Google search engine is the most popular web search engine throughout the world. It holds the greatest market share on a world-wide basis. Google Inc owns the search engine where each day several hundred millions of queries are received. Google displays search results on a priority rank basis called “PageRank”. You can also refine your search by using Boolean operators, such as AND, OR and NOT.
Developed in 1997, by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google search engine rose to popularity within the early years of its development. Now it offers 22 features beyond the typical word-search capability. These features include maps, synonyms, weather forecasts, time zone and earthquake data. “Google Voice Search” and “Search by Image” features were introduced in June 2011 to look for words by speaking and giving images.
The factor which contributed significantly in Google’s success was its patented algorithm PageRank for ranking search results. PageRank is believed to correlate perfectly with human concepts of importance. However, in addition to PageRank, Google has developed a number of secret features to determine its results ranking. These features were reported to be above 200 and are kept secret to cope with the spamming and black hat SEO issue.
Since the Google search engine is the most widely-used searching machine, numerous webmasters became eager to improve their website’s ranking at Google. This gave rise to an industry called “search engine optimization” [SEO]. The objective was to influence Google’s relevance algorithm. A number of methods were evolved including repetition of a keyword within the body of content. However, abnormally excessive occurrences of the keyword may raise suspicions for the page at Google’s spam checking algorithms. Guidelines have been issued by Google for websites to raise their rankings by employing legitimate optimization techniques.
Google uses query expansions which transforms the submitted search query into the query that will be used for listing results. Like page ranking, the precise details of the algorithm are obscure but the following basic transformations occur:
• Re-ordering: This is a technique to reduce the work load for retrieving results.
• Stemming: It is to enhance search quality by maintaining syntactic variants of keywords.
• There is a facility to suggest right spellings when a misspelling is detected in a query.
The main reason for Google’s unmatched success has been cited the user interface it has developed for its users. Google’s homepage offers a button labeled “I am feeling lucky”. When you press the button after typing the keywords, the results page will be skipped and you will be directly taken to the homepage of the first search result. The idea behind the “lucky feature” is that whenever a user feels lucky, Google search engine will present him/her with the perfect match. Tom Chavez, in his study revealed that only 1% of all searches press this button and bypass advertising. This costs Google $110 million each year. However, users’ preference for Google has made it won 83% of the total market share, according to the survey conducted in May 2011.