Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just Google It

Imaging you're going to dinner, or trying to find directions, or trying to find information about a colleague. Chances are, at some point along the line, you're going to use Google to satisfy your need for knowledge.
When I was growing up, my parents would tell me how hard it used to be to find information before the Internet. My parents are older than most and frequently cited, "When I was in college, we didn't have the Internet to [insert cliche here]." Nowadays, if I want to find information, I open up my web browser, go to, and find my answer instantaneously. Since it's founding, Google's mission statement is " organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." In addition to their powerhouse search engine, Google has begun to usher in a new era of employee encouragement and benefits. Google Inc. has revolutionized how the world searches for information and has begun to change the way businesses encourage creativity in the workplace.

When Google Inc. began, it combined just the right mixture of ingenuity, drive, and opportunity. The world was calling out for an easy way to navigate the Internet, but none of the search engines at the time had efficient methods of organizing information on the Internet. But why not just control the influx of new information and sites? Some critic used to argue that by controlling the influx of information, all of the information can be organized. But, trying to harness the Internet violates the #1 rule behind the World Wide Web: Users have the right to freely share and discover information. To control the Internet is to control the information submitted to the Internet, which violates the first rule of the Internet. But, how do search engine's help people find the information they need in a database that is currently changing?

Seven years after the introduction of the world's first user-friendly Internet browser, Google Inc.'s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, discovered a way to effectively search for information. At the time of Google's inception, many companies were attempting to perfectInternet searching (i.e. Yahoo and Excite). But despite their best efforts, they failed to perfect the Internet search engine. Google's search engine works by compiling a massive list of keywords, in over 65 languages, and connecting them to articles that include said keywords on the web. Through Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), Real-Time web analysis of websites, and massive servers, Google has been able to keep up to date with new websites, making its search engine the most comprehensive search engine on the market. In addition, Google has collected information about each user's search history for the past 10 years in an effort to condense and simplify web searches. By finding correlations between users interests and their searches, Google has been able to find appropriate results for users with specific interests. Google's "synaptic pruning" of their user's searches makes each search more efficient and faster.

Yet, Page and Brin would never have realized their potential without the right circumstances. Other innovators like Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Gandhi, were only successful because they provided knowledge and insight during a time that called for their knowledge and insight. So not only were Page and Brin leaders in their field - even in their young 20s as Standford students - but they created a business model that provided a service in high demand and stimulated the creativity and happiness of their employees. Early on, Google realized that happy employees meant great business. Because of this, Google employees have exceptional benefits and a state-of-the-art workplace in Mountain View, CA, called the Googleplex. In addition, Google "Innovation Time Off" is an "informal methodology" that encourages Google engineers to spend 20% of their work time on project of interest to them. Google claims that as a result of independent intellectual stimulation has resulted in more than half of Google's new features and solutions.

Yet, the question still remains... Is Google Inc. truly creative or did they just have an idea 15 years ago that changed the world? The truth is that for the past 15 years, Google has continued to be a source of new products and services that simplify and enrich the way we use the Internet. For example, Gmail (or Google Mail) has over 1 billion users worldwide and Google's "Google Apps" provide users with a focused search concerning topics in the news, shopping, Google maps (with street view and comprehensive directions, among other things). Recently, Google introduced Google Doodle, an innovative way to commemorate holiday and events.

Therefore, Google Inc. has provided consumers with inventive ways of organizing and searching for information while encouraging employee well being and creativity at the same time. Google fits the benchmark definition of creativity, providing the world with unique, but necessary service during it's time of need.

Oh, but you didn't need me to tell you all of this. You've probably Googled it already.

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