1/15/2013

Google’s not Narcissus after all



Google is usually seen as a selfish search giant. Common public opinion is that Google will serve up whatever is going to bring the company maximum benefit. Type in “maps” and you get Google maps; “images”, Google images; “books”, Google books. I’ve always thought that Google searches were a bit biased, though I still use them to bring me the best results.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered a hidden gem in the depths of Google’s digital interior. Try searching for “dead sea scrolls”. The top five hits have nothing to do with Google. A little more looking will reveal a couple of blog mentions on Google. Finally, you’ll notice the following link: Dead Sea Scrolls – Cultural Institute. This is a simply amazing site allowing you to read through these ancient texts without the need to study Hebrew.

While this little gem is awesome in and of itself, the implications are important. Here is a Google product with a relatively low search ranking. There is good evidence to infer that the biggest search business in the world isn’t focused totally and completely on itself.