Google Agrees: They Are Good At Search

It's not bragging if it's the truth

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No false modesty exists at Google when it comes to the search service that springboarded their success.

Internet users who have witnessed the rise of Google as the dominant search engine remember what the Web was like before it. Other engines like Altavista did search with varying degrees of success and user satisfaction.

Google’s arrival relegated Altavista and everyone else in search to second place status, if they were lucky. Their rise in search, coupled with a fortuitous entry into relevant contextual search advertising, made it a multi-billion dollar fixture on the Internet.

No one has been able to budge Google from its top spot in search. A discussion of their longevity began when their chief economist, Hal Varian, took questions from readers of the Freakonomics blog.

Varian cited one question as being “quite striking.” Being cynical types here, we think the particular question is just a little too good to be true; it reads like this:

How can we explain the fairly entrenched position of Google, even though the differences in search algorithms are now only recognizable at the margins? Is there some hidden network effect that makes it better for all of us to use the same search engine?

Our pals at Intentional Foul might call this a softball question, which Varian took for a ride out of the park. He responded on the official Google blog to chat about it further.

“The difficulty is that the typical economic forces at work in many technology businesses that lead to entrenchment don’t seem to explain our success,” he said. “If it isn’t economies of scale, lock-in, or network effects, what is it that explains Google’s success?”

The professor answers this by saying Google is better because it keeps doing search improvements continually. He refers to a theory economists call “learning by doing” and what the rest of us might call “practice.”

“Google has been searching the web for nearly 10 years, which is far longer than our major competitors. It’s not surprising that we’ve learned a lot about how to do this well,” said Varian.

We are inclined to think inertia plays a part in keeping people coming back to Google. Index freshness has a role, which we see as even more important. Search at Yahoo, or Microsoft, or Ask works fine, but if Google has even more recent results to tap, that gives them as much of an edge as any ongoing improvements.

Google Agrees: They Are Good At Search
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  • http://www.dr-sandy.net Blogging Guides by Sandy

    One of the reason why google is so successful is because they have introduces some new concepts like pagerank in search engine rankings.These concepts has changed the face of search engines and google fate.

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