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On Facebook and Google Plus you can see the original post, who posted it, when and all of the comments that follow. How do they save the posts, then load that data with php? XML Files?

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Google is most likely saving data into Big Table.

Bigtable is a distributed storage system for managing structured data that is designed to scale to a very large size: petabytes of data across thousands of commodity servers.

Facebook probably a similar nosql database, they load with AJAX

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