Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Great Google – imposing supreme challenge to the professionals

In this discussion we are going to talk about the ‘Google’. It is the search engine which is being used most extensively all around the world to explore the web. We are unable to get the accurate size of Google in terms of how much web contents it possesses but it is immense in size. Google does not search everything which is published over the Internet, even though this enveloping much higher part of the web than covered by any other search engine. The most interesting aspect of Google is that it works with the practical parts of the society by putting itself in every walk of life. For example, Google is working with Information and Library Network Centre (INFLIBNET) to make union catalogues (databases), which are being maintained by the Centre, available through the Google. This is really a fascinating way to help the society by giving access to the information which is known as invisible web. What else user wants – an easy and free access to the information. It is not only challenging the library and information science professionals alone but imposing challenge to the professionals of all spheres. It has millions of full text books giving challenge to the publishing and distributing industries, covering more than 25,000 news sources which give challenge to the media professionals, writers, translators, cartographers, Information technology professionals are also not left estranged from professional challenges to them. In true sense Google is keeping professionals on their toes by imposing supreme challenge.

Birth of Google started with the phrase “Having a healthy disregard for the impossible”. Sergey Brin and Larry Page In 1998 Google launched with the aim to provide some accuracy while searching with its PageRank system. In this PageRank system, Google provides higher rank to important pages and high ranked pages appear at the top of the search results.

Google has been showing its presence in all spheres of globalization. From simple searching to Google Map, Advertisements etc. it has reached to access of scholarly literature through book search, Google scholar etc. Day by day it is achieving new heights of success in each and every domain.

Indexing and Searching:
Google is not only searching billions of web pages but also providing precision value while searching. It offers flexibility by using various symbols and Boolean logic (e.g. “”, +, - OR, AND etc.) and various other techniques to get more precision value. Google indexing and searching works in very systematic order. Google has a web crawling robot called Googlebot, which finds the web-pages and hand over the retrieved information to ‘Google Indexer’. Google Indexer is a huge index database which is sorted alphabetically with each index entry storing a list of documents in which the term appears within the text and its specific location.
Google does not index common words like the, is, on, of, how, why, some punctuations and multiple spaces etc. The query analyzer of Google called ‘query processor’ which has comprises with user interface, search engine that evaluates queries and results formatter. The query processor compares the search query with index terms and recommends the related documents. With the help of PageRank system, the page containing higher rank is more likely to appear at the top in the output. It also uses machine-learning techniques with in the stored data, to improve its performance automatically. For example, the spelling correction system uses the same technique and suggests alternative spellings. It also allows using formulas for calculation and unit conversions etc. Various options for simple as well as advance searching are being provided to help users.

Being a librarian I feel Google imposes a biggest challenge to the library professionals particularly in the area of electronic information. It is a most dynamic and vibrant search engine which is undoubtedly a leader in the world of search engines. While searching anything on the web, routinely Google comes in mind. The simple search with advance searching techniques is its beauty and searching loads of information is quite easier and user friendly, even a layman can search accurate information. Search for location, unit conversation, weather details, book search, image and video search, article search, synonyms, web-publishing, advertisements and in all domains of web-life, presence of Google can be felt easily. Earlier librarians were known as information searching experts and initially they dominated Google by rejecting it’s below standardized indexing techniques. But now Google is dominating library profession by using same indexing techniques in different databases for excellent output accuracy. For researchers and academicians it’s ‘Book Search’ and ‘Google Scholars’ are giving access to billions of books and articles. Easy access to the information and article search options giving ‘virtual library’ shape to the Google. This lets academic community using Google widely. Google has become a prominent reason which cut shorted the user’s visit in the libraries in search of information.
Goolge is in true sense envisaging the picture of library without walls or a virtual library. It would be good if Google provide option to choose areas to search, like selecting several vertical areas while making search. For example if I would like to search with in the blog, video, images and book search domains only then I have to search separately in all required databases or have to use general search option. In general search it would give output from all databases collectively (like news, video, images, Google scholar, book search etc.). Therefore, user will be provided the key to select his/her databases while making any new search. Google may also come out with another new database of “open access journals/magazines” which would only covers journals/magazines available freely on the web. The same way it can also think of giving single window searching option to the institutional repositories available openly on public domains.

There is no exaggeration in saying ‘Google is the reflection of web-of-universe’. It is the highly used search engine of present era. We can observe creations of specialized search engines all around which are coming with specialized features. Though all these search engines needs decades to achieve the success Google has achieved. Librarians are known as techno-savvy group of professionals but they are in dilemma to approve Google as a boon or ban for the libraries in general and library profession in particular. Though the underline factor is that Google is reaching to the users and helping them to explore the web-of-universe by this it is achieving the objectives which librarians dreamed.

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