Today when we think of search engines and information retrieval, we think of Google. In fact, there is even a word for it: “googling.” If you are a serious internet user and use it for work, entertainment, and schoolwork, you probably hit Google many times each session. If you look at the news, you’ll see Google has a good share of the search engine and information retrieval market. But why is this? Why is it that the latecomer on the search engine market is today the king of the hill? Let’s consider some reasons why:

It sticks to the main thing. In other words, Google is and always has been about searching and information retrieval that is quick and efficient without a lot of advertising cluttering the space. For example, go to Google’s competitor search engine Yahoo and take a look at their main screen. It is filled with news, entertainment, sports, video, advertisements, classifieds, and at the very top is the search toolbar.

It has automatic localization functions. Go to Google from a computer in Thailand and the interface will be in Thai language. You can quickly click back to English if you need to. It is not so automatic with other search engines like Yahoo although they do have sites in other languages should you need them—just not automatic.

It is rated as the top place to work. In 2007 the company made number one on Fortune Magazine’s list of the top 100 best companies to work for. While this may be of no concern to you since you do not work there, the attitudes of their employees are bound to rub off on their end product. What is interesting to note about working for Google is their generosity towards employee education reimbursement. For example, an employee can get $8000/year tuition reimbursement. Plus, on the campus of Google, employees are served free meals saving them on their personal out-of-pocket expense of just going to work.

It has mechanisms in place to minimize spamming. When serious internet users come to the search engine for information retrieval, that’s exactly what they want to do. They don’t want to do a search query and get fed with a lot of pages that have no relevance and useless content. The Googlebot can detect attempts to spam the search engine and put websites that violate its policies into what is known as the Google sandbox.

It has sophisticated extras. In addition to its main line of information retrieval and search service, you have other office-related features like its free email service Gmail that gives you tons of storage space. You also have the Google Calendar where you can keep track of all your events. There is an easy-to-use file storage space called Google Docs.

And then there is the Google Toolbar. You have to watch out with many toolbars because they are really doorways for spyware to get information from your computer—information retrieval but the wrong way. Oftentimes when you install toolbars, they slow down performance of your browser but not so with this toolbar. And it is simple to use. You have one field where you type in your search text and that’s it. You can easily pull up your search history and clear it if you like.

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