Roundup Of Google Size Announcement Coverage

Yesterday was pretty much spent by me writing my story about Google claiming to be most comprehensive search engine but also dropping any page count from its home page. That story, if you missed it, is up here: End Of Size Wars? Google Says Most Comprehensive But Drops Home Page Count. Now that I've emerged from my writing cocoon, here's a roundup of what others are saying on the subject:

  • We wanted something special for our birthday is the post on Google's blog telling the world it is 1,000 times larger than when it started in September 1998, three times larger than any other search engine, but no mention of the actual count or that the count has been removed from the home page. Instead, Google asks readers to "see for yourself" how effective the new index is.

    The post also points at a new Sizing Up Search Engines page where Google explains that it could prove the number of unique documents it has but doesn't. Instead, it tells readers "you can prove it yourself" and advises them to search for uncommon information as a test.
  • Google Announces New Index Size, Shifts Focus from Counting from John Battelle covers how he also sees the index wars as over "at least in terms of raw counting" and how it shifts the debate "back to relevance, where honestly, it really belongs." Absolutely!
  • The end of the index size wars (we hope) from Charlene Li is pleased like John, like me, like Phil Bradley and no doubt many, many others that we're getting away from "mine is bigger than yours" comparisons, though she sees the obvious irony of Google still saying its bigger as part of the pullback.

    She also asks, "How long do you think it will be before some journalist does some math and writes that Google's index has 60 billion documents? Hopefully, never." Well, she's effectively a journalist on her blog, so never just became reality. But of course someone was to publish the simple math, if not her.

    The point is, when both Google and Yahoo themselves tell you that their counts aren't comparable, then it doesn't matter what the number is that either releases. It's like Google saying it has "60 billion GoogleTons of pages" and Yahoo saying it has "20 billion YahooTons of pages." What's the conversion rate for GoogleTons into YahooTons? We don't know. And if you don't have that common metric, then you can't compare the figures.
  • Google: No, really ours is the biggest, you'll just have to trust us on that ok? from Nick over at Threadwatch sees Google taking a "slap" at Yahoo over the issue of duplicated entries. That's ironic, too, since if you read my story, I showed an example where Google has three duplicated entries in one example -- all of which are counted. It's another reason why I'm glad we're getting away from counts.

    Nick also wonders if rather than a pullback from the index wars, we're seeing an escalation. I say a pullback, Nick. Yahoo's already making statements that it agrees users should judge for themselves. I'd expect that they'll later further say they consider themselves to be most comprehensive and take the Google line that users can verify this for themselves. As long as we don't see actual count figures come back as "proof" of comprehensiveness, we may move along for a bit.
  • Google: Mystery index from Jean Véronis who's done some great watching of search engine counts notes that the Google claim meshes with his estimate of where the index was going.
  • Google says size matters less, drops search boasts from Reuters has a basic overview of the move by Google.
  • Google to take down front-page boast about index size from the Associated Press provides another overview with the idea that verification is left to a user "taste test."
  • How Many Pages in Google? Take a Guess from the New York Times also has the "taste test" idea and gets Google CEO Eric Schmidt "not to rule out" the idea that a prize might be given for the best guess at its size.
  • Google touts size of its search index has Google ending the CNET news blackout, with Google CEO Eric Schmidt doing a phone interview on the announcement along with the Yahoo statement others are also being given:

"We congratulate Google on removing the index size number from its home page and for recognizing it is a meaningless number," Yahoo said in a statement. "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 search at"

  • Open Letter To Google Chief Eric Schmidt is from WebmasterWorld member reseller who has issues with Google's claims of being larger in terms of "unduplicated" pages. My story above gives examples of how some duplicate pages are already in Google. The complaint in partiular covers the fact that while duplicate pages exist, de-duplication efforts may also remove the original documents from Google, rather than mirrors.

I may add further links as I see unique stuff flow in.

Want to discuss? Visit the Google Drops The Home Page Count thread in our Search Engine Watch Forums.