Google it… It’s a fact?
I’ll never forget it when Russell Hantz, in the season opener of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains said “It’s a fact. It’s a proven fact. Google It“. Back then in 2010, this was a pretty funny and bold statement to spit out – considering how many times people referenced the popular search engine as the holy grail of facts and information! It seemed that everyone from students typing up essays to accountants looking up formulas used Google for their fact-finding.
For those of us who are 30 years old and up – fact-finding happened at the library, at home using your outdated encyclopedias, or, if you happened to be super tech-savvy, using your CD-ROM version of your encyclopedia (I still remember the excitement of seeing videos and animations while using Encarta!)
15 years ago, the accuracy of search results was extremely inaccurate and almost frustrating! I recall using search engines like HotBot, Netscape and Ask Jeeves and the search results for a given query was more of a paid agenda for the company or anyone desperately needing to display a link to their website. As great of a tool a search engine could have been back then, there simply wasn’t the organizational-power search engines have today.
|One of many Google data centers|
Fast-forward to 2014, only 4 years later and the power of a search engine isn’t all that far from being the absolute information and fact-finding tool. Not only do search engines categorize and index a wealth of information, but they make it as easy as simply asking them a question such as “When did we first walk on the moon” or “How many presidents has the USA had”. 10 years ago, you would get a wide range of answers or interpretations for any given question or subject but in 2014, the search results are nearly always right, making search engines like Google more of an oracle rather than a search engine! In fact, this year, the ingenious minds over at Google are building a large knowledge-base (Click here to read Google’s “Knowledge-Base” research paper) that will not only gather known facts and information about anything and everything that users search for but it will cross-reference it with already proven facts as well as assign a “probability score” to the information. On top of that, the knowledge-base will continue to learn and constantly fact-check for validity the more and more we search for new things! You can bet those facts with high probability will rank higher in a search engine, increasing the accuracy of information.
So next time you are out with your friends and someone asks “Who’s the tallest NBA player ever” or “What size shoe does Sarah Jessica Parker wear“, Google it! The odds are very, very likely that the answer will be a fact!