The war between Google and Bing has been raging for sometime now, and we've all been waiting to see when Google would finally respond to Microsoft's new “decision engine”. That day has come with the launch of the developer version of Caffeine, a next-generation search infrastructure built by Google to enhance the quality of their search results.
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Google calls this the 'first step' in increasing the size, indexing speed, and accuracy of their search engine. This is not a UI change; Caffeine will do its work on a non-visible layer. Most users won't notice any difference in their daily use of the engine. Google is relying on web developers and power users to put Caffeine through its paces. If you're feeling adventurous, you can check out the developer preview here.
At this point, what Google wants is information on the differences between the current system and Caffeine, as well as feedback on which system users prefer. In order to do my part for Google, I took this new infrastructure upgrade out for a spin to see how I liked it.
The main difference between the search results appears to be that GIS results and video results show up much later on Caffeine than they do with the current version of Google. A Caffeine search for 'Benjamin Disraeli' started me off with a page of quotations, a Britannia biography, followed by several other results of quotations and biographies. A vanilla Google search gave me Disraeli's Wikipedia page first, followed by a biography, a quote page, and then GIS results and video results.
I also checked out results for the “Large Hadron Collider”. In addition to the lower priority given to images, Caffeine seems to give a higher priority to news results, giving more recent returns than the current engine. I didn't notice any other substantial differences, but I'll continue to test out Caffeine over the next week to see how I like it. If you'd like to do the same, please feel free to email us, or comment here with your opinions.