Google unveiled a major upgrade to their search engine today. Codenamed "Caffeine", the new search engine improves the index size, the speed of the queries and most importantly, changes the value of search engine rankings.
In a post today on their Webmaster Central Blog, Google notified the world that the next Google search engine was ready for testing.
I've been playing with the new website for a few hours. My first impressions have been pretty good. Search results in both new and old Google come back lightning quick. I have to take Google's word on the fact that the new search engine is a few milliseconds quicker on almost every search I did (one tie).
I also have to take their word on numbers of results. I am seeing sometimes as many as 10 times the search results in the new Google. I'll assume Google knows how many results it has. Interestingly when I did a search for things like "Online pharmacy", the new Google returned fewer results than the old one. This tells me that the new Google is smarter at finding fake websites and de-indexing them
The results are what makes Google so popular and will be the true test of how good this new engine is. In my tests, the new Google pulls significantly different results than the old Google. For what I was searching for (my name, people I knew, events, computer hardware) the results were significantly better. In fact, it looks like the search keywords have become much bigger a factor than before. I'm seeing smaller sites rise to the top more overall.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists are going to have to go on a whole new formula for getting their clients to the top...and who knows exactly how this new Google search algorithm works? SEO people are going to have to start nailing down the new rules to Pagerank to keep their customers on top.
Finally, how does it compare to Bing?
Not too bad in my tests. It is certainly faster as well. I've been a Google person for the last 6 years and I am not seeing anything bad in the new Google or good in the new Bing that will change that.
Speaking of making a difference, it would be nice if some developer would add this new search to the Safari/Firefox browser search bars. That would really boost my testing capabilities. Any takers?