Google just changed EVERYTHING about its search

Google just released one of its biggest updates in a long while. It's called "Caffeine," and it fundamentally changes the way Google performs searches. Before, Google saw the Internet as a series of layers, and explored it as if going through a stack of paper one piece at a time. So how about now?

Caffeine allows Google search to glean the Internet in chunks, according to the site's official blog: "With Caffeine, we analyze the Web in small portions and update our search index on a continuous basis, globally. As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index." Google's throwing around the idea that its search results are now "50% fresher," and that results are less dependent on where and when they were published on the Internet, as before. The company is pushing out the new system in the interest of improving real-time results, which include data from Twitter and the like.

The new system represents a fundamental change in how Google goes about its business, but one thing hasn't changed — the staggering amount of data Google sifts through. We'll leave you with this to ponder:

If this were a pile of paper it would grow three miles taller every second. Caffeine takes up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage in one database and adds new information at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day. You would need 625,000 of the largest iPods to store that much information; if these were stacked end to end they would go for more than 40 miles.

Google Blog, via Fast Company