Google Caffeine Update

Caffeine is the name given to a Google update in June 2010. It relates to the indexation of content.

What is the Google Caffeine Update?

Google introduced a new system, codenamed “Caffeine”, for handling the indexation of web content in June 2010. This newly created search index is 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.– Carrie Grimes, Google Software Engineer

– Carrie Grimes, Google Software Engineer

What makes this new system special?

The new indexing system “Caffeine” is based on an enormous infrastructure update, which serves as the foundation for all future updates to the websearch.

How caffeine index looks in comparison to the previous Google search index.
Comparing of “old search index” with Caffeine. Source: Google Inc.

Before the introduction of Caffeine, Google’s search index was composed of multiple levels, some of which were updated more quickly than others.

The main layer would update every couple of weeks. To refresh a layer of the old index, we would analyze the entire web, which meant there was a significant delay between when we found a page and made it available to you.– Carrie Grimes, Google Software Engineer

– Carrie Grimes, Google Software Engineer

Compared to the previous index, this new search index, Caffeine, uses an incremental (step by step) and continuous crawling- and indexing process. This has the advantage of being able to find and index web content much faster.

By Google’s account, Caffeine processes hundreds of thousands of pages in parallel every second and uses up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage, with new information being added in the hundreds of thousands of gigabytes, each and every day.

What is the effect on the user?

Since Caffeine was introduced, the freshness of results that users of Google’s web search receive has increased by about 50%. This increase will not only affect static content but also other forms of content like videos, pictures, news and real-time updates.

What is the effect on website operators?

Thanks to Caffeine, it is now possible that your content will be crawled and indexed shortly after you publish it.

Overview of Caffeine’s improvements:

  • The user can find new content (much) more quickly
  • Google’s storage capacity has increased a lot and can scale more easily
  • Google is now more flexibility when it comes to saving content

Caffeine benefits both searchers and content owners because it means that all content (and not just content deemed “real time”) can be searchable within seconds after its crawled.– Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer at Google

– Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer at Google

As Caffeine did not change the algorithm but the infrastructure, this change had no direct effects on the current rankings.

Video answer of Google/Matt Cutts to Caffeine (engl.)

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