tedster - 8:31 am on Aug 16, 2012 (gmt 0)
Things changed big time a few years ago but I didn't see it, and then google brought in Panda to magnify that change and now I see how different things really are.
I think my first glimpse of this "new world" came with the descriptions of the Caffeine infrastructure. It's not just the size and the speed that Google built here, but the outrageous flexibility that stunned me. This is not your daddy's database!
The Caffeine infrastructure created a foundation for outrageous data mining and machine learning - way beyond other data monsters and machine learning, like IBM's Watson. For those that have the stomach for some in-depth tech, I strongly suggest digging into some of the key background. This begins in 2003 - before Caffeine got its name, but when there was already a call for 100x more scalability at Google:
Google File System Eval: Part I [storagemojo.com]
Google File System Eval: Part II [storagemojo.com]
...and our thread:
Google Updates and SERP Changes - October 2009 [webmasterworld.com]