You’ve probably used Google’s search engine around four times today, but overwhelming odds are you were thinking about what you were searching for rather than how Google actually works. But if you have ever stopped and wondered how the internet’s magical Q&A box manages to deliver succinct, accurate answers so quickly, here’s an explanation straight from
our internet overlords the monumental tech company itself.
The animated explainer, which is about five minutes long, follows the journey of somebody Googling “lasagna.” From the moment the Search button is clicked, we follow Google’s algorithms as they scour through roughly 30 trillion webpages that make up its “index,” and rank the relevancy of pages based on numerous factors. Some of the factors include: how many times the searched word or phrase is used in a page; where the searched word is in a given webpage; how many outside sites link to the page containing a given searched word, and where a search happens in the world.
The products of bad actors, which include things like viruses and spam, are also discussed, with Google noting that it tries to constantly stay “one step ahead.”
One part of Google’s search explainer that’s left out is how Google’s ads, which are becoming more and more ubiquitous in search results, enter into the algorithmic decisions made by the search engine. Although to be fair, the company did put out a quick lesson on the topic in 2010, which helps to fill in a significant part of the search picture.