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Google's Cool Billion

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Google has sprinted into the leading position as the Web's largest search engine, introducing a new billion-plus page index that also contains the largest collection of international Web sites on the Internet.

"Google's new gigantic index means that you can search the equivalent of a stack of paper more than 70 miles high in less than half a second," said Larry Page, Google CEO and co-founder.

The new index contains 560 million full-text indexed Web pages and 500 million partially indexed URLs. "Partially indexed" means Google has discovered the URL for a page and has determined its relevance without actually downloading the page and including it in the index.

The new index should be especially welcome to international searchers. "Search engines don't cover international very well," said Page, so Google is stepping up to the challenge. Currently, users can search Google using 10 different languages, including French, German, Italian and Spanish. The company will soon incorporate Japanese, Chinese, Korean and other languages into its search engine. Forty percent of Google's traffic comes from international users.

Search Engine Size Wars Rage On

Most of the major search engines claim that they have the biggest index of Web pages. Last spring, Inktomi announced that it had created a map of the Web that included over a billion pages, and had culled 500 million of those pages for its index.

Shortly thereafter, AltaVista created its own Web map, studying more than 1.6 billion pages, and ended up with an index of 350 million searchable pages. Excite, FAST, and Northern Light have similarly all boosted the size of their Web page databases over the past year. But Google is the first to actually allow searchers to see results from more than one billion Web pages.

Inktomi and AltaVista have argued that the vast majority of pages they have excluded from their indexes are duplicates or spam. Google doesn't discriminate against spam by excluding pages. Instead, it relies on its proprietary PageRank rating system to push lower-quality pages to the bottom of results lists where they're less likely to be seen. "We try to be as friendly to legitimate Webmasters as possible. There's some correlation between obscurity and quality, but it's weak," said Page.

Yahoo Falls For Google

Google also announced that it will provide "fallover" results for Yahoo, replacing Inktomi as Yahoo's search partner. Yahoo is a relatively small human compiled directory of about 1.5 million pages. A search on Yahoo will always deliver results from the directory first, but if no results are found, results from Google's index will be displayed instead. Yahoo expects to integrate Google's search services within the next 30 days.

Page said that Google has rebuilt its infrastructure in recent weeks, both to handle the anticipated increase in traffic from Yahoo and to better accommodate the new billion page index. Google is expecting that it will soon power more than 30 million searches per day on Google.com and its partner Web sites.

You can expect Google to continue to innovate. "We remain obsessed with providing our users with the highest quality search experience on the Web," said Sergey Brin, Google president and cofounder.

Google's obsession is a boon for all serious Web searchers.

Chris Sherman

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Google has been my favorite search engine for well over one year. I am glad to see that more and more people are recognizing what a good engine it is. I would highly recommend using it and even bookmarking my link to it and making your searches from that page.

This article originally appeared on about.com's "Websearch" page.


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