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The Internet

Larry Page: Google Was an Accident 260

DarklordJonnyDigital writes "Ars Technica is reporting that Google founder Larry Page has admitted that the Google project wasn't originally intended to be a search engine at all. "It wasn't that we intended to build a search engine. We built a ranking system to deal with annotations." ' Of course, happy accidents have often been the cause for advancement, technologically or otherwise.
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Larry Page: Google Was an Accident

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  • Lego (Score:4, Funny)

    by Duds ( 100634 ) <dudley.enterspace@org> on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:46PM (#5319822) Homepage Journal
    Well given they were building PCs out of lego we didn't expect them to come up with something normal deliberately did we?
    • Re:Lego (Score:3, Funny)

      by Squareball ( 523165 )
      lol I miss my legos! Welp this is just another thing my self and google have in common.. we were both accidents of our creators! ;)
    • by Sun Tzu ( 41522 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:52PM (#5320248) Homepage Journal
      This reminds me of the time I was trying to write a data storage system and accidently invented a combination compression and encryption algorithm far faster and more space-efficient than anything the world has ever known. Currently, it is one-way only ... but when I get the decompression / decryption working, I'll be rich!!! Muahahahahahahahahaha!!!

      Send us your Linux Sysadmin [librenix.com] articles.

  • by the idoru ( 125059 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:46PM (#5319824)
    there are no accidents, just happy little trees.
  • by DarenN ( 411219 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:46PM (#5319825) Homepage

    Remind me never to give up when a project isn't going exactly as planned :)

    Mind you, looking at what it was originally planned to be, you can see where google came from. You keep going, you Crazy Kids!
  • by tmark ( 230091 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:46PM (#5319829)
    I wish I was lucky enough to have such accidents. The only accidents I have usually involve me looking for a mop and bucket, or writing a big check.
  • Before google (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:46PM (#5319832) Journal

    The fact that these guys accidently created a search engine that blows all the other ones away kinda says something about the laughable state of search engine technology before google, don't it?

    GMD

    • by Duds ( 100634 ) <dudley.enterspace@org> on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:04PM (#5319961) Homepage Journal
      And there was me thinking all search engines were written by people who couldn't find porn without it...
    • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:11PM (#5319996)
      "The fact that these guys accidently created a search engine that blows all the other ones away kinda says something about the laughable state of search engine technology before google, don't it?"

      You gotta admit, creating a search engine that doesn't spawn pop-ups is pretty innovative .
    • Re:Before google (Score:2, Insightful)

      by terbo ( 307578 )
      *cough* the laughable state of technology.
      *cough* the laughable state of human existence.

      we were just an accident, you know?

    • Re:Before google (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:14PM (#5320017) Homepage Journal
      Not really, previous search engines did well what they were intended to do. They searched the web focusing in each site as isolated in the web.

      But used the wrong point of view, they didn't see the web so interlinked that searching based in how much linked a site is could be a measure of how much desirable could be find that site.

      Sometimes the better solutions are just viewing a hard problem from another point of view.
    • Well yes and no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:18PM (#5320035)
      What it really serves to point out is that the technology of search engines was based on flawed premises. That is, they didn't really understand what they were trying to accomplish.

      These guys didn't accidentally invent a good search engine. They accidentally *discovered* that what a good search engine *was* was an annotation ranking method.

      A subtle difference, but a critical object lesson for others trying to "invent" things.

      KFG
    • Re:Before google (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GGardner ( 97375 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:19PM (#5320043)
      What's laughable (now) is that the previous search engines all where trying to optimize the wrong problems. Altavista bragged about how DEC Alpha CPUs, with their 64 bit CPUs returned results faster. Others bragged about covering more of the web. Others hyped the fact that they returned the most results.

      Google reminded them all that the most important thing in a search engine isn't how fast it runs (though that's important), but that it returns the most relevant results first.

      I think that this lesson holds for many projects and companies today.

