When discussing the federal appropriations process, Everett Dirksen, a former United States senator from Illinois, is reported to have quipped, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon we're talking real money."

I was reminded of the quote because the other day I came across an article discussing a new Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) patent called "Multiple Index Based Information Retrieval System." A reading of it suggests the company might soon be within reach of expanding the index of Web pages it can retrieve to well over 100 billion.

At present, it isn't known precisely how many Web pages Google has in its index, but I have seen estimates as high as 25 billion. It is an impressive number, to be sure, but with more than 200 billion pages on the Internet (and growing), even Google is capturing only a limited portion of the available information.

The patent, which claims the "capability to index an extremely large number of documents, on the order of a hundred billion or more," could change this.

The patent further states that the technology will allow Google users to search for documents within a specific range of dates and allow "date or version related relevance information to be used in evaluating documents in response to a search query and in organizing search results."

The bottom line is that the patent suggests Google is not only adding to its ability to expand its index size, but it is also continuing its work to improve document analysis, document annotation, and its process for ranking information.

The company's search capacity has already grown 1,000-fold in the past decade -- from indexing 24 million pages just 10 years ago to 25 billion in 2006 -- and it is now poised to add to that number by a factor of four.

I am not entirely sure what all this means, but I get the sense that with the addition of a few billion Web pages here and a few billion Web pages there, pretty soon we'll be talking about some real Internet search capabilities. This is good news for Google and not-so-good news for other search engine competitors such as Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) MSN Search, and IAC/InterActiveCorp's (NASDAQ:IACI) Ask.com.

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A billion seconds ago, Fool contributor Jack Uldrich was just 12 years old. He owns stock in Google. The Fool has a strict disclosure policy.