How Google Search Works According to Google

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.

Google posted the video explaining how its search tool works to YouTube (which it owns, of course), just a day after it announced a major achievement in quantum computing known as quantum supremacy. As Google itself stated, quantum computers, which will have an unthinkable speed advantage over regular computers, will, in part, help to improve search. It’s unclear if Google has intentionally demonstrated its potential, even greater, supremacy in the search game and given insight into how its core tool works one day after the other, but regardless, the explanation is helpful for the layperson.

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.

What do you think of Google’s explainer video of its own search engine? Give us some more searchable content in the comments!

Images: Google