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Google doubles search index

Searchers will now have access to a larger number of possible matches.

Google has doubled the number of Web pages it indexes from 4 billion to about 8 billion, according to a posting on the company's Web site.

The increase, announced Wednesday, means Google searchers will now have access to a much larger number of possible matches for queries.

The shift comes as Google faces increasing competition from rivals including Microsoft, which unveiled a test version of a search engine for its MSN Web portal on Thursday.