How Does Google Work?

It's not magic, but the tech wizardry behind the world's favorite search engine may still amaze you.

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There are 60 trillion webpages online.

There are 60 trillion webpages online.Image by Steve Jurvetson via Flickr (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>)
That's about 8,571 pages for every person on Earth. Google crawls each one by following links from site to site.

Google fields more than 100 billion searches each month.

Google fields more than 100 billion searches each month.Photo by Kham Tran via Flickr (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>)
Its Googlebot basically mimics the same web-browsing behavior you do, where the programs "chain" web pages together and then relay info back to Google.

Sixteen percent of a day's searches are completely new.

Sixteen percent of a day's searches are completely new.Photo by Trey Ratcliff via Flickr (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a>)
You're teaching Google, in other words, how to best present the right page for the right search.

Google's index is over 100 million gigabytes large.

Google's index is over 100 million gigabytes large.Photo by Kristina Alexanderson via Flickr (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a>)
That's well beyond the storage capability of any one hard drive; it's actually over 16,000 times larger than the biggest hard drive available to consumers.

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Proprietary algorithms serve up the pages you want.

Proprietary algorithms serve up the pages you want.Photo by MoneyBlogNewz via Flickr (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>)
There is a set of formulas ("things like the terms on websites, the freshness of content, your region and PageRank," according to Google) to deliver results from the index.

Search data travels about 1,500 miles (two times the length of Texas).

Search data travels about 1,500 miles (two times the length of Texas).Photo by bradleypjohnson via Flickr (<a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>)
And it happens in an instant.

More than 500 million people have joined Google+.

More than 500 million people have joined Google+.Illustration by Leon Nicholls via Flickr (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">CC BY-NC 2.0</a>)
And they may influence your search results. If you're logged into the site's social network, those might display different if the links have been recommended by people in your circles.

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