By 2020, it may be possible for nearly every individual to have personally-tailored access to the whole of knowledge through ‘perfect search’ - where the ultimate search engine can understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want; anytime, anywhere.
In its quest for ‘perfect search’ Google could become the critical gatekeeper for connecting us to all of human knowledge; making it the leader of the Information Revolution and creating a Brave New Vision for Globalization.
The globalization of information technology began with Mark Weiser, who first identified the concept of ubiquitous computing (UC) in 1988 while he was working at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Weiser described UC as the ‘third wave’ in computing for achieving the full potential of computing and networking.
The first wave of computing was the era of IBM, where complex mainframe computers supported large numbers of people through centralized organizations. The second wave was the era of Microsoft, where individuals and personal computing machines shared the same desktop in decentralized computing.
Today searching the Web has become an essential starting point for information access. As a result, the third wave of computing is becoming the era of Google where the information environment of each person is connected through Google to many varied devices. The key enabling technologies include the Web, wireless networking, and countless small devices which extend our personal reach from the local to a global.
The process of information retrieval consists of searching within a document collection for a particular query. In 1989 document storage, access and retrieval was revolutionized by Tim Berners-Lee when he invented the World Wide Web. Unfortunately, like the infamous Tower of Babel, much of the data on the Web remained inaccessible until 1998 when link analysis for information retrieval began to be used.
The word “Google” didn’t exist before Larry Page and Sergio Brin misspelled Googol while naming their new link analysis search engine which used their PageRank algorithm.
Today, the word Google defines a 200 billion dollar company with over 25,000 employees that connects people in over a hundred languages to relevant information for free. Called “googling” the search results of over a billion searches a day includes small targeted advertisements through its ‘AdWords’ system; a software system that offers a self-service advertisement development capability and yields tremendous financial success for Google.
Soon however, ubiquitous computing will empower the fourth wave in computing called the Ubiquitous Web, where connected devices are automatically controlled over the Web to run financial transactions, as well as, pumps, lights, switches, sensors, monitors, and all manner of industrial machines. Google’s G-phone operating system which is scheduled for release in late 2008 is its first step toward dominating the fourth wave.
While Google Earth provides satellite views for nearly very location on Earth including weather patterns and information, Google’s next level of capabilities such as G-Android and G-Phone can extend to monitoring and sharing environmental data. The development of the Ubiquitous Web in coming years will permit global sensing and monitoring of many environmental parameters, such as, greenhouse gases, temperatures, water levels, ice flows, animal populations, vegetation, rainforests, weather patterns and much more. Eventually, the Ubiquitous Web connecting to billions of devices worldwide will enable us to control many environmental devices such as heat, light, pumps, etc.
For more information about technology innovations and the
Ubiquitous Web see the following references.
Alesso, H. P. and Smith, C. F., Connections: Patterns of Discovery John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2008.
Alesso, H. P. and Smith, C. F., Developing Semantic Web Services A. K. Peters Inc., 2004.
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