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Google Uses the power of clusters. Basically, they have hundreds, possibly thouthands of top-end servers with multiple processors linked together, essentially combining their processors into one. So, for an example, if they were to only have say 200 computers clustered together, each with 2 2Ghz processors that would be 400 2ghz processors, or 800Ghz of processing power. In reality, google likely has far more servers with more, faster processors per server. Anyway, that is just a basic explanation of how google searches so fast. Hopefully another memmber will have another link to a better explanation.
Originally posted by dlublink
Even if an entire page could be searched in one clock cycle(which it can't be), the fastest servers I have seen are 3 gigagherts. At one page per cycle that google.com would need 8 gigahertz.
afaik (and this is both rough and from memory)
Thankfully, that's not how it works. Pages don't get searched when you search, instead when pages are added, hashes of strings on the page are stored, and that's what is searched. Searching actual pages would be far too slow (impossibly slow), although it would mean wildcard searches would possible, something google (and other search engines) can't do.