      • Then I can assume that you dont remember the time you HAD to punch altavista.DIGITAL.com , do you?
      • Re:Before google (Score:5, Informative)

        by Beltza ( 117984 ) <jeroen AT jeroensangers DOT com> on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:46PM (#5320198) Homepage Journal
        Altavista bragged about how DEC Alpha CPUs, with their 64 bit CPUs returned results faster.

        This was exactly what AltaVista was designed for! AltaVista was created to promote DEC equipment; to show what powerful applications could run on their machines. And it did this job really good.

        • Re:Before google (Score:5, Insightful)

          by GGardner ( 97375 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:57PM (#5320297)
          This was exactly what AltaVista was designed for!

          I know that AltaVista was created by DEC, but instead of focusing on how fast their search was, they should have spent more effort on how effective the search was. That way, their message could have been "our alphas are so fast, we can do more than search, we can also sort well". After google, the message everyone understood was that, "Alphas may be fast, but they get beaten by better software running on commodity hardware".

          BTW, every vi hacker should know that using :x saves keystrokes over :wq

          • PS. Shift ZZ
          • at the time Altavista was the best out there. We didn't have another option. Now that we do we find that it has a lot to do w/programming. Imagine if computer programmers would see that today instead of relying on the fucking hardware to pull their shit coding through.
        • Altavista used a somewhat brute-force approach. With Tru-64, they could effectively run large parts of their database in memory.

          Digitial, in their infinite wisdom din't quite understand what their engineers had done and the message of what they were doing was kargely ignored for marketing to managers. Sure, techies knew what was going on, but the message should have been rephrased for management.

          The marketing opportunity was largely lost and Altavista was surpassed.

      • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wiresquire ( 457486 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @02:32PM (#5320524) Journal
        Google reminded them all that the most important thing in a search engine isn't how fast it runs (though that's important), but that it returns the most relevant results first.

        ...the Information Retrieval (IR) geeks reckon there's 2 major factors. You are correct that one of those is relevance, which is known as precision. And the other is recall. Think of recall as getting all the relevant results.

        One of the tricks that can be used to cull irrelevant results is to cut down the total number of results. The IR dudes quickly started playing the numbers. Showing the best 20 results is better than showing the top 100 with 60 of those being irrelevant.

        I like to think of these as accuracy and completeness.

        I used to occasionally browse through TREC [nist.gov]. Seems like they have locked up the past results nowadays...

        • ...the Information Retrieval (IR) geeks reckon there's 2 major factors. You are correct that one of those is relevance, which is known as precision. And the other is recall. Think of recall as getting all the relevant results.

          And don't forget the third factor: Information Retrieval's policy is to charge suspects for the costs of retrieval. It's only fair!

    • Re:Before google (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Isofarro ( 193427 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @03:34PM (#5320897) Homepage
      kinda says something about the laughable state of search engine technology before google, don't it?


      Google have a top-notch system but the whole indexing thing is still laughable. They are not really taking advantage of structured markup in evaluating keywords - they extract the same information as if it were a plain text file sans markup. Yeah, sometimes top-level headers and link text is used, but that's it really.

      Its good, however, to see that Google aren't resting on their laurels, as Google Labs [google.com] amply demonstrate. I like Google sets [google.com], which makes good use of list markup, like when the shuttle crashed last week I was trying to remember the names of all the space shuttles, so entering Colombia, Challenger and Enterprise into Google Sets gave me the names of the other three shuttles, Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis -- a useful tool indeed.

      Considering Google's purchase of Blogger announced this past weekend, I'm looking forward to more semantically based search abilities - since blogs are by their nature very structured (especially those with RSS or XML feeds).
      • Re:Before google (Score:5, Insightful)

        by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @04:06PM (#5321065)
        Google have a top-notch system but the whole indexing thing is still laughable. They are not really taking advantage of structured markup in evaluating keywords - they extract the same information as if it were a plain text file sans markup. Yeah, sometimes top-level headers and link text is used, but that's it really.
        I don't think there's all that much information in structured markup. Certainly no where near as much as in the boring old plain text, so why focus on semantic analysis of the tags rather than the text?
    • Re:Before google (Score:3, Interesting)

      The fact that these guys accidently created a search engine that blows all the other ones away kinda says something about the laughable state of search engine technology before google, don't it?

