A friend of mine sent me this article  which isn't bad, but is kinda long for what it's trying to say.
Mostly it drew my attention to the types of algorithms that google uses for it's large scale processing. They're based on MapReduce  which is fascinating in and of itself, but also of Hadoop  which is google's open source java implementation of a MapReduce. Eventually I made it to  which looks like it's a fascinating read. I almost got stuck in a wikipedia feedback loop  but managed to escape by realizing that I should print and read the research paper instead of continuing.
 - http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_52/b4064048925836_page_4.htm
 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MapReduce
 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadoop
 - http://labs.google.com/papers/mapreduce.html
 - http://xkcd.com/214/