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October 11, 2009



Wow. That sounds like a remarkably awful book. Could have done better reading wikipedia articles!


Bah, who needs a book?

Let's ask the question: why did Google succeed? There were lots of smart folks doing smart things at the time, so what was it that Google got particularly right? Off the top of my head (with no research whatsoever and the expectation that someone will correct me) I think of only two crucial factors: PageRank, and later, AdSense.

PageRank is now a small part of their search ranking ecosystem, but it was a very nice idea at the time and it did allow it to leap ahead in search quality. Reason? It tapped something other than the intrapage relationships that previous engines seemed fixated on. Instead, it started to exploit the latent semantic meaning encoded in interpage links.

AdSense? Pretty much the same thing. No more obnoxious ads, but now, instead, semantically relevant ads. They stopped imagining that web ads should be reflections of ones in the real world, where ads must compete on space, noisiness, fanfare, and instead that they should exploit what mass distribution channels like billboards and TV ads do NOT have: semantic context.

Do you see the pattern here?

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