For some people, information can be mistaken for knowledge. Access to all the information in the world without editorial intermediation can be overwhelming.
However, Google remains the number one internet search engine. “To Google” has become generic for internet search in the same way that “Xerox” became generic for photocopying. Google has made itself the indispensable portal in every aspect of life: Body for information on health, safety, nutrition, medicine; Home for design, sustainability, energy, services; Work for information and resources in every possible category; Play for games, jokes, culture, leisure, and the arts; Community for news, blogs, chat rooms, trading; — and one would have to add Travel for exploring, planning, reservations; and Learning for everybody of every age everywhere about everything.
While Google was not the first internet search engine, It is the one that made the universal mass market for democratized information. It did this through a very powerful and robust architecture and highly usable interaction design. Google suppressed the animated and pop-up advertisements that make other search sites so annoying. By constantly expanding, deepening and enriching its data base, hyperlinks, and search protocols, Google has made itself the modern version of the ancient library of Alexandria, Egypt – the repository of all available knowledge – with the crucial difference that Google is open to everybody, worldwide, all the time.
Google began as a clever technology ‘hack”. But its designers quickly adopted the best practices of software development; i.e.: mockups, demos, alpha and beta prototypes, and progressive assessment, rigorous functional testing and user research.