Meet the New Google. Not That Much Different from the Old Google.

Ok, so you big time search geeks are going to notice the changes in the new Google architecture. But the vast majority of people? Probably not so much. I know Google said the changes would only be noticeable to "power users" but since they don't always make announcements about what they're testing (or when algorithm updates occur), I thought there would be something more to this update. (Yes, I know this is an architecture and not *necessarily* algorithm.)

What you'll want to know that there is a slight de-emphasis on Wikipedia (by about 1 ranking on several searches), which should make many SEOs happy. There's also a noticeable demotion of universal search, but that could change with use by testers, so keep an eye on it.

It is faster - many times over twice as fast, but this could be the result of using a smaller data set for the preview. Also, whenever it's faster, there are far fewer pages indexed, further suggesting the smaller data set theory.

The new Google also leaves out the icons for commenting, promoting, and removing results, but those are only available when you're signed in anyway.

On the flip side, there's some switch-up of the top ten, which can be frustrating. But that's all in a day's work for the average SEO. (I've watched sites shift around in the SERPs in a single day.)

Check out these comparison searches below. Click on an image to enlarge. Old Google on the left, New Google on the right.

Mobile Phones:

News stays. Brands switch up. Shopping and Books results on old Google noticeably missing from New Google.

oldvnewgoogmobilephones081009.png

New York Yankees:

Wikipedia gets demoted in new Google. YouTube, Book, and Image results are killed.

oldvnewgoogyankees01009.png

Baseball scores are one thing, but I wanted to see how the new Google treated real-time search. So I chose a trending topic on Twitter, the Teen Choice Awards which aired Monday night.

Teen Choice Awards

Video results get pushed up, but no new emphasis on real-time search, such as Tweets. Blog results get nixed.

oldvnewgoogtca081109.png

The new Google is so, er, familiar, that you have to wonder if it's just a fake punt in a pre-season NFL game (eh, hmm, A.J. Trapasso). This will keep SEOs (and YaBing) busy trying to figure out what's changed. We'll be reviewing the tape and prepping the playbooks, but is it all just smoke and mirrors?

Matt Cutts says no and that this is mostly just code-based. But he also said that code changes all the time at Google, so why the announcement? Why the developer preview? They couldn't test any of this the way they experiment with everything else?

Additionally, Google wants feedback on whether the results are different. The cynic in me just has to wonder if this isn't just part (or wholly) distraction.

It wouldn't be the first time.

Google Wave was unveiled the same day as Microsoft made their Bing announcement. It was also released to a developer preview and is thus far not living up to its own hype. Plus, they pushed Google Squared out soon after Wolfram Alpha launched, despite the obvious reality that it's not ready for prime time.

What Google's intentions are with the new architecture, they're being as cryptic as ever. You can hardly blame the company, when they need to keep proprietary secrets, but with such subtle changes, you have to wonder what (if anything?) is really going on here.