      I think it says more about the business of search engine technology at the time. All I ever used before Google was AltaVista, and I started using it back when it was a demo for DEC's 64-bit Alpha chip (side-note of irony is that the much better Google search engine uses all 32-bit Intel architecture). AV started out as 5 or 6 Alphas networked running Ultrix, and it simply indexed the web. I still use it for exact phrase matches, simply because it does a better job at that.

      But when Google came out, AV had been split out into its own company, tried to become a "portal" (screw that, I just want search results), and was shamelessly selling top-billing in its search results to anybody with money. This was the norm for search engines at the time.

      So Google stepped in and simply offered honest search results with no ads. I remember reading the Scientific American article before the site started, but I anxiously awaited it after that. But the thing that brought people to it in legions was the simple, honest results and lack of ads.

      After building a reputation, they still needed revenue, so they brought in ads but they didn't give up their honesty for it. The ads are clearly marked as such, and nobody minds. It's probably too late for the other search engines to try to make up the lost business.

      Anyway, they make an honest living, it's an interesting way to differentiate yourself in a market (and says something about that market).

      MDC

  • by hey ( 83763 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:46PM (#5319833) Journal
    ... we won't know how to find it otherwise.
  • really? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Joe the Lesser ( 533425 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:47PM (#5319835) Homepage Journal
    Wow, accidents are great! I can't wait to show my boss all of mine!
  • great inventions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by very ( 241808 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:48PM (#5319844) Homepage Journal
    many great inventions/discoveries are accidentally invented/discovered.

    Newton's Law, gravity constant, etc
    Archimedes' buoyancy Law
    • by banana fiend ( 611664 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:54PM (#5319890)
      Be careful how you refer to "accidental" inventions... the Newton apple story is considered definitely apocryphal

      There are quite a lot of "eureka!" stories about greek philosophers, again with no way of verifying whether they are true or not. It is likely that Newton arrived at his theories after some diligent thinking while at his relatives farm.

      In googles case, accidental application of a well-designed system is NOT the same as accidentally writing good code :)

      • Re:great inventions (Score:4, Interesting)

        by abhinavnath ( 157483 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:58PM (#5320310)
        Well in Newton's case, he himself wrote that the idea of gravity was "occasioned by the fall of an apple from a tree", and the sight of the full moon in the sky. He realized (he wrote) that the same force had to govern the moon's rotation (and Kepler's Laws) and the fall of the apple. I think it unlikely that it actually hit him on his head.

        I think it unfortunate that Newton is often credited with a discovery instead of an invention. Yes, he discovered gravity, but he invented the Theory of gravity.

        Google is a little different. Brin & Page were able to see the possibilities arising from their more-or-less failed experiment to annotate the web. You're right in that they wrote good code, but to do the wrong thing. Their "moment of brilliance" was in seeing that this code could be used for something entirely different than they had intended.
    • Re:great inventions (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jester99 ( 23135 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:13PM (#5320008) Homepage
      Not to mention two marvels of modern civilization: Penicillin, and Microwave cooking.

      • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:50PM (#5320230)
        It was one of those extra credit, summer seminar thingies where the topic wasn't a particular subject, but rather the "creative process."

        Dr. Pauling told me the story of how he, and dozens of others that he knew of, had "discovered" penecillin before Fleming.

        You see, he walked into his lab one day and found his cultures had been infested with mold. Naturally he was upset. His experiement was ruined even before it had begun. All this mold was killing off his cultures. He had to dispose of them and start over. It seems this was a common occurance in bio labs all over the world if you weren't careful.

