Google Jolts Search with Fresher Results with Caffeine
By Brennon Slattery
PCWorldJun 9, 2010 7:47 am PDT
Google search results are now fresher and faster, according the company that just gave its search indexing technology a jolt of Caffeine. On Tuesday Google announced an overhaul of its search indexing technology that it calls Caffeine.
Google claims Caffeine delivers 50 percent fresher search results. Google also notes that Caffeine signifies the “largest collection of web content we’ve offered.” Caffeine is an under-the-hood alteration — not an app — that you won’t see, and can’t drink, but should feel.
How Fast is Fast?
Prior to Caffeine, Google’s search index worked in batch processes. It’d sop up a site’s data and add it to the index. “While this system was continuous, all the documents in the batch had to wait until the whole batch was processed to be pushed live. Now, when Google crawls a page, it processes that page through the entire indexing pipeline and pushes it live nearly instantly,” Search Engine Land explained.
In terms of actual zoom, PCWorld conducted a side-by-side comparison test when Caffeine was still in development and found that results took 0.15 seconds on the regular Google search and 0.09 seconds on Caffeine. Since Caffeine is now live across all data centers, regions, and languages, it’s hard to gauge the increase in speed.
How Big is Big?
“Caffeine takes up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage in one database and adds new information at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day. You would need 625,000 of the largest iPods to store that much information; if these were stacked end-to-end they would go for more than 40 miles,” according to Carrie Grimes, a Google software engineer. That would put you back $155,625,000 (but with free shipping!).
The Impetus for Change
Because the Web has become so multifaceted and our expectations for the freshest results have risen, Google adapted to the evolution — a fish that walks. “Content on the web is blossoming. It’s growing not just in size and numbers but with the advent of video, images, news and real-time updates, the average webpage is richer and more complex,” Grimes wrote.
Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, told ITWorld that our demands amplified from our collective need for the latest news about the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Google built Caffeine with “the future in mind” — as always. Google is dedicated to progression, improving not only its origins in search but creating innovativeproducts. “So stay tuned, and look for more improvements in the months to come,” Grimes wrote. Will do!