The Technology Behind Google

Want a behind the scenes glimpse at the technology that powers Google? Take a guided tour with Jim Reese, Google's Chief Operations Engineer.

Google is often praised for its accurate and on-topic search results. While the software powering the search engine is undoubtedly first-rate, there's a less heralded part of Google that's just as important to the engine's success: its underlying technology.

Google's hardware is a massive "farm" of more than 10,000 servers, capable of not only indexing more than 3 billion web documents but handling thousands of queries per second with sub-second response times. It's an awesome engineering feat in its own right.

I've had the privelege of visiting two of Google's server farms, getting guided tours from Jim Reese, Google's Chief Operations Engineer. Jim and his team designed and built Google's hardware plant, and maintain it on a daily basis.

Though Jim's a hardcore engineer, he does a great job of explaining how everything works in a straightforward, easily understood way. He's also a lot of fun just to talk with -- before Google he was a practicing neurosurgeon, and still regularly performs gigs with his band.

In November, Jim will be presenting the keynote address at a conference for systems administrators, offering the behind the scenes look at Google's operations that he does so well. A similar talk that he presented at the Atlanta Linux Showcase in October 2000 was recorded, and is available in MP3 format from Dr. Dobb's TechNetCast.

So fire up your MP3 player, sit back, close your eyes, and take a virtual tour of Google with the good Dr. Reese.

The Technology Behind Google (MP3 Audio)
The technology behind Google: company overview, search parameters and results, hardware and query load balancing, Linux cluster topology, scalability, fault tolerance, and more (1hr 13min - available in streaming and downloadable formats).

Google Inside Part 2: Q&A Session with Jim Reese
15 minute Q&A session with Jim Reese, Google's Chief Operations Engineer.

Lycos Announces InSite AdBuyer Program

Lycos is launching a new keyword based advertising program, allowing advertisers and marketers to create text-based ad panels for display on Lycos Search and HotBot.

The company has teamed with to provide the technology platform for InSite AdBuyer. FindWhat uses a proprietary technology where advertisements are purchased via an open bidding system. Advertisers are only charged for actual clicks, or traffic, to their sites.

According to Tom Wilde, general manager of search services for Terra Lycos, the system is intended to complement rather than replace existing keyword advertisements currently provided by Overture.

You can sign up for the Lycos InSite program now, and gain access to the AdBuyer program when Lycos formally launches the service later this month.

Lycos InSite Search Services Products

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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was's Web Search Guide.