More than any other company, Google are probably responsible for introducing us to the benefits of analysing and interpreting Big Data in our day-to-day lives.
When we carry out a Google search, we are manipulating Big Data. The size of Google’s index – its archive of every Web page it can find, which is used to return search results – is estimated to stand at around 100 petabytes (or 100 million gigabytes!) – certainly Big Data, by anyone’s standards.1
But as we’ve seen over the past decade, bringing all the information on the Internet together to make it easier for us to find things was only the start of their plan. Google have gone on to launch Web browsers, email, mobile phone operating systems and the world’s biggest online advertising network – all firmly grounded in the Big Data technology with which they made themselves a household name.
The Internet is a big place – since we moved online en masse in the 1990s, it’s been growing at a phenomenal rate and is showing no signs of slowing down. This size itself is a problem: when we have access to practically everything that anyone has ever known, how do we find what we need to help us solve our problems?
Not only is it big, the Internet is very widespread. Information is uploaded to servers that may be located anywhere in the world, meaning anyone wanting to browse through the data available to them ...