The number of areas around the world serving Google’s search network has grown from under 200 to over 1,400 between October 2012 and July 2013, according to research from the University of Southern California (USC).
At the same time, the number of internet service providers (ISPs) serving its search infrastructure soared from more than 100 to over 850.
“Over the past 10 months, Google search has dramatically increased the number of sites around the world from which it serves client queries, repurposing existing infrastructure to change the physical way that Google processes web searches,” said the study.
In addition, Google’s client infrastructure, which already delivers videos from YouTube, is now being re-used to hasten search requests and decrease the loading time of advertisements. In other words, the company’s huge content-hosting network is now also a search infrastructure.
In the past, search requests in Google were directly processed by an in-house data centre. Now, however, they are first relayed to the nearest regional network, which significantly reduces the loading time of search results.
Apart from lightning-fast searches, the surge in the number of locations serving Google’s network also enhances the browsing experience and reduces the operational expenses of internet service providers.
USC Professor Ethan Katz-Bassett commented that Google’s massive expansion is logical as slow response time leads to fewer searches, user attrition, and lost profits. It also addresses the main causes of slow internet speed.
The study was funded by the Cyber Security Division of the US Department of Homeland Security and the National Science Foundation.