UK Shopping Guide Turns To Google

UK-based entertainment and shopping guide Virgin Net announced today that it has selected upstart search engine Google to provide search services for its Web site.

The deal is Google’s first with a company in the United Kingdom.

Visitors to Virgin Net will now have the ability to search the entire Web with Google WebSearch, a hosted version of Google’s search engine technology. Additionally, Google will provide custom search services that allow visitors to search for sites specific to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Google and Virgin Net have created a custom index of more than five million UK-specific Web pages.

“The search experience on Virgin Net will reduce search frustration and the time spent looking for relevant results,” said Alex Dale, publisher of Virgin Net. “Working together, Virgin Net and Google are enhancing the overall Web experience through content, applications, and superior search services.”

More Relevant Results

Google’s search engine technology has caught on with Web users because of the relevancy of its search results. The relevancy of Web pages that show up in Google’s search results are based on the number and importance of other pages that link to them, with the results calculated by a mathematical algorithm.

Rather than trying to compete with portal sites for advertising dollars — there is no banner advertising on its site — Google is working toward improving its search technology and making money by licensing the technology and powering searches on other sites.

In other words, Google is setting itself up as an Internet infrastructure company.

Google does plan to add text advertising that will be targeted to search terms. For example, a user looking for NFL content might see text ads from sports sites.

Top Investors Back Google

Google, which was founded by Stanford graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998, secured $25 million (US$) in a June funding round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.

This instance marked the first time that Kleiner and Sequoia, widely considered to be the two top venture-capital firms in Silicon Valley, have invested in the same company. Kleiner’s previous investments include Netscape and, while Sequoia has invested in Yahoo! and Cisco Systems.

Industry heavyweights Netscape and Red Hat are among those that already license Google’s technology.

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