How Does Google Work?
Google is a multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products. The company’s best-known product is a search engine, which is used billions of times per day. When a user enters a search term, Google surveys the Web for matching pages and displays results in descending order of relevance. The priority ranking system is called PageRank. Google has also developed a number of other tools that help people get information quickly and easily, such as specialized interactive experiences for flight status and package tracking, weather forecasts, currency and unit conversions, word definitions and more.
The company was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in September 1998 while they were Ph.D students at Stanford University. The name, inspired by the googol algorithm (a mathematical term for one followed by 100 zeroes), reflects the pair’s vision of organizing the world’s knowledge and making it accessible and useful.
In addition to its flagship search engine, Google offers a variety of other products and services, including online mapping, email, mobile operating systems, cloud computing, television and more. The company’s hardware includes the Pixel smartphone line, Chromecast in-home streamer and the Chromebook laptop range. Its software includes the G-Suite business productivity suite, Chrome OS for personal computers and the Android mobile operating system. Its YouTube video service, Google Maps and Google Drive storage and backup programs are also widely used.
To make all of this happen, the company employs a massive global network of data centres containing several hundred thousand interlinked computers. These are not ordinary multiprocessor desktop computers; they are custom-built supercomputers designed to handle enormous amounts of data. The computers are housed in specially built racks that hold hundreds of thousands of hard drives. They are constantly being updated and backed up, and the amount of information they process is staggering.
Google processes trillions of searches every month. The search engine is able to return such a vast quantity of results by applying an advanced algorithm that examines numerous factors. The most important of these is the number and quality of links from other websites to a particular page. This is why it’s so important to build links and share your content.
While the algorithms that power Google are complex, the company is constantly fine-tuning them to improve their effectiveness and accuracy. The firm’s 11 data centres around the world are packed with powerful servers with multiple processors and large amounts of memory. The company’s patented technology, which includes Google File System and Bigtable for managing data in “chunks” across the network and MapReduce for processing huge sets of data, is at the heart of its operations.
In 2015, Google reorganized its corporate structure to form the holding company Alphabet Inc. Internet search, advertising and apps remained under Google, while other ventures such as longevity research firm Calico, home-products firm Nest and the research lab X became separate companies. The company is currently led by CEO Sundar Pichai, with Page and Brin serving as presidents.