Sunday, September 01, 2002

All you Google-heads please stand up. Can you imagine going through a single day of your online life without even once typing in G-O-O-G-L-E in your browser's address bar? I can't.
Sometimes when I think about the power of the search engine it amazes me.
In fact, the Google phenomenon - it's growth from a little-known search engine to one of the most powerful Web presences in a matter of four years - is a proof of how the Net has transformed our lives. Now, you can get information on anything by just typing in a few intelligent key words. Believe it or not, I had stumbled across the fact that an ex-collegemate of mine had met her husband through an online matrimonial service (when all this time I thought it was a Net romance!) while surfing Google. Yes, from the trivial to the most classified, everything is just a click away.
I don't think it will be long before it enters the English language as another synonym for search. As in: "Could you 'google' out some information from me?"
But, like everything else in today's world, anything that becomes big tends to attract criticism. Daniel Brandt, a 54-year-old webmaster in San Antonio, Texas, says the popular search engine's page-ranking algorithm is "undemocratic." Which means that the results returned by it for a particular search word is skewed towards well-known and popular sites. Also, Google can seriously compromise personal information pertaining to its users. In fact, when you search for anything Google sends a cookie to your machine which is programmed to stay there for 36 years! Just think of the possible ramifications. This will enable a person to go through all the search terms you have ever submitted from a particular machine and help him prepare a window into your state of mind! (Scary, huh?)

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