Online search engine leader Google Inc. is setting out make better sense of all the scholarly work stored on the Web.
The company's new service, unveiled late Wednesday, draws upon newly developed algorithms to list the academic research that appears to be most relevant to a search request. Mountain View-based Google doesn't plan to charge for the service nor use the feature to deliver text-based ads — the primary source of its profits.
"Google has benefited a lot from scholarly research, so this is one way we are giving back to the scholarly community," said Anurag Acharya, a Google engineer who helped develop the new search tools.
Although Google already had been indexing the reams of academic research online, the company hadn't been able to separate the scholarly content from commercial Web sites.
By focusing on the citations contained in academic papers, Google also engineered its new system to provide a list of potentially helpful material available at libraries and other offline sources.
The scholarly search effort continues Google's effort to probe even deeper into content available online and offline. Last month, Google expanded a program that invites publishers to scan their books into the search engine's index, enabling people to peek at the contents online before deciding whether to buy a copy.