM (#5536622)
    Yeh, Googles great an' all, but that doesn't mean it can't be better.

    All the main keywords come up with heavily text focussed sites because text is what Google can index properly. They need to be better at rating image sites and annimation sites.

    Then there's the 'multi-domain' spamming - sites set up across multiple domains pretending to be different but all being basically the same, simply for the link bonus.

    If Google detects that several domains are really the same site, then it should treat all links between the sites as internal links in a single site, and all the sites corresponding pages should get the same PR value, since they *are* the same page, just on different domains.

    At the moment it seems to assign the PR to one of the sites and drop the PR on the others. I can understand that they don't want a big cluster of sites dominating the index, but shouldn't it simply treat the sites as one great big site and return only 2 entries from the whole group?

    Also how about using geography & time to detect when weighting the value of a link?

    Suppose 2 DNS entries are registered at roughly the same time by the same person in the same address those sites are more likely to be the same site so links between them should have a lower rating.

    Now suppose 2 sites are registered by different people, but in the same town. Links between those two sites should be downgraded slightly, since there is a slight probability of collusion.

    Same with domains that cross link at and were created at the same time but in different locations by different people. Much more likely that those people would be looking to link exchange and so the links would be less about content and more about exchange.

    So the maximum weight would be given to a link that came later on as a site became more popular, from a site that was registered at a different time from a different person in a different location. In this case the chance of collusion would be very low so the link could be trusted more - its much more likely to be done for content reasons.

  • Toot Toot! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Whatsthiswhatsthis (466781) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @12:00PM (#5536790)
    from Googlism:

    cmdrtaco is getting married to the fine woman this website is run by
    cmdrtaco is still known to post hoaxes or wild
    cmdrtaco is gay
    cmdrtaco is brilliant
    cmdrtaco is nothing more than a perl script
    cmdrtaco is lame
    cmdrtaco is my hero
    cmdrtaco is the one that is laying on the purple couch with the notebook
    cmdrtaco is a torvelian
    cmdrtaco is an idiot

    And my favorite...

    cmdrtaco is psychic
  • And it's why, most of the time, the Google home page contains exactly 37 words. "We count bytes," says Google Fellow Urs Holzle, who is on leave from the University of California at Santa Barbara. "We count them because our users have modems, so it costs them to download our pages."

    And yet the google logo on the home page is 8.3 KB!

  • by bmcent1 (598227) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @01:08PM (#5537411)
    I LOVE Google! I thought it was the best search engine out there from the day I first saw it in beta. It is fast, clean, and the results returned are usually right on the mark. They used comodity computing hardware and Linux (I think, or BSD) to get the most computing power for their dollar. What worries me, because I have recently come face to face with the status quo, is that Goodle, and FAST/AllTheWeb/Inktomi (possibly including LookSmart) virtually OWN the entire web seach business. There are two or three corporations now that run the backend seach engines for the top 20 web search sites. That alone would not necessarily be a problem. But have you tried to get your site listed in a seach engine lately? Google and AllTheWeb now tell you to expect 4-8 weeks to be listed. On most you can pay money for an "expedited listing." Back in my day, the search engines WANTED URL submissions and they would crawl your site quickly because there was a lot of competition to build the biggest indexes on the web. That doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Google, and other search engines are incredibly important to the web. When search engines started out, they didn't accept pay for placement or expedited listing for a fee. Serving such a central role on the web, this trend is not the direction I'd like to see search engines taking.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @02:05PM (#5537890) Homepage
    Fast Company doesn't get it. Google is successful because they live within their means. They started as a low-cost operation, and they didn't pour money into "expansion" until they had actual revenue to cover it. Compare, say, VA Linux, with that huge IPO for a dinky company.

    Stock market hype types keep talking about Google "going public". They're more likely to go private; the founders may buy out the venture capitalists.

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