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Google web search given shot of Caffeine

Developers urged to look for fish in the percolator

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Google has lifted the lid on the next-generation web search architecture it’s been quietly working on for the past few months.

Mountain View is opening up a web preview of the new search functionality and design it has been building, that carries the moniker “Caffeine”.

It said the new code would help the company “push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions.”

Of course, some might also deduce from such a statement that the search giant is responding to its rivals Microsoft and Yahoo!, whose relationship is now a little more entwined than the pre-Bing days of yore and Yang.

The firm said pleb users wouldn’t notice anything different as the new infrastructure sits “under the hood” of Google’s search engine.

But, to address the curiosity of web developers and, er, “power searchers”, the company has spun out a preview of the yet to be completed system, in order to grab feedback before going fully live with Caffeine.

Don’t expect anything new about the UI, however. This preview is all about testing the search engine’s new underbelly.

“Right now, we only want feedback on the differences between Google's current search results and our new system,” said Mountain View engineers Sitaram Iyer and Matt Cutts in a blog post penned yesterday.

“We're also interested in higher-level feedback (‘These types of sites seem to rank better or worse in the new system’) in addition to ‘This specific site should or shouldn't rank for this query.’ Engineers will be reading the feedback, but we won't have the cycles to send replies.”

In a separate post, Cutts also rejected suggestions that Google was merely responding to its competitors by administering its Caffeine injection to its ubiquitous web search tool.

“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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