        It took a particular *mindset* for Fleming to look at his cultures, and instead of getting upset that they had been ruined thinking, " Hey, ruining bacterium cultures is one of the things we're trying to *DO*."

        Discovery is often in *how* you look at things, not what you look at.

        KFG
      • Don't forget teflon.
    • "many great inventions/discoveries are accidentally invented/discovered.

      Newton's Law, gravity constant, etc
      Archimedes' buoyancy Law"


      Bart Simpson's 'mixing acids and bases' law.... *SpLaT*

  • So was I... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Da Fokka ( 94074 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:49PM (#5319849) Homepage
    but I guess I'll never be as successful as google...
  • accidents (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:49PM (#5319850) Homepage Journal
    Accident or not, I'm glad it happened. Search engines at that time left much to be desired. Google was simply magic. If I wanted something, it would magically appear on the first link.
  • by fo0bar ( 261207 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:51PM (#5319867)
    Great, now Google is going to grow up with mental problems, constantly wondering if its creators really love it. This will probably lead to Google going into a KFC 20 years from know and shooting up the place. I mean, how well would YOU do if your parents told you that you were an accident?
    • by stephenbooth ( 172227 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:04PM (#5319965) Homepage Journal

      My father told me, when I was 15, that I owe my existance to a combination of some very loud crickets and the impossibility of easily obtaining contraception in Cairo in 1969. My parents decided to "Risk it".

      This explains a lot about my life. I haven't shot up a KFC yet, although I do eat there a lot.

      Maybe this is the next /. poll?

      I was...

      • Planned
      • Unplanned, but my parents have figured out the cause.
      • Unplanned, and my parents still haven't figured out the cause.
      • Found under a bush.
      • Brought into this world by the gentle hands of CowboyNeal.

      Stephen

    • Do you think my parents would have done this ON PURPOSE?
      That means, my God, they had to have *gasp* SEX?

      I really didn't want that mental picture before lunch. I think I'm going to be ill.

  • One of many examples (Score:4, Interesting)

    by insensitive claude ( 645770 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:52PM (#5319873) Journal
    The guys who created the Expand Accellerator [expand.com] were actually trying to develop a new encryption method when they stumbled across a method to increase virtual bandwidth.
  • by mrtroy ( 640746 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:52PM (#5319875)
  • by raile ( 610069 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:58PM (#5319917)
    Larry Page: "Lucas Pereira: 'You idiots, you spelled [Googol] wrong!' But this was good, because google.com was available and googol.com was not. Now most people spell 'Googol' 'Google', so it worked out OK in the end."
    It's time to sic the Google lawyers on googol.com for "brand confusion", or whatever they're calling it these days.
  • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:58PM (#5319918)
    I don't know the scientific explanation, but FIRE MADE IT GOOD.

    Lots of accidents have created great things, and a lot of concentrated effort has produced nothing worthwhile. Viagra wasn't an accident per se, but it was created for a different purpose than it is used today. The Slinky, Post-its, etc. Things like this happen a lot, and I am sure there is a website out there that compiles just this type of thing. If there were only a search engine I could use to find it...

    There is this book. [amazon.com]

  • by rednaxel ( 532554 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @12:58PM (#5319923) Homepage Journal
    Accidents May Happen: 50 Inventions Discovered by Mistake [ideafinder.com]

    Disclaimer: I'm not associated with this book in any way, just found it in, er, Google. Maybe the next edition will include this lovely search engine...

  • Call me OT... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by pVoid ( 607584 )
    but

    Larry Page: "Keynote would be really outstanding if you had a fast machine to edit your presentations on." Smart-Ass: "A machine faster than those at the disposal of the founders of Google?" Larry Page: "You know what I mean: a machine faster than this laptop here."

    This somehow reminds me of Kevin Spacey's character in the big Kahuna.

