...in the old days the collected the data and then ran it.
There's nothing I've seen to say they aren't doing the same thing now.
They've said they're running Panda automatically on the front-end of rebuilding the index rather than "in addition to" an index rebuilding cycle, but that's all they've stated has changed.
So, basically, the Panda running schedule has been "bumped up" to whatever time period they rebuild any given portion of the index at, but that doesn't necessarily mean the data used or the time period of collection has changed, it just means when/how they run it is automated relative to any portion of index rebuilding rather than running Panda manually in addition to the current index rebuilding.
So, for example, if they used 3 months worth of data collection for running Panda separately, there's nothing I've seen to say they don't still use the previous 3 months worth of data collecting when Panda is run in front of an index portion rebuild. They could (likely imo) still use the same time period of data collection, but the data would "roll through" the portions of the index sooner for queries updated daily (or in real time) where it would "roll through" more slowly on portions of the index rebuilt less frequently.
News portions of the index are likely updated in near real time (QDF), so "now minus 30 days = Panda data", but "stale is better" searches may be updated less often, so "now minus 30 days" could seem to be based on something different, while still being based on the same time period of data collection.
9 years old, very well optimized
Could you please define your idea of "very well optimized"?
I ask because, "very well optimized" changes over time based on "changes to the rules" and what was "very well optimized" a few years ago isn't the same as "very well optimized" today, so I guess I'm wondering mostly if you have adapted to the changes in what "very well optimized" is over the years or if your site is still optimized like it's 2004 or 2008?
[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 1:55 am (utc) on May 28, 2013]