Chris Nolan Web Discussion!

When Chris Nolan came to speak to our class last week, I wasn’t expecting to be particularly surprised by any of the information he was to share. However, when he began to talk about how exactly the Google search engine works, I was so impressed by the information. The discussion of the algorithm Google has developed and how Bing’s attempts to compete with the search engine powerhouse led them to adopt a Google search as part of their own was all completely new information to me. I definitely came to appreciate the simplicity of Google for users that much more, because generally when I use the site, it’s for a quick and simple answer or summary of information, but I’ve never really considered how it came to be so quick and efficient.
One characteristic of Google that Mr. Nolan shared with us that really intrigued me was the company’s somewhat vindictive nature—the anecdote about JCPenney and how the department store hired a marketing team to get JCPenney to the top of Google searches was so interesting. Obviously, the most exciting part of that story was when Google found out and decided to put JCPenney on a much later page in the search for shoes or accessories or what-have-you as a sort of time-out.
One other interesting factoid Mr. Nolan shared about the use of Google was the bit about cached pages. I knew generally that they were Google’s record of the page, but I never thought to use them as a sort of recorded bit of Internet; that is, I thought that the potential to view something on the cached page that the website might have removed earlier in the day or week was actually really fascinating.

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