Oh, so THAT’S how search works! Thanks, Google!

google search

When you want to know more about a certain something – anything, really – you Google it almost automatically.  To effectively explain why Google is the Internet juggernaut that it is today, the company came out with “How Search Works,” an animated website that takes you through the process of the search engine.  This particular effort to educate Internet users about their services follows a few other initiatives with the same purpose, like the Inside Search website released in 2011 and the More Than A Map website released just last year specifically for Google Maps.

The cleverly designed scrolling graphic breaks Google Search down into three separate parts: Crawling and indexing, algorithms, and fighting spam.  When someone types a query into the search bar, Google crawls its way through 30 trillion individual pages available on the World Wide Web (a number that’s constantly on the rise).  Then, based on content and various underlying factors, Google sorts out all these pages and keeps them in an index that contains more than a hundred million gigabytes worth of data.  Finally, the wheels of the well-oiled Google Search machine start turning through the algorithms (comprised of formulas and programs) they’ve designed to make the process of finding information faster and more efficient.  The index makes it a lot easier to locate items you need and may want, and in the end, you are presented with a list of these things, arranged according to rank.  While all this is happening, mechanisms that filter out spam content are in place to ensure the relevance of your Google Search results.

All this is explained using an interactive representation that invites users to click and learn more as they go.  At the end of the page, you are reminded of how much time has passed since you started checking out the page, as well as the number of searches that have been performed since then.

Still can’t quite picture it?  Check out the story behind this project to properly visualize and dive into the presentation. 

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