The most popular search engine in America has ranked Rensselaer's Lighting Research Center (LRC) first among web sites about lighting.
The Mountain View, California-based Google search engine (at www.google.com) places the LRC site above well-funded corporate sites. The LRC's site, at www.lrc.rpi.edu, offers free, objective information on a wide variety of lighting topics, including lighting for older adults, lighting products for commercial buildings, and lighting for roadways and automobiles. The Lighting Research Center is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's School of Architecture.
According to Great Britain's Sunday Business magazine, in April Google surpassed Alta Vista and other rivals such as Lycos and Ask Jeeves to become the most popular search engine in America. Google uses a proprietary method to rank web pages based on how many other sites on the Internet link to them. This method effectively finds the most authoritative sites first, and has earned Google "a cult reputation as the fastest and most accurate in cyberspace," according to the Sunday Business. "The search engine has the ability to pinpoint exactly the right information in seconds, and such is its popularity that Google's three huge servers now handle an average of 100 million inquiries every day."
When users type in "lighting" as their search topic, the LRC site quickly pops up as the first result. According to LRC Director of Information Technology Robert Wolsey, the most popular search topics entered by visitors to the site include residential lighting, office lighting, fiber optics, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and traffic signals.
"We have over a 1000 visitors per day, most of them visiting for the first time. More of them find us through Google than all the rest of
the major search engines combined," said Wolsey. "To keep them coming back, we're adding new information all the time, like lighting tips
for older adults, evaluations of compact fluorescent lamps, info on photosensor dimming systems, and the facts about bright blue headlights.
It's all free and it's from an objective source."
Another popular search engine, Yahoo!, has licensed Google's search technology, so the LRC is ranked first there, as well. The LRC site
also ranks well among sites about lighting at other search engines, including Lycos (LRC ranked 3rd), Alta Vista (LRC ranked 10th) and Direct
Hit (LRC ranked 11th), which counts click-throughs by its own visitors to rank sites.