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Overload!: How Too Much Information is Hazardous to Your Organization by Jonathan B. Spira

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CHAPTER 15

THE GOOGLIFICATION OF SEARCH

Knowledge is of two kinds; we know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.

—Samuel Johnson

As they exist today, Information Overload and search are at loggerheads, at opposite ends of the spectrum. One would assume that a search tool would provide correct information, such as answers or relevant documents, when used. This is less likely to be the case as time goes on and more information is created.

One reason for search’s poor showing is what I call the “Googlification” of search.

Today, the Internet (largely in the guise of the World Wide Web) is the starting point for knowledge workers in search of answers. Many of their questions, however, will go unanswered. According to comScore, a market research firm, over 2.2 million searches are executed across the globe on the Web every minute. Not surprisingly, many of these queries will be unsuccessful.

The search tool of choice today is Google. Google is the latest in a series of search engines on the Internet that started with Archie in 1990. Google is notable for its minimalist user interface (in contrast to its competitors, which built Web portals around their search engines) as well as its PageRank technology, which ranks Web pages based on the number and PageRank of other Web sites and pages that link to them, predicated on the premise that pages that other sites link to more are worthy of a higher ranking in search results.

Google’s clean home page and simple ...

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