How Google became the most powerful company on the internetApr 04, 2023 12:09PM ● By Adam Cochran
Some months, I write about topics that I feel are important, even though they may only apply to a minority of readers. But this month I have chosen a tech topic that I feel will appeal to most readers over 50: Google.
Alphabet (Google’s mother company) is actually the second-largest internet superpower, but it is by far the most powerful. Amazon is the largest, but everything they do is either well known or is too boring to write about.
Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” That mission is achieved through products and services that go vastly beyond the basic search engine.
Google became a superpower by creating algorithms that analyzed how information on the internet is connected. Compared to other search engines, Google hardly used a website’s data to determine where it ranked in the search results. Instead, it looked at all of the other websites to determine that rank.
In other words, a search for the word “cancer” typically lists American Cancer Society as the top result. There might be hundreds of sites that mention cancer more than American Cancer Society, and there may be cancer sites that offer more specific information. American Cancer Society ranks first because any website that mentioned cancer likely has a link to American Cancer Society.
Google’s goal was to find the most relevant website, not the most popular website or the site with the most words. Once Google had developed the search algorithm, they began to apply it to specific types of digital information.
Here are a few helpful tools that you may not know about, and a few that you do but may not realize are owned by Google.
When Google announced that they were going to compete in the smartphone market, everyone asked why a search engine company would be interested in phones. Now they know.
Google Books (Books.Google.com)Google has archived every page of 40 million books and made them searchable. This was extremely controversial at first, but Google pulled it off by preventing people from reading the books page by page. If you want to read the entire book, you can click on the link and buy it, and Google gets money from the bookseller for the successful lead connection.
Google Docs (Docs.Google.com) One of Google’s most competitive moves was to create a series of online products to compete with Microsoft Office. Google Docs is a powerful word processor, Sheets is a spreadsheet program, Slides allows you to design PowerPoint-compatible presentations, and Forms is a great tool for creating online surveys and other forms for gathering, organizing and tracking data.
Google Voice (Voice.Google.com) Have you ever wanted a phone number that you could give to people who you don’t want to have your cell number? Have you started a new business and wanted a separate phone number? Google Voice is the solution. This free service gives you a phone number and virtual phone line that can be forwarded to any phone number you choose. Or you can simply use it as a voicemail system and have all messages routed to your email or text messaging.
Google News (News.Google.com) As a journalist, I believe in being as objective as possible with my news consumption. When something important is happening in the world, I like to read about it from a variety of sources because it’s impossible for a single outlet to filter out all bias. Google News aggregates, organizes and links news from over 20,000 publishers.
Google Keep (Keep.Google.com)
If you are a sticky note person, Google Keep is a lifesaver. Keep is an online service, but it’s also an app for your computer or smartphone. You can use it to record notes, voice memos, photos, reminders, lists and all sorts of other information in one place. Every note or item you put into it can be tagged, searched and even linked to other Google services.
Google Earth (Earth.Google.com) If you love geography, Google Earth may suck hours of your life away, but you will probably learn a lot in the process. This virtual globe allows you to search, zoom in and out, and analyze geography in a variety of ways. Earth also allows you to view Mars and the moon.
Each of the services mentioned can be found by searching for them at Yahoo.com… kidding!
One last tip: If you want to know what Google knows about you, head on over to admin.google.com and login with your Gmail username and password.
Send you technology questions to Adam in care of the BEACON, or email him at [email protected]