Google has, for some time, had a few verticalized, niche search solutions hidden in their Advanced Search areas, notably their “topic specific” search around Linux, the Mac, govt sites, and the like. Today the company launched another, more ambitious vertical search tool called Google Scholar. According to folks I spoke to last night at Google, the service was done by one engineer in his “20% time.” Anurag Acharya, the engineer behind the service, tuned Google’s crawler for academic papers and worked with universities to make those papers available to others on the web.
The services has the tagline “Stand on the shoulders of giants.” It includes a cross referenced citation link for each paper, which is very cool, and as we all know, the basis of PageRank (and the WWW) in the first place. Here’s a search for vertical or domain specific search, for example.
This move marks a trend toward making usually invisible (and useful) information more accessible, one that I could imagine spreads to other domains, perhaps ones more commercial in nature. (Scholar does not have ads in it, at least for now). The special ranking algorithm and policies for dealing with the nature of a structured document universe such as this clearly scales to other opportunities – ie, travel, automotive, business information and the like.
Here’s Resourceshelf’s take on this, and SEW’s.
9 thoughts on “Google Scholar Launches: A Hint of Things to Come?”
Google says, by the way, that it does not earn money off of any new subscriptions generated between searchers and publishers. Aren’t they loosing some bussiness here?
A very good and widely used vertical search engine for scholarly/academic papers (mainly computer science papers) is CiteSeer, including automatic citation indexing.
Interestingly, the main developer of CiteSeer (Steve Lawrence) now works for Google.
I was dying for this the entire time I was in college (Google was still better than 90% of the academic databases we used anyway so no big deal). This reminds me of a post on MarginalRevolution that has to do with academic journals:
Another one is Scirus: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,62979,00.html. This is probably a sad day for them.
Citeseer’s content is great but its search engine leaves a lot to be desired. A lot of people do a google site restricted search (using google advanced search)on Citeseer to get the best of both worlds. So much people must have used google on citeseer that it peeked Anurag Acharya interest in developing this search engine.
The way I heard it is that the citeseer people gave up on their search engine when they realized that Google would do a good enough job. Citeseer extracts and publishes as hyperlinks the citations in each paper, and Google applies the Pagerank, which, of course, was borrowed originally from academic citation analysis. It’s come full circle.
Steve Lawrence apparently worked on the citeseer search, and given the above ended up pursuing opportunitie$ at Google.
Good for Google. But there’s a bit of a problem. I haven’t empirically validated this, but it sure seems like there are FEWER IT-related academic papers and reports put on the web each year. It seems like uploading papers was a fad, of sorts, in the late 90’s, but has since been on a decline. Simply check CiteSeer and the NCSTRL. BTW, I concur with Kristen: Scirus is pretty good. Getting a lot of links to papers costing US$25 each, though, gets a bit tiring.
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not so easy to create a page rank with scholar articles…