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Why Work at Google?

web.archive.org
6 min read
standard
Article URL: https://web.archive.org/web/20060613122801/http://labs.google.com:80/why-google.html Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24361203 Points: 1 # Comments: 0
Glad you asked.

We're working on lots of interesting stuff and one of the main reasons is that search is far from a solved problem.

Let's say you used Google to search for the topic "Michelangelo's David". The results page would show "Results 1-10 of about 6,960,000" web pages. That's pretty helpful, but we could do so much more. Google prides itself on its algorithm for choosing the most relevant pages, but it's a work in progress; we're constantly finding ways to improve its selections. Plus, the top ten pages listed are all in English; surely there are some interesting web pages in Italian that we could translate for you, and chances are at least some of them deserve high ranking. Over at http://images.google.com you can find some helpful photos of the sculpture (plus some knock-offs), but there are video clips, museum guidebooks, historical articles, and many other sources of information about David that the web doesn't reach. And it's likely someone at the Galleria dell'Accademia has a 3-D scan of the sculpture you'd enjoy browsing. (From the search results, it's clear that Stanford has some 3-D data too.) So yes, Google is very good at searching the web for the most relevant pages for the query you type, but that's really only a minor subset of the true `search problem', which remains far from solved.

And consider this: We currently search billions of web pages. That's a lot of information, but even that's not the whole web. And even if it were, it's still only the web; what about all the other information out there? Google's mission is to make all the world's information accessible, not just a subset of the web.

So you see, we have our work cut out for us. Feel like helping?

You don't need to be an expert on searching; in fact, most of the people in our engineering group had little or no background in search technology before they came to Google. To implement a good search algorithm on the scale of the web requires ideas from just about every area of…
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