How Many Pages in Google? Take a Guess, from NY Times

[Google] said yesterday that it had phased in a larger index over the last four weeks. But rather than directly proclaiming that it had surpassed its archrival Yahoo, which last month claimed index supremacy, Google said it would ask Web surfers to decide for themselves.

Google’s chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, said the company would remove the current number from its home page (“Searching 8,168,684,336 Web pages,” it said yesterday) and instead ask users to guess the size of the new index.

I was hoping that SearchEngineWatch would have a count. Instead, Danny Sullivan wrote an excellent essay on why counting search engine indexes misses the point: End Of Size Wars? Google Says Most Comprehensive But Drops Home Page Count

In response, Yahoo issued a statement saying: “We congratulate Google on removing the index size number from its home page and recognizing that it is a meaningless number. As we’ve said in the past, what matters is that consumers find what they are looking for, and we invite Google users to compare their results to Yahoo Search.”

Well, not really. Yes, it’s important that users find what they’re looking for. But I would hope that’s not all that search engines have to offer. A good search engine should help users find what they don’t know they’re looking for, what they don’t know they want, what they don’t know exists. But of course there is a far better technology than search engines to do this.