A few of the headlines surrounding Google's announcement that their index is 3 times larger than the competion's are proclaiming the index size wars over. It hasn't stopped the childishness though, and apparently, we just have to trust Google when they tell us theirs is the largest.
So, the index size wars are over eh? Hardly. Google may have taken the "8 billion pages served" from their homepage, but are still claiming the index is 3 times larger than anyone elses and took the opportunity to slap Yahoo! about over duplicate entries and index size inflation:
Search engines' published metrics for index size measurement vary greatly and are no longer easily comparable. Often, for instance, web crawlers retrieve duplicate entries for one page or links to documents that they haven't crawled, and whose content thus isn't in the index. At Google we believe the essential quality of an index isn't the total number of documents, but its comprehensiveness – which unique documents are in the index. So we don't count duplicate or uncrawled pages. According to our internal testing, our newly expanded search index is more than three times larger than that of any other search engine.
That's a direct attack on Yahoo! Maybe quite justified aswell, but it's funny how on one hand they're getting all grown up and saying "enough is enough" with index size, whilst on the other still poking their tongues out and pulling faces at the competition.
Can we verify that Google's index is 3 times larger than Yahoo's? Of course we can't, you just have to really, really believe it's true ok?
John Battelle spoke to Marissa Mayer, and he had this to say:
I then asked Marissa if Google would be open to having a third party, agreed to by both sides, settle this in some reliable fashion. She said sure, but as she answered, I realized this will never happen. Both sides think they are right, and both sides will never divulge how they go about counting in the first place. So where are we left? Pretty much where we've been, only now, it's all about who you believe. So who's more comprehensive? Depends who you ask.....
You know, it seems to me that rather than the index size wars being over, we've just stepped up to a whole new level of petty mudslinging that should be well beneath your average 7yr olds, let alone grownup search engineers and PR people.