In Hackensack, New Jersey, Pascack Regional High School has launched a program to ensure every student has access to a laptop computer. For 16 years old Pascack student Josh Walker, his laptop has become his constant companion- it is always at hand so that he can access his class assignments, notes and, especially Google.
You can Google basically anything, says Walker, who has found the online search engine to be as important to his schoolwork as his pens and notebooks.
However, to Walker and millions of other young people, Google is much more than a study aid. The search engine is always available to answer questions not only about schoolwork but also about movies they want to see, sports teams they enjoy following, and video games they think about buying.
Essentially, anytime Walker needs a question answered, he turns first to Google. That’s also one of the disadvantages, he quickly adds. It could distract you from doing your homework.
The Most Popular Search Engine.
Walker’s comments illustrate how Google and similar search engines have
grown to dominate the Internet. Google is only one search engine, to be
sure, but it is the most popular search engine used in America and other
parts of the world as well. Indeed, some 68 percent of Internet searches—
worldwide, about 2.4 billion a day—are performed using Google.
Google has become the front door to the world for many people, the
place they go for information,” says Michael Moritz, a fi nancial adviser
who specializes in technology companies. “It is probably the most visible
service concocted by mankind.
Google is so ubiquitous that it has entered the English language as more than a proper noun.
In 2006 the Merriam-Webster dictionary declared “google” a verb. To “google,” according to the dictionary, is to use the Google search engine to seek information on the Internet about a person, place, or thing.
The First Online Community
In addition to Google and Bing there are dozens of other search engines.
Some, like Google and Bing, are intended for general-purpose searching, but others are highly specialized.
Some require paid subscriptions. Some look for photos, videos, job openings, medical information, news alerts, and even singles seeking dates.
Investors can use financial-oriented search engines to find stock prices and backgrounds and histories of companies as well as predictions by experts on whether those companies may be good investments.
Most online retail sites have their own search engines, enabling shoppers
to find the products they seek by entering keywords, price, or other
criteria. Shoppers using the familiar Amazon.com website to search for
books (or thousands of other products) can find not only the books they
desire but also summaries of the contents, options to buy various editions—
both used and new—and the sales ranks of the books: in other words, their popularity among other Amazon shoppers.
Many of the books listed on the Amazon.com site have also been digitized, giving prospective buyers a sneak peek inside.
Amazon.com was founded in 1994 as predominantly an online seller of books, although today the retailer sells all manner of consumer products.
Prior to the establishment of Amazon and similar retailers, anybody who wanted to buy a book either had to go to a bookstore or do business with a mail-order retailer.
Finding a book to buy usually meant either going to the bookstore and browsing through the inventory on the shelves or paging through a
catalog sent to the customer’s home by the mail-order seller.
Certainly, the information a customer needed to make a selection was available; however, it may have taken considerable time, and inconvenience, before the customer found the book he or she was seeking.