Google's new search index Caffeine goes live

After a year of testing Google is ready to roll out a fundamental shift in the way it indexes the Web in hopes of improving the speed at which it indexes pages.

Google Caffeine search index
Google's new Caffeine search index will crawl the Web more frequently and in smaller bites in hopes of amassing Web content more quickly and comprehensively than before. Google

Google has finally released the awaited update to its search indexing technology, providing a jolt of Caffeine to the search industry.

The company announced the release of its Caffeine indexing technology--which it has been testing for almost a year--in a blog post late Tuesday evening. "Caffeine provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than our last index, and it's the largest collection of web content we've offered. Whether it's a news story, a blog or a forum post, you can now find links to relevant content much sooner after it is published than was possible ever before," the company said in a blog post.

Google started testing Caffeine in August 2009 , and search guru Matt Cutts said in November to expect the new system to go live "after the holidays," although it didn't sound like he had meant Memorial Day. At the time, Google said the new index would be the most significant change it has made to the basic technology that crawls the Internet and ranks Web pages since 2006.

Speed and comprehensiveness were the goals of the new project. Google said a new system was required to keep up with an explosion in Web content over the last couple of years with the advent of blogs, videos, and social-media technologies coming online. Google will update its index more frequently with Caffeine than it did with the old system and will bite off smaller portions of the Web at a time rather than re-indexing the entire Web to refresh the index.

"We've built Caffeine with the future in mind. Not only is it fresher, it's a robust foundation that makes it possible for us to build an even faster and comprehensive search engine that scales with the growth of information online, and delivers even more relevant search results to you," software engineer Carrie Grimes said in the post.

Please let us know if you notice any significant difference in your search results over the next several weeks. It's not clear whether Google simply flipped a switch and brought the entire system online Tuesday evening or plans to roll it out gradually as it usually does with major changes.

About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

     

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