A few notes about the Google panel; the inital speaker was Craig Nevill-Manning, and then Evan Williams spoke a bit about Blogger. All quotes are approximate, and from memory.

Google indexes “the entire web” every 3-4 weeks, touching nearly 2.5 billion (or 4 billion, depending on when you listened) documents each run. There are over 100 factors that play into how Google determines the relative importance of text on a web page, including text size, link text, and proximity to other elements on the page (he didn’t say which elements, though).

Google’s infrastructure: Google uses consumer-level hard disks and “really cheap, unreliable memory.” (“If something fails, it’s not you, it’s probably the memory.”) They have around 10,000 commodity-level Linux computers set up in a parallel network (“the largest Linux cluster in the world”), and anticipate the death of “a few machines every day.” Their network is set up to be able to route around a failed machine instantly.

Google’s use data: As you’d expect, Google tracks all kinds of data about how people use their service. For instance, they track the use as a function of time per country; he showed a graph of Mexican use, and pointing to the drop in traffic around midday, surmised that it was because of the prevalence of siestas. Nevill-Manning also said a few words about TouchGraph GoogleBrowser, something I’ll have to play with a little bit later.

Google Labs: There are always a few cool projects going on at Google, many of which you can play with. A few mainstream products have come out of the Labs, such as Google News; Nevill-Manning talked a bit about Froogle, since he was one of the original developers on it. He claimed that it’s special because, “like Google itself, there aren’t any paid placements or preferential inclusion.” Instead, stores appear based on reputation, and he was overt in saying that reputation was mostly based on PageRank.

Blogger: Honestly, not much was said here. Evan Williams explained a small bit of what Google brings to Blogger; he didn’t speak much at all to what Blogger brings to Google.

Q&A: Google doesn’t have any plans for XSLT transformations for searches performed through their search API. Evan likes Google’s food, a lot. Google does usability testing on any and all platforms they can get their hands on, but doesn’t ascribe much importance or time to mobile platforms like cellphones and PDAs. The indexing engines are the same for every subsite of Google (e.g, the British site, the Spanish one, etc.). Google doesn’t currently have any plans for a news API (i.e., a way for other sites to grab a newsfeed from Google and display it on their own).