ADVERTISEMENT

Scientific American 50: Business Leader of the Year

More In This Article

BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR
Google, Inc.
Mountain View, Calif.
The Web's leader in accessing information gets better

Corporate data storage grows by 50 percent yearly. Desktop hard disks routinely hold multiple gigabytes. This ocean of information would not be navigable without superior search tools.

Since it went live in 1998, Google has evolved into the innovator that Microsoft and other established information technology companies now strive to match. Google has extended search capabilities that even help the user organize photographs and word-processing files on a PC desktop. Today Google's users can do more than snag reams of data. They can get the sensation of flying over a graphical landscape, thanks to the company's new mapping tool.

Google has achieved its preeminence by developing novel approaches to navigating the Web, most notably the company's search algorithm that takes into account the number of links to a page from other sites, a signal of its relevance to a particular query. Its success has enhanced the credibility of what can be found on the Web. The company continues to unveil more and more specialized tools for helping us find exactly what we want, quickly and easily.

That flying sensation, for one, results from this year's introduction of Google Earth, which not only maps terrain and finds routes and addresses but allows flightlike movement over three-dimensional landscapes, from the Grand Canyon to the skyscraper chasms of Manhattan. Google's services and software all carry the same significant $0 price tag. (There is a charge for optional enhancements to Google Earth.) Its business genius has exploited revenue derived from subdued and unobtrusive advertising.

Google, Inc., represents a tribute to the vision of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Stanford University computer science graduate students who launched the search engine in 1998 in a garage in Menlo Park, Calif. They have since graduated to their "Googleplex" headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., and last year had sales of more than $3 billion.

Online, Google continues to offer more and more services. Google Local uncovers location-specific businesses and services. Google Image Search indexes more than two billion pictures on the basis of the pictures' captions and the text adjacent to the pictures.

The company reached out to academic researchers with the unveiling in November 2004 of Google Scholar, which performs searches of scholarly journals. Researchers can sift the contents of peer-reviewed academic journals without having to wade through reams of extraneous material that Web searching too often produces.

The list goes on. Google Video, in its early testing stages, will let a user search videos from selected channels according to their closed captioning or to the descriptive text provided by whoever uploaded the material. Innovation continues to emerge from the company even as the Internet itself grows apace--so that more data will mean more resources, not yet more headaches.

Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Back To School

Back to School Sale!

12 Digital Issues + 4 Years of Archive Access just $19.99

Order Now >

X

Email this Article

X