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On Monday Google did something out of character by announcing a pre-release viewing of a major update to their algorithm they nicknamed Caffeine:

For the last several months, a large team of Googlers has been working on a secret project: a next-generation architecture for Google’s web search. It’s the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions. The new infrastructure sits “under the hood” of Google’s search engine, which means that most users won’t notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we’re opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback.

The sandbox URL for the new update is http://www2.sandbox.google.com – Check it out and see if you notice any difference with your rankings. Please post any interesting findings as a comment on this article.

So, this article would not be complete if I didn’t include Matt Cutt’s take on the Caffeine update. WebProNews’ Mike McDonald conducted a video interview with Matt Cutts a day after the news on Caffeine broke.

Reasonable Assumptions

  • Google is releasing this update to elicit user feedback, in part, to prevent another Florida Update debacle; where a landslide of algorithmic changes near the Christmas season caused an outcry from website owners.
  • As Matt said the update will be rolled out slowly which, from a website owner’s perspective, could be good news. After all, a measured roll-out can make it easier to determine the ranking factors that change and will allow you to adapt if need be.
  • The tone of Matt’s interview suggests there will be some targeted fallout. For example, he noted “if you have good architecture you will not have to worry about Caffeine”…

Look out for some future posts where I will link to various findings from myself and others who are testing the new architecture.

by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.
Increasing the bottom line online for businesses since 1997