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.

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