In the ongoing search engine war, one field of battle has been removed: size.
Google has decided to stop posting the size of its search index, acknowledging that there's no agreed-upon method of measuring the data.
The move follows Yahoo's claim last month that its search engine index as Google's.
But Google isn't giving up its boast of bigness: CEO Eric Schmidt said in an interview that "in terms of unduplicated pages our index is now three times larger than any other search engine."
The announcement produced a rash of fairly predictable "size matters" jokes (present company included). But most commenters agreed that relevance really is more important than size.
"They're admitting that size of index is a stupid measure (especially since no one agrees on how to measure it), saying they're going to drop the index count that they've always had on the front page... but, at the same time, pulling a last minute 'but, really, we're bigger... nyah, nyah, nyah' sort of move."
"It's clear that this is a response to Yahoo's earlier announcement on index size. To pretend otherwise is naive. Second, by refusing to count anymore, Google is forcing the debate back to relevance, where, honestly, it really belongs."
--John Battelle's Searchblog
"Yes, this is the long expected counterblow to Yahoo's claim last month to have outdistanced Google. However, dropping the home page count is a positive move that I think helps defuse the entire size wars situation. That's because it divorces the notion of page counting as a way to 'prove' comprehensiveness, a move long overdue for the industry to make."
--Search Engine Watch
"Both companies are basically saying, 'We're big, but its about more than that'. They're right. The proof lies beyond the search box, not with some text below it."