Google Rolls Out New Search Infrastructure - InformationWeek

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Google Rolls Out New Search Infrastructure

The changes are taking place behind the scenes, in Google's data centers, to solve a couple of problems. One has to do with Google's search engine determining the correct domain name of any given site after a user types in just a portion of the name.

Google Inc. has begun a steady rollout of "Bigdaddy," a new infrastructure for Google Web search that will eventually be in all of the company's data centers.

The Mountain View, Calif., search engine recently converted a third data center to Bigdaddy, and hopes to switch over a new one every 10 days or so, Google senior engineer Matt Cutts wrote in his blog.

"Take this as a rule of thumb," Cutts said of the timeline. "There are smart folks doing this transition, and they're deciding how to do it in the best way."

Google was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

The biggest problems Google plans to fix with Bigdaddy are hijacking redirects of URLs and what Google calls "canonicalization."

The latter refers to a search engine determining the preferred domain name of a site. Web sites regularly have multiple domain names, but only one is the actual name. For example, www.techweb.com or just techweb.com will get you to the CMP Media tech site. However, the former is the actual domain name.

Because it's difficult for search engines to figure out that multiple names are for the same site, results often include multiple listings, when only one would do.

Hijacking refers to someone redirecting to his Web site, a request for another site. URLs for sites constantly change for a variety of reasons, including people getting new domain names, a site reorganization or a new content delivery system. Because many visitors will continue to use the old URL, Webmasters will set up a server-side redirect so the old URL points to the new one. Hijackers are sometimes able to intervene, and steer the traffic to their own sites.

Bigdaddy is also expected to help reduce Webspam, which are pages comprised of advertisements and links to other sites that contain mostly ads. The pages, which often appear in search results, pretend to provide assistance or facts about a particular subject.

Beyond addressing those problems, the changes by Bigdaddy, which is the nickname of a Webmaster who attended a meeting at Google's headquarters, are "relatively subtle," Cutts said in his blog. They are less about ranking and more about infrastructure.

"Most of the changes are under the hood, and this infrastructure prepares the framework for future improvements throughout the year," Cutts said.

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