  • by wheeljack ( 241417 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:03PM (#5319957)
    why else would he have named Googles core technology "Page Rank"...
    • It's entirely possible that he just smells funny, you know.
    • by DeadSea ( 69598 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @02:00PM (#5320321) Homepage Journal
      The parent post was modded up as funny, but PageRank was actually named after Larry Page. It was not called PageRank because it ranks web pages.

      Larry and others at google has said this in the past. Although I can't find proof on Google's web site (darn lousy search engine they use ;-), I did find this in an article [searchenginewatch.com] on SearchEngineWorld:

      Google examines link structures all over the web. By doing so, it can give every page a popularity rating known as "PageRank" (named after Google cofounder Larry Page). When you do a search, URLs with high PageRanks are more likely to be listed first. However, this will only happen if the pages also match other criteria, such as containing your search terms or being identified as being relevant to your search terms by analyzing the context of links.

      According to this article [metamend.com], it was originally called "BackRub":

      Google began as a search engine called BackRub. It was so named for what was its, (at the time), unique ability to analyze the "back links" pointing to and from a given website as part of its algorithms to search results. This approach to link analysis gained BackRub a growing reputation among those who had seen the technology. Today this technology is know as Google's patented "PageRanks" technology.

      Another reference: http://www.eyrie.org/~zednenem/2002/08/30/ [eyrie.org]

  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:05PM (#5319968)
    Jerry Yang's original set of links was a Sumo wrestling enthusiast's page...that for a time was valued at $120 billion dollars (!).
  • by M.C. Hampster ( 541262 ) <M DOT C DOT TheHampster AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:07PM (#5319974) Journal

    I heard another story about this web site that was supposed to be a discussion board featuring intelligent discussions on the subject of science and technology and instead turned into Slashdot.

    Ok, mod me down now.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:07PM (#5319975)
    Here [google.com] in Google groups..

    Now can someone find the first mention of searching Google looking for the first mention of Google in Google?
  • by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:23PM (#5320067) Homepage
    I'd just like to point out that Flemming pretty did nothing with penicillin besides discover its existance (1928)-- he gave up on it after 6 months. It took a whole new generation of doctors and a world war 15 years later to actually make it useful.
    • Ah, yes, wars... about the only good thing you can say about the two world wars is that they advanced science considerably between 1914 & 1945.

      Mainly that science was "how to kill people" & "how to stop your people being killed", but we did get some useful advances in medicine & transport (e.g. radar, sonar, jet engines) out of it.

    • Flemming used a crude penicillin solution to clean petri dishes to save money on glassware. He published his works on this and also on lysozymes, the anti-bacterial stuff in saliva and tears but was mocked by the established scientific community both times. It was only later, when prompted by the large number of people dying of infection from injuries from the War that his work was rediscovered and penicillin perfected.
    • by Uri ( 51845 )
      I'd just like to point out that Flemming pretty did nothing with penicillin besides discover its existance (1928)-- he gave up on it after 6 months. It took a whole new generation of doctors and a world war 15 years later to actually make it useful.

      That's slightly unfair. While all the key work was indeed done by Chain and Florey some 12 years later (for which they shared the Nobel prize but not the recognition), Fleming did do two very important things with his discovery: he ran toxicity tests; and he published. He was not a chemist, and could not have isolated the active antibacterial element. It was just a pity that others did not spot the "wonder drug" potential a few years earlier.
  • I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oZZoZZ ( 627043 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:25PM (#5320082)
    After reading all the information on google's technogoly, I wonder how many lines of code pagerank really is.

    Do you figure it's 50k+lines, or something very simple, and only a few hundread lines

    For some reason, I don't think the pagerank algorithm is more than 1000 lines of code... I know lines of code isn't really a defining characteristic of anything, but it's still interested...
    • I wonder how many lines of code pagerank really is.

