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The Good, The Bad, and Google...

Maggio 2008
Come facevamo quando non c’era Google? Grazie alla sua semplicità ed efficenza, il motore di ricerca nato solo 10 anni fa ha cambiato il nostro modo di cercare informazioni. E di lavorare, studiare, relazionarci...

di William Sutton

File audio:

clicca qui per andare alla relativa traccia audio (contrassegnata dalla scritta "speaker")


Google image
Google image

Speaker: Mark Worden, Justin Ratcliffe (Standard British accent):

What is Google?
Google is a search engine, started in 1998 by Stanford University students Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Search engines are internet directories, like virtual address books. Before Google (and its competitors Yahoo, AltaVista, Ask, etc.), the internet was a mass of information with no reliable way to find what you wanted. Google is now used by hundreds of millions of people every month. It is a major world company, challenging IT giants like Microsoft and Amazon. With the unofficial motto “Don’t do evil,” Google’s 8,000 employees enjoy a relaxed, stimulating work environment in northern California, surrounded by couches, gyms, music and massage rooms. Google has become the standard English verb for internet searching.

How do search engines work?

Google’s computers have catalogued billions of internet pages. If I type in “English lessons,” it takes only moments to present a list of pages relevant to my “key words” or “search terms.” Google has become the world’s top search engine by pioneering:
- a simple page style.
- page rankings, ordering results in order of relevance and popularity.
- associated website functions developed by employees.

What else does Google do?

What doesn’t Google do? As well as searching for words, Google can find images, videos and more. Google Earth zooms in on interactive satellite pictures of the planet. Picasa organises photos; Google scholar helps you study; Froogle helps you shop. The next generation of Google software will operate phones, mobile computers and MP3 players. And it’s almost all free.

How does Google pay for it?
Advertising. If people look up “hotels,” it makes sense for hotels to advertise on that page. The internet is more powerful than ads in newspapers, TV and billboards, because people can buy with the click of the mouse. By 2009, UK companies will spend more on internet advertising than television. Google earns over $3 billion per quarter, giving clients detailed statistics about who is searching for what and how many people see each ad.

So everyone loves Google?

Not everyone. For example:
1. Publishers sued Google for uploading millions of texts to its Book Search. Google says it’s an academic resource; publishers say they’re breaking copyright laws.
2. Human rights groups condemned Google for accepting Chinese government censorship. Topics censored by the “Great Firewall of China” include Taiwan’s independence, the Tiananmen Square massacre and BBC news. Google says that, despite the compromise, it is better to participate in China’s development.
3. Others want Google to restrict information. Should we be able to look up people’s addresses? Satellite images of their homes? What if your boss googles you? Or your crazy former lover? When does freedom of information become invasion of privacy? Google’s databanks are already precious for advertisers. In the future, will they know everything about us? Will they predict our needs? Dictate our desires?

USEFUL GOOGLETTES

www.books.google.com - read pages from almost any book; full text of older books
www.froogle.google.com - online shopping
www.maps.google.com - interactive maps to fi nd your destination
www.google.com/alerts - watches for new pages about your interests

 


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Glossary

search engine - motore di ricerca.

directories - elenchi.

address books - rubriche.

reliable - affidabile.

challenging IT giants - che sfida i giganti dell’informatica (IT, In-formation Technology.)

don’t do evil - non fare del male.

employees - dipendenti.

work environment - ambiente di lavoro.

couches - divani.

gyms - palestre.

relevant - pertinenti.

by pioneering - lanciando per primi.

rankings - classifiche.

zooms in on - punta, ingrandisce con lo zoom.

look up - cerca.

it makes sense - è ragionevole.

ads - pubblicità.

billboards - manifesti.

publishers - editori.

sued - hanno fatto causa.

they’re breaking copyright law - infrangono la legge sul diritto d’autore.

censorship - censura.

topics - argomenti.

great firewall - gioco di parole con great wall, grande muraglia. In termini informatici,  firewall indica un sistema di protezione che può bloccare il flusso di dati.

former lover - ex amante.