Tonight the official Google Webmaster Central blog (and Matt Cutts) announced the release of “caffeine” for testing in the Google sandbox. Caffeine is deemed by Cutts and his fellow bloggers at the Webmaster Central blog as “the next generation of search” and aims to “push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions”.
How Do Search Results Differ
On first blush, the search results are only slightly different. For instance, a search for “search mojo” today in Google yields the following results:
And the same search in the “caffeine” test:
The differences appear fairly minor, although I find them (and maybe this is biased…) a bit more relevant.
The most interesting difference I saw immediately was that the “Caffeine” result highly ranked a page on our website featuring our webinars (http://www.search-mojo.com/webinar). This is a page we have only recently launched this summer and have not really actively promoted via SEO but rather through social media, including Twitter and Facebook, and press releases (via PRWeb). In the current Google search, this page does not rank in the top 100 results, but in the “Caffeine” results, it ranks 7. Additionally, our Facebook page, which currently ranks at 11, ranks at #5 in “Caffeine”. This preliminary view leads me to believe that Google is attempting to incorporate more social media information into how it ranks sites.
I think that we, along with many others in the SEO community, have expected this marriage of Google results and some social media influence for some time. With all of the recent conversation around “real-time search”, Google has to adapt and incorporate more social media or die. The news of Michael Jackson’s death was broken and spread like wildfire on Twitter and Facebook. But Google’s delayed bot couldn’t move as fast as word of mouth marketing via Twitter and Facebook. In order to survive in search long term (especially around news), Google had to begin to adapt.
Want to try it out and give Google some feedback on it? Go to http://www2.sandbox.google.com/ and try it out. To provide feedback, click on the “Dissatisfied?” link at the bottom of the page and include the word “caffeine” in your response.