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Does Google rule the world?

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Don’t be evil.

Larry Page, Sergey Brin and company.

A great company or a worrying intrusion?

Apparently, if you use Google Earth and Google Streetview you can now Goggle your neighbours or your partner in real-time whilst at work.


Just hope it’s not your partner with your neighbour in real-time.

And why am I blogging about Google?

Because they were the highlight of a morning conference focusing upon technology architectures in the trading rooms.

I’ll blog a bit about the latter later, but wanted to get the Google stuff down now as it’s pretty darned good.

The keynote was from Nelson Mattos, Vice President of Engineering for EMEA at Google, who joined them in 2007 after a 16-year career with IBM (now, that’s a transformation!).

Nelson began by discussing the internet, with the reminder that in 1994 there were only 10,000 internet users … today there are 1.3 billion and 3.5 billion mobile subscribers.

Things have changed.

On 15th December 1995, Altavista launched one of the first and most successful search engines of its time. At launch, Altavista had indexed 16 million documents, and had 300,000 searches on its first day. By the end of 1996, it was achieving 19 million searches daily.

Then Google launched in 1998, with an index of 26 million pages. This number increased to 500 million by 2000 and, today, exceeds over 20 billion internet pages indexed.

20 billion pages represent over an Exabyte of information, and an Exabyte is equivalent to 8,000 years worth of uninterrupted live and streaming television. Only a Giant Tortoise could possibly watch that much TV!

Mind you, with over 15 hours of video uploaded to Google’s YouTube channels every minute, it’s no wonder there’s so much to see!

And that 8,000 years worth of streaming television is all fully searchable, and search we do.

Google usually run over a billion searches every day!

80% of those are in non-native English too, with over 266 languages represented.

And those search speeds are fast. For example, Google recently set a new record of searching and indexing a terabyte of information in just 68 seconds over 1,000 computer servers. Now that’s virtualisation in action!

Nelson then discussed Google’s green credentials, as their data centres use evaporative cooling to decrease their energy-weighting average overhead to 19% compared to an average of 96% for a typical American Data Centre.

Google’s systems also run on 100% recycled water, as well as all of their servers being reused and recycled. Nothing is thrown away and all of the systems are minimised in terms of energy, electricity and waste.

All Google’s stuff is open source too, with everything internally running on Linux with a few special tweaks to suit the Google way. Those tweaks are then given back to the Google community, for example Android which now powers many mobile apps.

Nelson then talked about cloud computing and other applications, such as gmail, and said that last year each gmail user was sent 45,000 spam emails on average, but received less than 1% of those spams thanks to their filters. That was a 25% increase in spam over 2007, whilst viruses are even more rife. Viruses apparently increased six-fold in the second half of 2008 over the first half, and are continuing to rise in an unpredictable fashion.

One of the things that Nelson also mentioned was that the failure of gmail earlier in the week was due to shifting data centres in Europe, when an unpredictable workload clogged up the system causing it to fall-over for an hour.

A rare event but headline news, which shows how important Google has become.

All in all there were lost of other stats and facts, which I’ll expand upon later, but Google is an integral part of our daily lives these days … what would we do without out?

Answer: search Google for phrase “in the old days”.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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