February 22, 2007
Pigeon Clusters (PCs)
According to this Google press release, they use pigeon clusters (PCs) to "compute the relative value of web pages faster than human editors or machine-based algorithms."
This is called "Pigeon Rank", and here's how it works:
"When a search query is submitted to Google, it is routed to a data coop where monitors flash result pages at blazing speeds. When a relevant result is observed by one of the pigeons in the cluster, it strikes a rubber-coated steel bar with its beak, which assigns the page a PigeonRank value of one. For each peck, the PigeonRank increases. Those pages receiving the most pecks, are returned at the top of the user's results page with the other results displayed in pecking order."
Read the press release for more details. Google assures us that the pigeons are well treated in their data coops and have adequate beak rooms for their convenience.
Thanks to tp for the heads up on this technology; I believe he found it through this terrific 2 page Google cheat sheet (pdf version) from adelaider.com.