Every wonder what’s behind the simple and plain Google Search page?


According to ZdNet:

  • Over four billion Web pages, each an average of 10KB, all fully indexed.
  • Up to 2,000 PCs in a cluster.
  • Over 30 clusters.
  • 104 interface languages including Klingon and Tagalog.
  • One petabyte of data in a cluster — so much that hard disk error rates of 10-15 begin to be a real issue.
  • Sustained transfer rates of 2Gbps in a cluster.
  • An expectation that two machines will fail every day in each of the larger clusters.
  • No complete system failure since February 2000.

Continues the article:

When Arthur C. Clarke said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, he was alluding to the trick of hiding the complexity of the job from the audience, or the user. Nobody hides the complexity of the job better than Google does; so long as we have a connection to the Internet, the Google search page is there day and night, every day of the year, and it is not just there, but it returns results. Google recognises that the returns are not always perfect, and there are still issues there — more on those later — but when you understand the complexity of the system behind that Web page you may be able to forgive the imperfections. You may even agree that what Google achieves is nothing short of sorcery. [“The magic that makes Google tick“, 02 December 2004]

The sorcery behind google? It’s called reason.

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