Rivals strive to topple Google in quest for the ‘perfect search’

Inside the Googleplex – the nickname for Google’s Californian headquarters – stands a flat screen on which rotates an image of the Earth.As the globe slowly turns, bright lights shoot out like fireworks, illustrating where in the world Google searches are coming from. At the same time, a live feed cascades down one side of the screen with a random sample of search queries, everything from sports scores to Hollywood gossip.It is a stark illustration of what lies behind one of the most powerful companies in the world and of a new industry, barely a decade old, that now lies at the heart of our internet-driven way of life: search.

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