I always wondered about the total number of hit in a Google search. The Google Operating System Blog explains the process in more detail; Google Finds Less Search Results.
The surprise to me was here:
“When you perform a search, the results are often displayed with the information: Results 1 – 10 of about XXXX. Google’s calculation of the total number of search results is an estimate. We understand that a ballpark figure is valuable, and by providing an estimate rather than an exact account, we can return quality search results faster.”
I’ve seen business plans based on that estimate. That it is;
- An estimate.
- Likely to radically change overnight.
is shocking. Just proves that you should never assume.