Obviously, the news of the day is the launch of Google’s new web indexing system, Caffeine. According to Google, the new index provides “50% fresher results for web searches”.
On top of that the company claims that it’s the largest collection of web content it has offered. More sources, more content, more speed and thus more real-time. And Caffeine really is about real-time. When checking the official blog post you don’t have to read between the lines to understand that with Caffeine the company tries to catch up with the real-time demands and possibilities social media have brought upon us and thus the expectations today’s online users have regarding search. An analysis.
For search engine marketing professionals, Caffeine is probably great news but is Google really innovating that much here or is it responding to the increasing use of social networks, that enable people to connect with other people, businesses and…content?
New ways of finding and organizing online content
Having your online content and thus web site or blog found in a relevant environment and context is still key in search and with new inbound media such as all the social networks, people have new ways to find information, content, web sites and so on.
And, although Google still is the main search engine, it is confronted with two challenges.
The first one is Bing. It must have hurt Google to learn that, according to comScore, it lost 1% in search queries while Bing, has been growing. OK, it’s just a small percentage but I bet it’s a big one for both search engines.
The second challenge is the social Web and, more specifically, Facebook (although Twitter, Google’s own YouTube, etc. obviously also play a role).
But Facebook’s attempt to introduce a new way to organize online content with it’s “Like” button (and all the negative buzz it got regarding privacy) was more than just the introduction of a nice “feature”. It was about revenues, domination of the online world and the ownership of the online user, as I explained here on another blog. It was a declaration of war and Google knows it. The social network challenge
On top of that, Facebook and other social networks are increasingly used by people to search online content. The underlying evolution, according to me, is that there is a shift from searching to finding, aggregating, controlling and “stumbling upon” as in, well, StumbleUpon.
Yesterday’s announcement by Hitwise that now also in the UK social networks generate more traffic than search engines is another signal.
I must add that regarding search, Hitwise found that Google accounted for 90% of web searches and that Google still is the most visited site (when combined, social networks receive more traffic, of course again with Facebook as the absolute king).
Although the real-time nature the Web has these days is key, there is more to Caffeine than just social. The new indexing system serves all content faster after it has been crawled.
Who will benefit most from Caffeine?
Besides probably Google itself, obviously the searcher and most of all those that own and produce content. And they have to do nothing in return.
The first ones that thoroughly tested the impact of Caffeine are the people at Mashable. The reason is obvious: Mashable is all about massive traffic and “hot news” and you bet Google knows how to find the big “influencers” in the technology and interactive marketing space.
You can read the detailed test by Mashable here and if that’s not enough Caffeine for one day, you can watch and hear Matt Cutts, who recently was in Brussels for an event and in The Netherlands (more about that later), announce Caffeine in the video below.
The folks at searchengineland had that scoop at SMX Advanced Seattle 2010 and uploaded Cutts’ “story of Caffeine”