Is Google Having a Machine Crisis? Get Real.

Machine Crisis - Servers Full

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The real story about the machine crisis at Google

Is Google having a server crisis. No way!

Many people have been commenting on an article written by the New York Times where Eric Schmidt said, "Those machines are full. We have a huge machine crisis." Unfortunately, many of the blogs written about it are reading too much into a single, out-of-context statement.

Consider the following. Google just spent $345 million on "computer servers, networking equipment and space for its data centers.", and that was just in the first quarter of this year. Consequently that was about double what they spent during the same time last year. Now with over $345 million in new servers, do you really think they still have a crisis? I don't.

I believe that Schmidt was defending why they spent so much money when he said there was a crisis because that is what CEOs do. You don't stay in as CEO if you don't defend what you have done to your stockholders.

Now, when we add this "new major influx of servers", it is completely understandable why Google would need their "BigDaddy" update. Matt Cutts describes the update as the following:

It has some new infrastructure, not just better algorithms or different data. Most of the changes are under the hood, enough so that an average user might not even notice any difference in this iteration. Bigdaddy involves new infrastructure and is not just a data push or algorithm update.

Now lets tie it all together. Matt also commented that indexing and crawl depth depend on the pages pagerank:

One of the classic crawling strategies that Google has used is the amount of PageRank on your pages. So just because your site has been around for a couple years (or that you submit a sitemap), that doesn’t mean that we’ll automatically crawl every page on your site. In general, getting good quality links would probably help us know to crawl your site more deeply.

In other words, if the underlying pages don't have enough links (read PageRank) then they won't be indexed. I really don't find it all that surprising that people are "losing pages" out of the index. I would venture that those pages that "went missing" are really just lacking in pagerank, not seen as important, and thus either dropped or placed into the "supplemental index".

Now, as a side-note, I do believe that Google is moving toward a "TrustRank" system (More on this later). This has been evidenced by a number of recent rankings by certain sites. This might also be a reason that people are "dropping" out of the index. However, I haven't noticed any drops in my pages or my clients' pages. So it seems we are on the right track whatever the change proves to be.