What happens when you google something?

   When I search “Software Studies: A lexicon” on Google, many results were generated. The first one is an ad about Adobe creative cloud which I searched a couple times before. The ad is following by 10 pages of results that directly on indirectly link with my search term, including the work itself, wikipedia page, book review, related scholar articles,etc. Next to the search result there is another section where it shows a brief basic information about “Software Studies”. A section of “People also search for” is placed underneath listing our books that are also written by Matthew Fuller or also about software studies. The Google search page on my screen indicates tremendous design work and a long history of development.

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     For each search result, google shows us its web title, keywords, url and a two-line preview so that it takes the users seconds to decide wether to click into a link. Since no one search result is longer 5 lines each page can fit it around 12 different search result, which helps the users to quickly skim through different options. Such simplicity, cleanness and effectiveness that one can see on a Google search page is elegance. Functionality is what an elegant design focuses on, and algorithm has to be involved to achieve so.

       How do Google decide what to show me and what to show me first? There could be thousands of other websites that also include the keywords of “Software Studies” and “a lexicon” but Google manage to show me exactly what i need among the first couple options. That is because Google uses an algorithm that can produce page rank for webpages based on my search. Two important factors that the algorithm looks at are how many times one webpage include my search words and how many in-links it has. Based on the result, Google will decide which page has the highest rank and can be shown as the of the top results on my screen.

      Interestingly, when I search “Software Studies:A lexicon” Google does not search the web, rather, it only search Google’s index of web. This practice can be categorized as a kind of internalization that Fuller mentions in his work. Solely using Google’s own index helps to exclude “otherness” that does not meet Google’s standard (176) 

      Another crucial factor that contributes to this search experience is interface: keyboard connects me and my laptop so that i can type “ “Software Studies:A lexicon”; Google’s index of web connect to my typing so that I can view the search results; Webpages connect to the search results so that I can view each of them by simply clicking.

     Today, “Google something” becomes so common and convenient that many people don’t realize it is much more complex than one single easy action of hit Enter. 


~ by tianqiu255 on April 5, 2015.