Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 7, 2003
BLOG: How Novel Is Google?

I've had nearly no time to post this week -- I returned from my reunion to a crisis at work that has expanded to fill all available time and then some. But I did see one item that I wanted to comment on: Glenn Reynolds' latest Tech Central Station column. What bugged me is Reynolds' sense that Google was really some sort of radical innovation in its ability to search and retrieve information across the Web.

The reason I found this odd is that I'd encountered the kind of searchability found in Google before I'd ever heard of the Internet -- on Westlaw and LEXIS/NEXIS, the online legal search engines, which for many years have offered the ability to log on and search not only legal resources but news sources as well. They're expensive as sin, but the services give free access to law students (to get us hooked), so while I first saw the internet in 1996, I'd already spent 3 years surfing the newsgathering features of Westlaw online.

Which is to take nothing from Google, which searches a much vaster wilderness of web pages and does so at no charge to the reader. But when Google came out, my reaction wasn't "wow, how can they do this?" It was "finally, the web has a search engine that rivals what you can get on Westlaw."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:28 AM | Blog 2002-05 | TrackBack (0)
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