As you might recall, Microsoft has recently unveiled their new search engine, Bing. And with the recent announcement that Microsoft's Bing is going to soon power the Yahoo organic search results, Google needed to do something to keep their market share of search.
Google has unveiled a new test version of their search engine, which is being called "Caffeine". This is being touted as the "next generation of search".
Google's Matt Cutts said, on the Google Webmaster Central blog that they're very interested in feedback:"Right now, we only want feedback on the differences between Google's current search results and our new system. We're also interested in higher-level feedback ("These types of sites seem to rank better or worse in the new system") in addition to "This specific site should or shouldn't rank for this query." Engineers will be reading the feedback, but we won't have the cycles to send replies."
By letting the public test the new version of Google search (which is noticeably without the Google AdWords ads), Google is able to use the public as their reviewers: and typically Google's best critics will reveal issues that need to be addressed. If you are testing out the new version of Google, and you find a search result that is not to your liking, there is a "Dissatisfied? Help us improve" link at the bottom of the search results page.
What is different between the old version of Google (what we currently see at www.google.com) and this new "Google Caffeine" version of Google? Some are saying that this new version is much faster than the older version of Google. Mashable's conclusion is that "This search is not only faster, but in some instances in our few tests, seems more capable of producing real-time results."
One of the claims of Google Caffeine is that it does a better job at including recent search results. Let's take a look at a recent search phrase, one that Google most likely would not have indexed a few days ago, and look compare the results. One of the "trending topics" on Twitter as I write this is "RIP Eunice Kennedy". So, let's use this keyword phrase as a test.
On Google Caffeine there appears to be a search result that was indexed 25 minutes ago. Google does not typically show a "cached" version of recent search results.
And on the "normal" Google search results, the search results appear to be almost exactly the same:
In fact, what is interesting is that both versions of Google are currently indexing Twitter statuses from one hour ago or even sooner. I honestly expected that this new Google Caffeine version would be indexing Twitter statuses much faster than one hour ago. So, let's see if this is the case. I searched for this phrase on both Google Caffeine and on the "normal" Google: [site:twitter.com "RIP Eunice Kennedy"”.
Google Caffeine is not indexing as many web pages as the "normal" Google search, while the timeliness of the search results appears to be about the same. There are "tweets" from Twitter.com that show up in the Google search results (on both the Caffeine and on Google.com) as quickly as 10 minutes ago. A quick test on another trending topic on Twitter reveals the same results on both, a search for this shows Google is about 21 minutes behind: [site:twitter.com "Social Media Pillows"”
What about comprehensiveness? I have tested many searches with on both Google Caffeine and on Google.com and am not noticing any better indexing (or indexing of more pages) on several websites I have tested. I used the "site:" command on both and found that on some searches Google Caffeine is indexing more pages.
But on other "site:" searches, there are more pages indexed on Google.com. So, I'm not convinced (yet) that this new Google Caffeine is more comprehensive. In fact, the old Google.com has more pages indexed on Twitter (site:twitter.com) than Google Caffeine.
What about relevancy? I tested several search results, including those that included city names and specific "local searches" and I'm not seeing much of a difference at this time. So, the jury is still out: Google Caffeine appears to be faster than "old Google", but the other changes that have been made to Google Caffeine are not really that noticeable.