Saturday, January 13, 2007

Google it out

Google works almost in a clandestine manner most of its users don’t even know how Google makes money. Its secretive leadership recently came under attack after the company released its IPO bringing the shareholders in its ambit. The exact details are kept secret by Google and all that can be worked out is estimates. According to some estimates Google handles about 150 million search queries from around the world while other estimates put this number up to 200 million. The figure for revenue generation is anything between 60 million dollars to 300 million dollars. Here are some of the technologies that are used by Google in its basic structure:

Google ranks every web page using a breakthrough technique called PageRank™. PageRank evaluates all of the sites linking to a web page and assigns them a value, based in part on the sites linking to them.. By analyzing the full structure of the web, Google is able to determine which sites have been "voted" the best sources of information by those most interested in the information they offer. This technique actually improves as the web gets bigger, as each new site is another point of information and another vote to be counted. This makes it possible for Google to order its results by how many websites link to each found page.

Thousands of advertisers use Google AdWords program to promote their products and services on the web with targeted advertising, and it is believed AdWords is the largest program of its kind. In addition, thousands of web site managers take advantage of Google AdSense program to deliver ads relevant to the content on their sites, improving their ability to generate revenue and enhancing the experience for their users. Google AdSense technology analyzes the text on any given page and delivers ads that are appropriate and relevant, increasing the usefulness of the page and the likelihood that those viewing it will actually click on the advertising presented there. Using AdSense technology, Gmail was designed to deliver relevant ads adjacent to mail messages, giving recipients a way to act on this information.

Advertisers don't just pay a set rate, or even a cost per thousand viewers. They bid on the search term. The more an advertiser is willing to pay, the higher its ad will be positioned. But if the ad doesn't get clicks, its rank will decline over time, regardless of how much has been bid. If an ad is persistently irrelevant, Google will remove it: It's not working for the advertiser, it's not serving users, and it's taking up server capacity.

Google's minimalist user interface is very popular with users, and has since spawned a number of imitators. Sergey and Larry when they first started Google they had a sloppy grip on HTML; not surprisingly, the search interface they hacked up for barely contained any HTML. Google's homepage turned out to be remarkably simple. Today, simplicity has become the prevalent theme in all of the company's products. Most other search engines now replicate Google’s webpage.

Most of the time, the Google home page contains exactly 37 words. Now this is an interesting fact since a Google engineer knows that each extra element on the webpage takes extra time to load which makes the website slow and with millions of people visiting everyday the additional load on the Google servers will be tremendous.

If it takes too long to deliver results or an additional word of text on the home page is too distracting, Google risks losing people's attention. If the search results are lousy, or if they are compromised by advertising, it risks losing people's trust. Attention and trust are sacrosanct.

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