      Try one [wikipedia.org] equation, iterated a few times:

      PageRank(i) = (0.15/N) + (0.85)*Sum(PageRank(j) where j is in {pages that point to i})

      However, the PageRank value is only one aspect of Google's ranking; for brand-new pages that haven't had time to gather links yet, Google seems to use straight textual ranking.

    • If you use semi-colons and a language like C, PHP, Perl, etc. etc. etc., I bet they can trim it down to one line. :)
  • by egghat ( 73643 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:28PM (#5320092) Homepage
    From the article


    Larry Page: "It wasn't that we intended to build a search engine. We built a ranking system to deal with annotations. We wanted to annotate the web--build a system so that after you'd viewed a page you could click and see what smart comments other people had about it. But how do you decide who gets to annotate Yahoo? We needed to figure out how to choose which annotations people should look at, which meant that we needed to figure out which other sites contained comments we should classify as authoritative. Hence PageRank.

    "Only later did we realize that PageRank was much more useful for search than for annotation..."


    Now think about blogging with page ranking applied. Might be much more useful than normal blogging. As search engines with PageRank are compared to normal search engines.

    Bye egghat.
    • Now think about blogging with page ranking applied. Might be much more useful than normal blogging. As search engines with PageRank are compared to normal search engines.

      Like Slashdot with the ability of users to mod stories? :-P

  • annotate the web (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:30PM (#5320108) Homepage Journal
    Still there is space for such a system, something that centralizes comments about sites. They could put a link for comments about search results, and link discussion sites (slashdot and similars, weblogs, usenet, etc) that show links to this sites as possible comments.

    Mmmm I should check Google Labs [google.com] before saying something that looks so obvios, they already doing it in Google WebQuotes [google.com]

    • They could put a link for comments about search results, and link discussion sites (slashdot and similars, weblogs, usenet, etc) that show links to this sites as possible comments.

      The Foresight Institute [foresight.org] sponsored something several years ago to annotate the web, called Crit [crit.org] , written by Ka-Ping Yee.

      Unfortunately the site seems to be down right now, but it was a great way of adding notes to web sites. There was no moderation or "note ranking" so it was fairly primitive but a great start.

  • by fishdan ( 569872 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:42PM (#5320170) Homepage Journal
    Larry Page: "Google has been profitable since the first quarter of 2001. Why did we make becoming profitable such a priority? It's good that we did, because we might well be gone if we hadn't. The real reason is that we became profitable in the first quarter of 2001 because Sergey Brin made it a priority. You see, Sergey would try to go out on dates. He would call up women. And to impress them he would say, 'I'm the president of a money-losing dot-com.' But in Palo Alto in 2000, a huge number of people were presidents of money-losing dot-coms. And so they would not call him back. And he thought, 'If only I were president of a money-making dot-com, things would be very different...'"

    What I need to know is has more advancements in science come as a result of an accident or as the result of some guy trying to impress chicks. And what is the overlap?

  • by Vodak ( 119225 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:43PM (#5320186)
    It makes you wonder how long until some company comes up with the idea to copyright "the accidental creation of useful products and systems" and attempt to sue google and other things. =]
    • Re:I wonderful idea. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Xerithane ( 13482 )
      It makes you wonder how long until some company comes up with the idea to copyright "the accidental creation of useful products and systems" and attempt to sue google and other things. =]

      Probably never, because you can copyright "The accidental creation of useful products and systems" and it doesn't mean a damn thing. In fact, it isn't even enforcable because it is not anything substantial enough to copyright. People could reproduce that text left and right, and nobody would care.

      However patenting it would make a huge difference, and you can patent business rules. Although you'd have a lot of prior art, with that whole Pennicilin thing.

      And as a public service announcement: Please, before making a joke, verify what you think you know so you don't look like a tool trying to karma whore.
  • by masq ( 316580 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:44PM (#5320187) Homepage Journal
    ... for NOT cutting the funding on "pure" research.

    I mean, Google's cool, but *peanut butter* was an accident as well, and I couldn't LIVE without my PB&J.

