Google Caffeine: Google's Next Gen Search Architecture Went Live
Article by George Norman
On 14 Jun 2010
Remember that back in August 2009, Google was issuing out invites to web developers and power searchers to test its new web search architecture as part of a web developer preview, commonly referred to as the Caffeine update.? Well, things have moved well beyond the testing phase – Google has recently announced that Caffeine is now live and up and running. The next generation architecture for Google’s web search is now live.

“We’re announcing the completion of a new web indexing system called Caffeine. 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,” said Carrie Grimes, Software Engineer.


If you’re curious to understand how Google works, a detailed explanation is available here . If you want the brief explanation, here goes: when you search for something, you don’t search the live web, you search Google’s index of the web.

According to Grimes, content on the web is blossoming. There are more webpages out there, not to mention that webpages are getting bigger and more complex. Computer users expect Google to provide them with relevant results in the least amount of time. On one hand you have users who want to easily and rapidly find the latest relevant content; on the other you have publishers who expect to be found the instant they publish something to the web. It was thus necessary to build a new search indexing system.

“With Caffeine, we analyze the web in small portions and update our search index on a continuous basis, globally. As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index. That means you can find fresher information than ever before—no matter when or where it was published,” added Carrie Grimes. “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.”

The image above displays how the old index worked and how the new index works. The old index had layers – the main layer would be refreshed every couple of weeks and in doing so the whole web was analyzed. This meant webpages were discovered a significant amount of time after they showed up online. Caffeine doesn’t work like that. Caffeine analyzes the web in small portions; the index is continually updated. As new pages are uncovered, they are immediately added to the index.

Tags: Google, Google Caffeine
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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