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Google's game

At the core of Google's rankings is the PageRank algorithm created by Page and Brin. The Google-opoly game is essentially this method. Keep in mind that winning Google-opoly only requires determining the top ranked web page. PageRank, as it should, ranks all the web pages in the network. Page and Brin's billion dollar business of Google included more ideas than that found in Google-opoly. For example, when you submit a query, the list of web pages that Google returns results from a page's ranking but also a measure of how relevant the page's content is to the topic of your query. Even so, understanding Google-opoly introduces an important part of Google and its success. For an alternate explanation of PageRank, see the accompanying video, which places the ideas of Google-opoly into a physical context. Rather than playing a game, we step into the realm of Google-topia.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin were graduate students at Stanford University when the foundational ideas of Google developed. They left school and the rest is history! Google-opoly is a game we can play to understand their PageRank algorithm. However, technical details can still be learned. For instance, we took the probability of teleporting as 1/6. What happens if we take a higher value? or a lower value? Some companies exist to raise the PageRank of clients' web pages. How do they do this? Such questions can be answered with the resources listed at the bottom of this web page. Such reading can deepen your understanding and appreciation for Page and Brin's innovative algorithm. With your knowledge of PageRank, what game can you create that might make another mark in history?

Additional Reading

  1. Brin, S. and L. Page. 1998. The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine. Computer Networks and ISDN Systems 30: 107--117.

  2. Chartier, T. 2006. Googling Markov. The UMAP Journal 27: 17--30.

  3. Langville, A. and C. Meyer. 2006. Google's PageRank and Beyond: The Science of Search Engine Rankings. Princeton University Press.
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