    Who knows, maybe someone will stumble across the next peanut butter by accident while researching a cure for cancer or something - then I can die happy.

    Well, a cure for cancer would be good too.
  • I recall (on /.?) there being some sort of browser plugin that would allow you to mark up sites or comment on site content. All this stuff would be stored on a central server somewhere, and new visitors would get an updated view of the notes made *on the page itself*. Not the MS Smart Tags, but something that would let ME make comments. I do recall that there was a hoopla about trolls, interference in page design and the usual "leave my site alone!" hysterical mothers...

    What became of this software/plugin - or was/is it google?

  • by RumGunner ( 457733 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @01:59PM (#5320315) Homepage
    Poor Google. Next thing you'll know, it'll be telling Larry Page "You're not my father!"

    .
  • by tundog ( 445786 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @02:02PM (#5320332) Homepage
    It would be cool if that "i"m feeling lucky" button actually took you to a web page, but I tried it a couple of times and it seems its broken on my client. Every time I'd do a search for a "search engine" the page would just reload.

  • Not only an accident (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jaaron ( 551839 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @02:02PM (#5320335) Homepage
    Google's not only an accident, but also a misspelling: It should be googol.

    Although I'm kinda glad it got misspelled though, because google is much cooler that googol.

    Interesting googol fact from whatis.com:

    Later, another mathematician devised the term googolplex for 10 to the power of googol - that is, 1 followed by 10 to the power of 100 zeros. Frank Pilhofer has determined that, given Moore's Law (which is that computer processor power doubles about every 1 to 2 years), it would make no sense to try to print out a googleplex for another 524 years - since all earlier attempts to print a googleplex out would be overtaken by the faster processor.
  • Can you make it faster please? My attention span is now so short thanks to the web that.... ahh whatever.
  • HHGTTG (Score:4, Funny)

    by syle ( 638903 ) <syle AT waygate DOT org> on Monday February 17, 2003 @02:13PM (#5320403) Homepage
    "It startled him even more when just after he was awarded the Galactic Institute's Prize for Extreme Cleverness he got lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who had finally realized that the one thing they really couldn't stand was a smart-ass." - HHGG
  • by Khalidz0r ( 607171 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @02:30PM (#5320514) Journal
    Well, what's ironic is that the ranking system is _hardly_ used nowawadays (at least from what I see). I have the toolbar, and I did rank some pages sometimes, but when I think about it, I rarely do look at the google page rank in a website when I visit it, and I wonder how many others do? Note: Slashdot has a high page rank anyways :)
  • Patents suck (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @02:32PM (#5320531) Journal
    And yet, somehow we're supposed to believe that without the patent system that "invention" would have never came to pass?
  • Here is a page [googlerank.com] on the history of Google: http://www.googlerank.com/ranking/google-history.h tml
  • by AsmordeanX ( 615669 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @03:19PM (#5320817)
    A friend of my brother-in-law was suprised to hear that there were other search engines in existance.

    He thought that Google was just a standard, like HTML, FTP, Gopher, or NNTP.

    That was quite the little accident they had.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17, 2003 @03:46PM (#5320961)

    Bill Gates: Windows Was An Accident
    from the packaging-pure-evil dept.

    Bill Gates [superbad.com] writes: "Microsoft [microsoft.com]® Windows [google.com]® wasn't originally intended to be an operating system at all. We were trying to put pure evil into a software form. After we finally got a working build, we executed it. First nothing seemed to happen. Then the PC rebooted - and loaded Windows®. Our precious had replaced the operating system on the disk with itself, and immediately we realized we had succeeded in our mission. This was going to make us rich, rich, RICH!"

    ( Read More... [slashdot.org] )

  • by pheph ( 234655 ) on Monday February 17, 2003 @04:44PM (#5321308) Homepage
    Check out the legal proceedings [gewgle.com] or gewgle.com [gewgle.com].

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