Google and the Mission to Map Meaning and Make Money
Bart Stephen Milner
The Electric Book Company (November 22, 2004)
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This book is the unfolding story of the new technology of Internet Search - how Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, discovered a new way to index the Internet's network of networks by developing Search methods so powerful that they effectively created a free, public and universal library out of billions of random documents. It also tells how, together with the help of a brilliant team built initially at Stanford University, they then found a new way of making money through contextual advertising - now worth $e billion, leaving potential competitors, particularly Microsoft, far behind. It shows how Google's founders have also succeeded in insisting that integrity, rather than profit, remains at the heart of an enterprise that they will continue to control, despite the best efforts of Wall Street. The second half of this book also seeks to explain the central problems of machine intelligence - the difference between words and their meaning, or syntax and semantics - which had blocked this kind of IT development for half a century until Google's founders discovered that hypertext, the unique feature of the Internet that links documents, could be measured and mapped to sort millions of apparently similar pages for relevance and significance. Google's pursuit of a hugely ambitious and optimistic American dream that leaves them globally admired, and respected - keeping their principles intact whilst also creating a fabulously wealthy company - is a winning blend of luck, jokes, mathematical inspiration, engineering perspiration, deep technical knowledge of the Internet and, they would have you believe, thousands of highly-trained pigeons. The book is 288 pages long, including a comprehensive index and 600 item bibliography covering virtually all aspects of Internet Search. The print version of the book comes with a free online electronic version, with hypertext links to related articles and books - designed to make any aspect of the history of Internet search easy to find with a couple of mouse clicks. The book's author, Bart Milner, is a trained technology journalist and editor who started using the Web in 1984 (with a 300-baud acoustic coupler!) and then became a developer partly to try and solve the question of why computer logic has been unable to deal with meaning and association. This background has given him an insight into the inspired, but almost accidental, way that Google's founders cracked the problem of finding a significant document from billions of unindexed and changing Web pages in a fraction of a second. Anyone interested in the future of the Internet and Information Technology should enjoy this fast and fluid story of a company which has become a flagship business of the 21st century by not conceding any of its integrity and principles to the huge pressures of commercial profit, whilst providing some of the most elegant and powerful engineering solutions ever seen on the Net.