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Rich Skrenta: "It does seem that, no matter what you're trying to build, adding people into the mix seems to make the software better."
Und sowieso lesenswert von Ebenselbigem: How to beat Google, part 1, inkl. Kommentar von Mike Cafarella (who most certainly KnowsHisStuff when it comes to search): "I've never understood how Google can insist that their infrastructure costs are actually an impediment to any startup. Sure, it costs a lot to serve 200M queries a day, but 200M queries usually come with a lot of money attached."
My guess wrt/ Google's data center build-out is that they aren't doing that (at that scale) to speed up PageRank computation or index construction; instead, they're betting that one of their rather many Rather Smart Employees will come up with a PageRank equivalent (in terms of impact; it won't, necessarily, have anything to do with ranking per se or even search as we understand it today). If that newfangled thing turns out to be extremely resource-intensive, then it all makes sense ... if not, well, they have the money. (And of course having such massive processing power available in relatively easy-to-use packaging [MapReduce, Sawzall] makes experimentation as such much easier.)
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