Google Releases First Public Search Update Preview: "Caffeine" Update

Aug 11, 2009 • 9:02 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Normally, when we discuss Google updates, they are done without confirmation from Google. The search results on shift around, webmasters take notice and the update is named. Sometimes, Google confirms the major update and sometimes not. But never do we have Google create a sandbox (preview) area for us to test the update prior to it reaching the main results. At least, not until today.

Google has announced the "Caffeine" update and gave us a sandbox environment to play with it at

You won't notice much of a visual difference, but you may notice ranking differences between the live results and this sandbox area. Here is what Google said about this update:

For the last several months, a large team of Googlers has been working on a secret project: a next-generation architecture for Google's web search. It's the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions. The new infrastructure sits "under the hood" of Google's search engine, which means that most users won't notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we're opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback.

Google wants your feedback on these results. To give it "do a search at and look on the search results page for a link at the bottom of the page that says "Dissatisfied? Help us improve." Click on that link, type your feedback in the text box and then include the word caffeine somewhere in the text box."

Matt Cutts of Google posted some more details and Vanessa Fox at Search Engine Land added her perspective. Plus you can see more commentary at Techmeme.

Again, this makes history in that Google has never released a public preview of such an algorithm, index and infrastructure update to their search updates.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and DigitalPoint Forums.

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Tanner Christensen

08/11/2009 01:33 pm

Thanks for the update! Apart from results loading faster (though not extremely noticeable), I don't much else that is different. Will be interesting to see how marketers and developers react when/if these changes to live.


08/11/2009 01:40 pm

Google have been doing this a lot lately with all of their products. They seem to be taking more user feedback into their development process across the board.

Jaan Kanellis

08/11/2009 03:17 pm

Looks like they are trying for a more real-time search feel.


08/11/2009 03:36 pm

A lot of cache links are missing from the SERPs...indicating that Google are doing real-time indexing of documents. There are also a few really bad redirects listed that should be removed.

Eric Katz

08/12/2009 06:31 am

Alot of links I searched for are really dated (noticable via old titles) I am not sure what that means but it seems one of my sites is looking very poorly on the sandbox for targeted keywords and I think it has something to do with the dated information its pulling.

Nick Stamoulis

08/13/2009 05:09 pm

This will be perfect for those who really want to see value from their social marketing efforts.

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