How Google Works – The Animated Infographic

So how does Google work? Have you always wanted to know?

Well, you’re in luck, Google decided to disclose their “secret sauce” on April 1, 2002, by announcing “Pigeon Rank.”

pigeon rank

“PigeonRank’s success relies primarily on the superior trainability of the domestic pigeon (Columba livia) and its unique capacity to recognize objects regardless of spatial orientation. The common gray pigeon can easily distinguish among items displaying only the minutest differences, an ability that enables it to select relevant web sites from among thousands of similar pages.”

Sounds pretty unbelievable right?

That’s because it is. If you’ll notice the date mentioned above, this was a nerdy April Fools’ Day prank Google played on the public.

Google’s actual secret sauce is called PageRank. PageRank is the foundational algorithm that Google uses to figure out what webpages best fit the intention of your search query. The animated infographic below sheds some light on how the process actually works.


Now, even what’s described above has already changed somewhat. That’s because Google’s search algorithm is constantly evolving, thwarting people trying to abuse its search technology, while also improving the overall search experience for the rest of us. However, the general premise remains the same.

Thanks to Quicksprout for creating this amazing animated infographic!

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