In The Search , John Battelle discussed the rise of Google as the world's most popular Internet search engine. Battelle starts by asking the question, "why is search important?" In it's early stages, the Internet was a universe of unconnected documents used by individuals in the academic and technology fields to store documents and other useful information. An individual had to know "the exact machine address and file name" to retrieve this information. This was before the invention of "Archie," the first search engine. Archie was not very user-friendly and was therefore used only by those in the academic and technology fields.

Although Google was not the first search engine, it developed a business model that made consumers view it as the most reliable, trustworthy and user-friendly search engine. Larry Page and Sergey Brin came up with the concept of Google when they were graduate students at Stanford University. Page was intrigued by the web's link structure. He discovered that there was no way for sites to determine their backlinks ("what pages were linking back to them"). He thought it would be beneficial to be able to track what sites were linking to each other and why.

Battelle compares this concept to the practice of citation and the importance of peer review in published academic papers. A published paper is deemed credible not only by the informaiton it provides but also by "the number of papers they cite, the number of papers that subsequently cite them back, and the perceived importance of each citation." The way Google's search engine operates is based on this concept of "rank and authority." The more sites that link to your site the higher your rank in Google. This is because the index reads the site as an authority in that particular area and it is therefore deemed relevant to the search query.

Page and Brin went from scrapping to find enough hardware to support their system, which was growing larger each day, to becoming the world's most reliable search engines. Battelle gives an insightful view of how the two founders learned from the mistakes made by their predecessors, such as AltaVista.com and Excite. This is more than just a profile of Google. Battelle explains the evolution of Internet search and how Google helped transform the industry. He explained how webmasters were not pleased with "the audacity of a rank system," but they eventually realized that ranking high on a search query in Google should be their priority.

Battelle takes an unbiased approach in explaining the evolution of Google. Although it is apparent that he views Google as a valuable resource, he cites arguments from both sides of the spectrum. He quotes individuals who believe Google is the best thing since sliced bread, and those who believe that it's only a matter of time before the arrogant company alienates even its loyal costumers. This unbiased approach allows the reader to reach his or her own conclusions about the company and its value to the market.

Similar to Dan Gillmor in We the Media, Battelle argued that more people are turning to the Internet for news. Both authors argued that offering more information online and deep linking ("allowing others to link to their sites and linking to other sites") is crucial to media's survivial in the Internet age. Battelle further argued that "many people will pay to subscribe to a site that is continually being pointed to by sources they respect – be they friends sending links via e-mail, blogs, or other news sites." Those outlets that can offer such a service to its subscribers will continue to thrive.

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