Google Turns 7, Expands Search Index

As part of its seventh birthday celebration, Google on Tuesday announced it has expanded its search index, but will no longer offer a specific count of indexed Web documents on its homepage. Instead, Google simply claims that its search is three times larger than rivals.

Although Google will not provide numbers, which it explains "vary greatly and are no longer easily comparable," the company says the new index is 1,000 larger than when Google first launched. But quality is important when it comes to search results, not quantity.

To that end, Google is asking its users to see for themselves which search engine is bigger and not fall prey to basic index size measurements.

"Come up with a search query that's special to you (your name, your elementary school, and your favorite animal, for example) - a combination of words that is likely to exist on just a few web pages out of the billions we've indexed, a few needles scattered in the Internet’s endless haystack," says Google software engineer Anna Patterson.

Last month, Yahoo sparked a war of words when it claimed its search index had doubled Google in size with 19.2 billion Web documents. Google had previously listed on its homepage that it searched through 8.17 billion pages. In response, Google said it failed to notice an actual change in Yahoo's results.

Yahoo, which does not usually disclose its index size, seemed to concur with Google's new sentiment. "As we've said in the past, what matters is that consumers find what they are looking for and we invite Google users to compare their results to Yahoo," the company said in a statement.

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