Cover by Charles Arthur

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Chapter Three

Search: Google versus Microsoft

The weather in Brisbane for the 7th World Wide Web conference in May 1998 was dismal: ‘It rained every day’, recalls Mike Bracken, one of the attendees. Among the many papers on the schedule for the conference, though largely unnoticed, was one by two Stanford undergraduates, entitled ‘The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual web search engine’.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, then 25 and 24, were setting out their idea of a better search engine; given the rapidly growing number of pages and users on the world wide web (devised only six years earlier), it was the modern equivalent of building a better mousetrap. The idea was that the world would beat a path to their door – or click its way to their ...

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