Google has been the most popular search engine on the Internet for some time but due to increasing competition from Yahoo, Microsoft and a large number of smaller localised search engines, the company has had to continue expanding its reach by indexing previously unavailable Web content.
A Google spokesperson told ZDNet Australia that the company's Web page index recently passed the eight billion page mark, but now Web users also have access to more than one billion images.
"A billion images is a milestone for us. We now have nearly 1.2 billion images in our image index. We have brought the main index up to 8 billion but this is specifically related to images -- we have found a whole load of new images on the web and expanded our comprehensiveness on that front," the spokesperson said.
In the past, Google has not only expanded its content indexes but also published material that was not previously available on the Web.
In January the company launched a prototype of Google Video, which is an engine that lets people search over the text of TV shows. Immediately, the service will scour programming from PBS, Fox News, C-SPAN, ABC, and the NBA, among others, making broadcasts searchable the same day.
Craig Silverstein, director of technology at Google and the company's first official employee, explained that the company's long term policy is to index content that is already published but also make previously unsearchable content -- such as paper catalogues -- available online.
"We took a bunch of mail order catalogues, many of which are not online because they are very small. We converted them to text and made them searchable. This information wasn't even available electronically but now you can search it and we are hoping to get more of that type of information available," said Silverstein.