Google has won the battle of the search engines, at least for the time being and its more serious minded offspring, Google Scholar, is rapidly gaining ground. Within a year of its release Google Scholar has led more visitors to many biomedical journal websites than has PubMed. Once they discover it, many medical students and doctors prefer Google Scholar.6 Although both tools benefit from Google's trademark simplicity, Google Scholar indexes more peer reviewed research and is especially quick in locating highly cited items and the proverbial needle in a haystack. Doctors are encouraged to consult Google Scholar for browsing and serendipitous discovery, not for literature reviews; and they should use the advanced search page to find words and names that occur often in the medical literature.
Google's influence and power is writ large in the search field—so large that librarians are asking themselves some difficult questions. With all of this technology and freely available digital information, what will happen to physical libraries? Google's mission is to provide access to the world's information—but this is librarians' mission too. Will they be needed in the new information age?
How Google is changing medicine -- Giustini 331 (7531): 1487 -- BMJ