Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Google

Google never ceases to amaze me. What started of as a simple searching tool for web pages, is probably the most sophisticated searching and indexing tool that we humans have ever come across. And its not stopping there !! Keyhole, Orkut, GMail, Google News (to name a few) are few of its offerings to its users.



There are a lot of things i love about Google. They have changed the very idea of UI design. Most of us assume that a flashy UI with loads of graphics would attract users. Google seems to have proved it wrong!! Its probably the simplest UI design that i have seen. (It has worked so well that even Microsoft, (arguably) the best UI designer has decided to "copy" them in their search engine).
The other thing I like about Google is that most of their developments seem to be triggered by interest and experimentation, rather than for commercial purposes. Consider GMail; Who would have even had the thought of offering 1 GB of email space ? But the moment Google announced it, many email providers scaled their service to offer atleast 250 MB of email space (Though MS was slower than a snail in catching up!!). I do not think that GMail was developed primarily to serve Google's commercial interests. And the idea of content based advertisements totally rocks!! Its such a boon to advertisers; Their ads are now targeting the right audience (well... mostly) and the best part is that they pay rightly for it, rather than pay for some random number of meaningless hits on some other web page.
A few interesting developments from Google that i have noticed :-
  1. You can lookup definitions of terms on Google : try --- define robotics
  2. You can evaluate mathematical expressions on Google. : try --- sin(45) etc.
  3. Convert units in Google : try --- 15 miles in inches.
  4. Look at labs.google.com for more ultra cool stuff from Google like Google Suggest, Personalized Web Search and Google Sets.
I also happened to come across Googlism which is created and maintained by an Australian company. Its a pretty cool site which shows you all the information that Google knows about any person/place/date etc. Pretty cool eh ? If you are aware of any other cool tools from Google, please do post a comment about it.

With all this said, there are few things that I dislike about Google !! Firstly, Google doesn't categorize its searches. Search engines like Clusty and iBoogie do this and I find it tremendously useful when I am looking up on stuff like "Artificial Intelligence" or "Compilers" etc.
The other irritating part about Google's toolset is that its only supported for the Windows platform !! How could they do this ?? Considering the fact that almost all of Google's servers run Linux !! I know that Mozilla has its own Google Toolbar but wouldn't it be better if Google inherently supported it, and not just IE ? And why not a Google desktop search for Linux ? I am aware of beagle, but I am still wondering why Google didnt do it?
Last but not the least, what is Google India doing ?? You can use Google to search for places in the US (i.e Google local) but it still doesnt have a local version for India!! I cant search for pubs in bangalore and expect a map and addresses, but searching for pubs in New York shows Local results with a map !!

Guess what !! I am listed on Google !! Seriously !! I was searching for my name (Chirdeep Shetty) on Google and the very first result is a link to my blog !! On the same result page, if you notice the 7th result, its a link to Anirudh's blog (listed here only coz my name appears in his blog). So now you know what to do to get your site/blog to be listed on Google :-)
And finally, If you have the time, do check out this flash presentation on the future of Google. Its quite interesting.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Microsoft the best UI designer? Surely you mean Apple.

Anonymous said...

I love Google too. I think this goodwill comes from their absolute dedication to giving the user the best experience possible. No annoying popups. No Flash ads (I have uninstalled flash because it's only used for ads). Interesting ads given prominance over unpopular ones. And, of course, the BEST search engine.

Compare this to Microsoft's hotmail, where I used to spend 3 hours every so often cleaning up my inbox because of their crummy 2mb limit and no POP3 access. Boy that pissed me off!

- Mark M

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree with you....

They have come up with a altogether new technology for their google suggest which I think is a great concept(mapping of client side objects to server side objects directly)...

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