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WebReference.com: Google Adds Smart Directory

Mar 21, 2000, 18:02 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy King)

By Andy King, WebReference.com

If you haven't been over to Google lately, do yourself a favor and click on over there. Last week the Googlians added a directory service to their innovative search engine.

The directory, licensed from Netscape's Open Directory Project (ODP), is a browsable hierarchical subject-based directory like Yahoo with a difference. Google hand-picked sites listed in the ODP, and ranked them by "importance" using their PageRank algorithm.

So when you browse through each category (Arts, Business, Computers...) the sites listed are automatically sorted by importance or popularity. Nifty stuff. But the Googlians didn't stop there. They integrated the directory results into their seach results. Search on "javascript" for example, and up comes our own JavaScript Source. Since it is also listed in the directory, a category link appears. Click on it and up pops the JavaScript branch of the directory.

The net effect is more relevant searches. Finding the most popular sites for a particular topic is fast, unlike other directories where you have to sift through sites alphabetically (although Google allows that too).

Leverage: What Google has done is leveraged the power of the Web community to rank and now categorize sites. They've taken a daunting problem, indexing the Web, and kung fu'd it with an open solution. PageRank rates sites in part by the popularity of their backlinks, letting webmasters vote with their links. Google also leverages thousands of volunteer editors at ODP to categorize sites, and then adds some magic PageRank to sort them. The results are nothing short of spectacular. I'm Google-eyed.

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