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Tuesday, 26th August 2003

Google Ups Total Page Count. Remember AllTheWeb's Announcement Last Week

Web Search--Google
Google Ups Total Page Count. Remember AllTheWeb's Announcement Last Week?
Last Wednesday ResourceShelf reported that AllTheWeb's was claiming that their database of web pages was the largest publicly available with 3,151,743,117 pages. Well, it only took 6 days and Google raised their total page count to 3,307,998,701 (previously, 3,083,324,652). This same thing happened last year. I guess Database Size Wars, 2003 is underway. (-: I said last week, this is purely a pr/marketing thing and means little to the searcher. Make sure to check our 8/21/03 comments along with a link to Greg Notess's useful breakdown of Google page totals.

It will be interesting to see is how much publicity Google gets out of this one in the mainstream press. It's something they do better than just about anyone else in any industry. I saw little to no mention of the Overture/ATW announcement outside of the info industry press...and while we're on the topic of Google's marketing ...
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Web Search--Google
Source: USA Today
"The search engine that could"
Can a week go by without a "isn't Google great" article appearing in a major publication. I think the answer might be no. A couple of comments.
* Challenging Google is and will remain as much about the companies public relations ability than anything else. How many companies get this type of publicity week after week? Google doesn't need to advertise, they get it free. Kudos must go to the Google marketing team. However, competent searchers and info pros should be aware of and use other search tools.
* Overall, Google "represents 75% of all searches," says Danny Sullivan, editor of the Search Engine Watch online newsletter (searchenginewatch.com). "It's gotten to the point where people think if it's not in Google, it doesn't exist." We've been saying exactly the same thing since ResourceShelf started. What does this say about the marketing libraries and database vendors have done?
* Take, for example, Havva Eisenbaum. She Googles people "every day" � friends she went to school with, old boyfriends, new clients, buddies she meets via instant messages. "I don't know what I'd do without it," says Eisenbaum, 25, who works at a Hollywood talent agency and as an SAT tutor. When she books new students, she looks up their parents first. "I want to make sure they're not crazy," she says. "I always find stuff, too." I wonder when the last time Ms. Eisenbaum looked at results from any other engine? They could be even more useful and give her additional material. Maybe using a remotely accessible database from the LA Public Library might be useful. It's just as easy and just as free. However, Ms. Eisenbaum can't use these and other tools, if she doesn't know about them.
* I will give a tip of the ResourceShelf cap to the writer of the article for including a few comments about relying on only one source of information. Everett Ward, assistant director of the Salt Lake City library, says the danger in researchers relying so much on Google and online information is that much of it is unsourced and inaccurate. "One of the problems with online searching is trying to understand the credibility and authority of what they're looking at. Google sends you everything. People still come to the library to research, not because they can't find it online, but they're finding too much." In her fifth-grade classroom in Atlanta, Amy Wilson worries that Google "doesn't teach (students) the basic skills they need, because they're getting quicker access in a shorter amount of time. They hardly go to the library or encyclopedia anymore."
* Page says he wants people to still frequent libraries, even if it is "a lot easier to go to Google first."
What does this mean? Yes, it's easier for most people to go to Google because they know about it. Again, the lack of knowledge about what libraries offer both in their buildings and remotely is not the fault of Google. However, I wonder if Mr. Page is aware of what, for example, anyone with a New York Public Library can access for free from the comfort of their home or office, 24x7x365. This is also the case for all students/faculty associated with just about any university and employees of many companies. Finally, I wonder if Mr. Page is aware of the fact that Google Answers competes with the virtual reference services offered by many libraries?

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