The most tantalizing aspect of this is the notion of a "fast index", perhaps in-memory on many servers, dedicated to indexing (and computing authority or PageRank) for rapidly moving content like Digg and YouTube video honors. In general, with twitter bubbling, the notion of real time search is focusing the industry on one of Google's key relevance metrics, freshness.
As I've been compiling my thoughts on this, I created a nifty Prezi with some observations on Jeff Dean's content.
Some 10 years ago, Google had to flip indexes to accomplish updates. This is described as happening on a per machine basis. We've seen increases in the speed of updates but recently the degree to which Google is paying attention to fast moving social media suggests an revolutionary speedup.
Jeff's talks hint at some of the mechanisms.
Take AwayI'm still pretty early in assessing the impact of a new understanding of the underlying mechanisms, but I'll offer one hypothesis: Google is now capable of detecting the duration a link lives on a "hot list" like Digg's upcoming page. This means a successful social media promotion can have a much greater effect than simple social media participation.
We see the amount of diggs affect how long it takes for a Digg permalink page fall out of the top rankings. It's likely that the anchor text, or title of the Digg, is added to the index record for the page -- So pick your social media link text very carefully. It's also likely the thing that has the biggest impact on the long term effect of social media promotion.
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