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August 11, 2009

Google gives search a caffeine hit

Next gen tech hits back at Bing, Twitter, Facebook

By Steve Evans

Google has unveiled an update to its search technology that aims to increase the speed of indexing search result and create a larger pool of results.

The new architecture, codenamed caffeine, is available for web developers to test and although the homepage of the search engine looks the same, Google has significantly improved the “under the hood” technology to enable the company to, “push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions,” Staff Software Engineer Sitaram Iyer and principal engineer Matt Cutts said in a blog post.

Google is currently after feedback on the new technology before making it widely available.

Although Google is still the dominate force when it comes to online searches, the Mountain View giant has come under increasing pressure recently. Microsoft revamped its search engine in May this year, dropping Live Search in favour of Bing, said to offer faster and more relevant searches.

More recently, Microsoft and Yahoo, who currently site third and second respectively in the search market, announced a joint venture whereby Microsoft’s Bing engine will power searches on Yahoo’s site. The 10-year deal will see Yahoo sell ads on both sites and receive 88% of the revenue from all search ad sales on its sites for the first five years, something the company said would help boost its annual operating income by $500m.

Real-time search engines on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are also seen as a threat to Google as results can appear on the site almost instantly. Facebook’s acquisition of FriendFeed is expect to further improve its real-time search offering.

Writing on his personal blog, Cutts denied that competition in the market was behind this move. “I love competition in search and want lots of it, but this change has been in the works for months,” he said. “I think the best way for Google to do well in search is to continue what we’ve done for the last decade or so: focus relentlessly on pushing our search quality forward. Nobody cares more about search than Google, and I don’t think we’ll ever stop trying to improve.”

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