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My guess is that Google's index is getting bigger as they index more 'dynamic' looking content.
BTW: Google numbers may differ from place to place. I've even seen different numbers for the same search on different PC's in the same building! But now I've seen something even more strange.
Search for www:
In Opera AND from Google's toolbar in IE I get 971,000,000 results.
From the Google website in IE I catch 32,700,000
Strange! What about a test?
Send in your numbers, location and browser/tool.
There's been a change however. It used to be that you got the exact same search results, no matter which stopword you used - it was like a search with no filter/term. Now however, a single word stop word is searched for, so that searching for "the" is different to searching for "and". (of course, I didn't use quotes in the search, but the results are similar to using quotes on stop-words to get them included.