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University Of Montreal Professors Reflects On Google's 10th Anniversary As Internet's Principal Gateway

July 21, 2017

Google is an indispensable tool for any researcher, according to Bruce Murphy of the Université de Montréal Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

You can find anything on Google - even stem cells. "I recently ordered some," says Murphy, director of the UdeM's Animal Reproduction Research Centre, one North America's largest hubs of its kind, which is based in Saint-Hyacinthe. "Not a day goes by during which I don't use Google."

Google Scholar, Google Patent and Google Images are indispensable tools for researchers, according to Murphy. For example, Google Scholar searches through a variety of international journals, books, scientific articles and abstracts, and measures the number of times a given publication has been cited. "The databases of Google Scholar are multidisciplinary and index the addresses of all authors and you can research the cited references," says Murphy.

Furthermore, Google Patent provides information on patents submitted by researchers throughout the world and Google Images indexes billions of photographs found on the web. "These tools facilitate the work of academics who are regularly asked to chair evaluation committees and make presentations," says Murphy.

Despite this optimism for the search engine, the amount of information available on the web worries certain people. Jean-Grégoire Bernard is one of those people. Bernard is a professor at the Université de Montréal affiliated school HEC and admits he isn't a Google specialist but he recently published an article in La Presse on what he refers to as the myth of Big Brother.

His argument is that the risk of having personal information used for a variety of unexpected reasons is very real. However, this aspect of Google is often overshadowed by the fact that it allows to shed light in very dark corners of the web and provides us with a public memory that forgets very little.

"A few years go it was necessary to know the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript to publish on the Internet," says Murphy. "But today, publishing on the web is possible for everyone."

And nothing suggests that Google will slow down. The most famous search engine is always beating new records. Last year, Google generated $4.23 billion in only three months.

University of Montreal