Guide to Google
Searching the Internet? Kai Chandler checks out top search engine Google.
Think of the Internet as a library of information. All you need is a librarian waiting to help you find what you need. Filling this role in the internet world is the search engine and one of the top search engines is Google.
Google is as close as you can get to an essential tool. Yes, there are hundreds of alternative web searchers but Google is the best all-rounder. It's fast, thorough and relevant. It has over 1.3 billion documents currently indexed and powers 29 million searches a day.
It's very fast. A search for Practical PC took a mere 0.74 seconds. It found a staggering 722,000 pages and of these, the top three links related to this magazine.
How does Google work so quickly? It uses a search algorithm called PageRank that was developed at Stanford University. Rather than merely searching the internet and recording what's at different sites, PageRank ranks a page according to how many other pages link to it.
It also evaluates the page that cast the vote. Links from high ranking pages weigh more heavily and help to improve the ranking of pages to which they link.
Rather than employ a vast and expensive number-crunching computer, Google uses a network of thousands of low-cost PCs to create a superfast search engine.
So that's the theory but how do you use Google in practice?
Select the address field in AOL or Internet Explorer or other browser.
When you see the Google banner screen appear, enter the text for which you are to search.
After a couple of seconds, you'll see a list of links. Click on any that may be relevant. Google places the best links at the top of the list.
If that's not what you want, select the Back icon to return to the list and try again.
Note the numbers at the bottom of the search page - each is a link to the next page of results.
There's also an Advanced search capability which lets you specify the search in a number of different ways.
Although Google is functional rather than trying to be an all-in-one portal to other services, there's an element of whimsy in Google's approach. Watch out for special holiday logos eg. the Bastille day logo displayed here.
In common with most search engines, Google has a facility to submit a URL. This will be of interest to those wishing to promote their own website.
If you use Internet Explorer, you'll be pleased to know that Google has a special toolbar to make using Google even quicker. Details are on the Google site.
To sum up, if you want to search for anything on the web, take a look at Google.