August Google announced a major updating of their search engine infrastructure called Caffeine. The actual launch date has not been announced but it can be viewed at:

http://www2.sandbox.google.com/

Unlike other Google updates this is being flagged well in advance and everyone has the opportunity to comment. The timing would appear to be genuine as it was a bit of a spoiler for the big news of the Bing and Yahoo deal at the end of July. There is no question that this is a major update for Google that will lay the foundations of how Google will be developing in the next few years.

This update looks like how Google will approach the Web as it grows in size and complexity. The challenge for all search engines will be to improve indexing speed, scale and relevancy as social media grows at a astonishing rate. I have had a play with it and the impression is very good so far. I don’t think most users will notice a big difference immediately but this is what I have picked up so far.

Having run a few basic test the Google Caffeine is faster. I did a search on a451 and got the following results:

Caffeine – about 107,000 for a451. (0.12 seconds)
Existing Version about 93,000 for a451. (0.38 seconds)

That is three times faster and an increase in results.

Clearly there is still a lot of tweaking going on but we can expect that news, blogs and images will increase in relevancy in search results. This may explain the reason why there are more results in Caffeine. The blending of the results will also give Google an idea of how users are searching. It is possible that activity on a particular site such as FriendFeed may increase the weight that site is given.

Also interesting to see was that the results in Caffeine that the a451 Twitter appearing first and the a451 site second. This would indicate the importance Google may be giving to real time search. With both Twitter and Facebook launching real time search Google does need to respond.

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