The company said it has been working on a “secret” project, dubbed Caffeine, to develop the back end of its search engine to boost indexing speed and result relevancy, as well as better-integrated multimedia results.
It has now opened Caffeine up to developers, encouraging them to test the platform and provide feedback.
Speaking on the Google Webmaster Central blog, principal engineer Matt Cutts and staff software engineer Sitaram Iyer wrote, “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 most users won’t notice a difference in search results,” they continued. “But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we’re opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback.”
The revelation comes just two weeks after Microsoft announced a search deal with Yahoo that will see the two merge their platforms and staff. If approved by regulators, this will see the Yahoo search brand powered by Microsoft’s new Bing engine.
While Google still maintains a healthy market-share lead – in the UK it has 79.7% of market share in contrast to its closest rival Yahoo with 4%, according to ComScore – the proposed deal between Microsoft and Yahoo has been welcomed by an online industry increasingly desperate for a strong competitor.
Likewise, new search experiences with Microsoft’s Bing, such as a flight price tracker, have received positive press.
Two years ago Google revealed Universal Search, its project to show web, news, image and video results all on one page (nma 17 May 2007).
Last month, when announcing its Q2 revenues, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the company’s main challenge was to ensure Google.com provided the best consumer experience (nma.co.uk 17 July 2009).
“We remain focused on investing in technical innovation to drive growth in our core and new businesses,” he said.
This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk