Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Search


By John Battelle

Hello friends, after long time I have read any book and that too techno + information. I came across this book when I started my MBA. The book was assigned to one of my batch mates for submitting the review on it. But so were many other books. Now, why I was enticed by this book was because of the name ‘The Search’.When I was doing my engineering three years ago, we used to hear a lot about ‘The Information Age’. I remember lot of courses was launched by computer coaching institutes on e-commerce. Even I and my friends use to quote a lot about ‘The Information Age’, and the associated jargon, but to impress others. In reality, we didn’t have the idea what is this all about. But today, I can feel it. My second job at ‘Philips Lighting’, I got through e-portal ‘http://www.naukri.com/’. I got admission in MBA College, when I came across its site 'http://simsr.somaiya.edu/simsr/Index.asp ’. The latest laptop purchased by my friend was after negotiating with three vendors in three countries, via internet. Also while doing the job, I found that the people with the habit of hiding the knowledge, were left dumbfounded when I just got the required information via net in a single click. Surely, the times are changing and the new age has begun ‘The Information Age’.Now, the most important activity we do on internet is ‘The Search’, and that is the book all about. The author is the cofounding editor of ‘Wired’ and the founder of ‘The Industry Standard’. With a very close and keen observation of the organic growth of World Wide Web, the author takes us through the journey of its evolution. He could be approached via his search blog at http://www.batellemedia.com/.The initial part of the book focuses on ‘The Database of Intentions’. That is how we are ourselves creating the database of intentions, every time we type the word into search engine and telling it what our intentions are. Then it tells us about the initial search engine players prior to giants like Yahoo and Google. It talks about the players like Excite and Archie. Then it explains the mechanism of search i.e. what is going on behind the display. The components like web crawler.Then it talks about the recent players like altavista.com, aol.com, askjeeves.com. And finally about Yahoo and Google.The author talks about how both Yahoo and Google started in Stanford. And both were started out of curiosity, without any intention of making it business, and without any idea about the revolution it would bring in the world.Yahoo was started by Jerry Yang and David Filo, both were pursuing doctorates in electronic design automation at Stanford. The real reason as per the founders to create Yahoo was that they were bored with their PhD’s and they did everything they could to avoid writing their thesis.Google was started by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, while pursuing their computer science degree at Stanford.The difference between Yahoo & Google was the timings. Yahoo was pre-dot com burst company and Google was during the burst.The unique thing about Google is its Page Rank Algorithm, which works behind the search to give most relevant results. The algorithm is basically the software version of peer review methodology being used in Research Papers for years.While most of the search engines compromised their results by the amount the sponsor company pays to them, Google was different. Its mission was to give most relevant result. Then the question rises ‘How Google does make money?’ Exactly this was the question bogging the founders. But soon they found the salvation in Adwords. While searching on Google, on the left side of the screen the best relevant results are shown, while on the right side are the sponsored links. Every time anyone clicks on the adwords, Google gets money from the sponsor. The other revenue generation techniques were to act as database for other companies.The commercialization has just begun. Now every time we insert a word in the search engine, we are giving our psyche away to it. The next time you surf net, via Google or gmail, the sponsored links on the right side are not only the sponsored ones, but they are more relevant to you then the previous time. This is how the search is capturing whole our life. If anybody has read the short stories ‘The Last Answer’ & ‘The Last Question’ by Isaac Asimov, then it will be reminiscent of MULTIVAC, giant computer governing the whole planet. The same concept was shown a bit in ‘The Minority Report’. Now the only difference between search engine and artificial intelligence is that the machine till date can’t understand but only process the data. The moment it is able to understand, we have created ‘SKYNET’ (Terminator Series) ourselves.Now the competition is not between Google and Yahoo anymore, it’s between Google on one side and Yahoo, Microsoft and IBM on other. With the acquisition of sites like Orkut by Google, the Google is adding almost 1 feature, like Gtalk + Orkut, Gmail Mobile, per day in last week.So friends, the chess board for the ‘Information Wars’ has been already set. Let’s see who wins the game. But irrespective of who wins, the search has long way to go towards perfection and will change our lives forever.
If you want to know how GOOGLE function read this
If you want a complete REPORT on the book, please leave ur email id on the comment.

12 comments:

JMaestro said...

Hai Prabal! I did'nt get through all the pages of your blog. Anyways interesting blog! The link that you mentioned in the article for "The Search" : http://www.simsr.somaiya.edu/ is not working. Please remove the www. It'll work!
Thanks
Ajay
e-mail: ajaykumar_musham@yahoo.com

Prabal Aggarwal said...

Thanks Ajay, I have edited it

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