WEB 2.0 - Google wants your phonemes

IDG talks to Marissa Mayer, VP of Search Products & User Experience at Google.

IDGNS: What's Google's take on all the so-called "deep Web" content search engines can't get to for a variety of technical reasons?

Mayer: The issue on "deep Web" content is that it's usually in databases and [Web] crawling isn't a great way of getting at a database. ... So we've been doing things like Google Base. Most databases allow people to do an XML feed off of them so you can do an XML output of your database and you can upload that database to Google and Google Base.

IDGNS: Are you making progress with that approach?

Mayer: Yes, literally hundreds of millions of items have been uploaded into Google Base. So we're making progress indexing that data, but we're not doing a good enough job surfacing that data in the search results. So we have it, and if you go to Google Base you can find it but it's hard to figure out, from the universal search aspect, when it should be blended into the main search results.

IDGNS: From an engineer's point of view, is working on search engine technology still "cool" and professionally stimulating?

Mayer: Search is still very much an unsolved problem. ... We're like six years into what's going to become a 500-year discipline. It's still very compelling and we have people joining Google every day who are really excited to work on search.

IDGNS: Three or four years ago, people were saying 'Google is great, it's a cash cow, but for people to switch to another search engine, there's no cost, in terms of effort or inconvenience.' But it turns out this hasn't happened. What's Google's view into this issue?

Mayer: There are two non-obvious outcomes around the stickiness question. One is that it's true: If someone builds a better search, users will probably move over [to that competing engine.] That keeps our employees, especially our engineers, really well motivated to make sure no one has better search. ... We have to prove to our users every day that we still have the best search.

The other non-obvious observation is that search is much stickier than most people realize. Intuitively, you know you can go to [other search engines] ... but people have a source they trust and it takes them a long time to feel like they're not giving anything up [by using another search engine.]

When you find a long lost friend or information about a medical condition that is hard to diagnose or [you experience] that "I'm feeling lucky" moment when this amazing Web site turns up first on Google, each of those moments stays in your mind. There's an attachment, a trust there that this tool really brought me what I needed. ... So the switching cost for search is a lot higher [than people think.]

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?