Google removed their Index Size from their beautifully simple search page recently. They said that it was not helpful and caused unseemly comparisons by others (read Yahoo! and MSN Search). Excellent – they should of course all be competing on relevancy, currency and speed of search. Google comes up pretty well on that comparison as well.
However Google still knows it’s bigger than all the others. So surprisingly it still leaves open a small window by which you can infer the size of the index. Just do a Google search for * * * . You are of course asking for web pages that have any text at all on them. As an aside, Macromedia and Acrobat come up as the first 8 entries, which must mean something, I guess. The more interesting item is the number of web pages included in the search.
Results 1 – 100 of about 11,610,000,000 for * * * .
Checking for fewer or more *’s gives different results. For example, a Google search for * * gives slightly fewer web pages.
Results 1 – 100 of about 11,190,000,000 for * *.
So we know the Google Index is 11.6 billion or more. I’m sure the others aren’t anywhere near that. However Yahoo!, MSN Search and Ask Jeeves refuse to rise to the challenge and display no results at all. Since this is a nonsense search, I wonder when Google will finally decide to draw a veil over all this.