For those of us without programming knowledge, it’s difficult to comprehend the complexity of digital services. Do they require a handful of lines of code or millions? Whether you know the answer to that question or not, though, take a swing at how many lines of code make up every single Google service; it’s simultaneously impressive, and ridiculous.
The answer, for those who read along and those who skipped ahead, is two billion. That’s a thousand times more than the entirety of Jurassic Park’s fictional code base, but then they did have Nedry on their team.
It’s worth noting that Google does offer a lot of services and functions that weren’t available in 1993, the year Jurassic Park’s fictional coders hit the silver screen. These include: Gmail, Youtube, Documents, Maps, Drive, Earth and the search engine itself. Two billion lines of code.
This information was revealed by Google engineering manager Rachel Potvin at an @Scale engineering conference this week (via Wired). Potvin also unveiled a raft of related statistics, such as the fact that this codebase takes up 86 terabytes of storage space. Perhaps even more impressive, this code is always accessible to 95 per cent of Google engineers, or around 25,000 people.
Potvin also spent a bit of time putting into perspective just how big a codebase this is by pointing out that the entire Linux Kernel is made up of 15 million lines of code across 40,000 files. Potvin went on to point out that Google makes some 45,000 adjustments to its codebase every day.
Of course Google’s services are much more varied than your average operating system, but when an entire digital ecosystem is comparable to the number of changes Google makes to its services every day, you know you’re dealing with something rather large.
However, it’s also notable and commendable that so many Google employees have access to the codebase. This means that when crafting new projects or making adjustments to other services, they can draw from projects worked on by other people, or even copy over entire aspects of the code. This should further increase the security and usability of everything the firm develops.
Perhaps that’s why Povit explained that the changes Google makes to its services are increasing in rapidity, showing an ever-evolving landscape of digital platforms that are not only getting better, but getting better faster than ever before.