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By GCN Staff

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Google GFE spreads like wildfire

Netcraft just released its most recent Netcraft Web Server Survey and, as usual, it is a two-horse race, between the open-source
Apache Web server and Microsoft IIS. Other Web servers are pretty much statistical noise, market-share-wise.

But wait! There's a new line on the graph for server market share, and its hopping like a Mexican jumping bean! It's something called "Google GFE," which was behind an astounding 8,555,391 Web domains, or about 9.5 percent of all the domains in the world.

What is GFE?

Not much information is publicly available on GFE. GFE was a point of sizable speculation earlier this year on the now defunct Threadwatch blog. Even a Google search doesn't reveal much.

Weird, huh?

Good thing Netcraft delved a bit into GFE in an earlier survey, issued last May.

Standing for Google Front End, GFE is a modified version of Apache.

"Google customizes its [W]eb infrastructure, with in-house solutions for software and hardware, including energy-efficient servers and power supplies. GFE is the server found on Blogger sites at blogspot.com, while Google uses GWS (Google Web Server) on some other services, although none with the volume of hostnames seen at Blogger," the report stated.

Back then, GFE hosted a mere 2.7 million hostnames, or 2.3 percent of all sites.

Now, there are more than three times as many GFE-run hostnames running than were running six months ago.

Netcraft attributes this tremendous growth to Google Blogger. Indeed the dramatic growth of Web hosts overall has come thanks to how blogging sites offer customized subdomains for each new account.

Still, what is remarkable here is that, like California forest fires so large that they can be seen from space, Google's presence can now be visibly measured against the size of its host organism, namely the entire Internet.

Pretty impressive, and maybe a little bit worrying. Certainly Google's growing presence has been witnessed in business, the public sphere and in government.

Tip o' the hat: Jeff Cole.

Posted by Joab Jackson on Jan 03, 2008 at 9:39 AM


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