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What is Google Caffeine?

FAQ on Google's new search architecture

Google has unveiled Google Caffeine, a "next-generation architecture" for its web search platform. The retooled search engine is said to be faster, more accurate, and more comprehensive than the current Google search setup.

Google is by far the world's dominant search engine, so any change in its formula is bound to create plenty of questions. Here's a simple FAQ on Google's Caffeine - what it's all about, and what it means for you.

What is Google Caffeine?

Google Caffeine is a revamped version of Google's actual search engine - the code that finds your answers when you type in queries.

Where can use Google Caffeine?

Google has set up a web developer Google Caffeine preview that you can test at http://www2.sandbox.google.com/. That site only works on a regular web browser as of now; you can't test it via your mobile phone just yet.

What are Google Caffeine's new features?

Google caffeine questionsThe formula itself, in some ways, has changed. Google engineers have actually rewritten parts of the search engine's infrastructure.

Of course, Google isn't disclosing exactly what's been altered, but in a nutshell, search results show up faster and in a somewhat different order. The difference may or may not even be noticeable to you.

Will Google.com look different with Caffeine?

No. Caffeine is described as an "under the hood" update; it is not a change to the external Google user interface that you see.

How much faster is Google Caffeine?

We're talking fractions of seconds, but it's there. In our test search for "PC Advisor," for example, the results took 0.15 seconds on the regular Google search, and 0.09 seconds on Google Caffeine.

Is that all there is to it?

Pretty much. Google does say, however, that Caffeine isn't finished, and the code will change over the coming weeks.

So is this all happening because of the Microsoft-Yahoo deal?

It's easy to make that conclusion - after all, it was just days ago that Microsoft and Yahoo announced plans to form a search partnership. Google, though, insists the two events are completely unrelated. "This change has been in the works for months," Google software engineer Matt Cutts assures.

Doesn't Google's search algorithm often change?

Yes - in fact, some accounts suggest the code is tweaked on a daily or near-daily basis. The Google Caffeine update, presumably, is considered significant enough of a change to warrant more user testing before it is fully implemented; it's described by some as being the biggest infrastructure update to Google's search system in about three years.

How do I provide feedback to Google?

After you search for something on the Google Caffeine developer site, you'll see a link at the bottom of the page that says: "Dissatisfied? Help us improve." Click that link to send feedback.

See also:

PC World magazine US


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