Google says it is working on faster, more accurate search and invites users to test out the platform in a sandbox. The news comes two weeks after Microsoft and Yahoo inked a 10-year search ad deal and hours after rival Facebook bought FriendFeed and revamped its own search engine.
dropped a bomb on would-be search challengers such as Microsoft,
Yahoo and Facebook on Aug. 10, unveiling a developer sandbox for a faster, more
accurate search engine and inviting the public to test the product and provide
feedback about the results.
The sandbox site is here,
and Google programmers have come up with an
interesting way to provide feedback about the new search architecture.
Google invites power users and Webmasters to do a search using the sandbox
site and look on the results page for a link at the bottom of the page that
says "Dissatisfied? Help us improve." Click on the link, enter
feedback in the text box and then include the word "caffeine"
somewhere in the text box.
Mashable was one of the first blogs to test the new search here.
Land also got a preview.
Google Principal Engineer Matt Cutts and Staff Software Engineer Sitaram
Iyer wrote in a blog post on the Google Webmaster Central blog
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
At the moment, Cutts and Iyer said, they "only want feedback on the differences
between Google's current
search results and our new system. 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
Engineers will read the feedback but won't reply, so comments will go into a
black box for now.
Preannouncing a new search architecture in the dead of summer when most
people are on vacation is a peculiar practice, but perhaps Google felt pressure
to answer moves by its competitors. For example, Microsoft and Yahoo on July 29 announced a 10-year search ad
Earlier Aug. 10, Facebook unleashed a double whammy: The social network bought social service aggregator FriendFeed
and launched its own improved search service.
Techmeme about FriendFeed and new Facebook search here
By announcing that it has a new search service under construction, Google is
reminding everyone that it intends to not only fight to keep its 65 percent
search share, but to extend it.
And so, Cutts and Iyer reminded the public what it takes "to build a
great search engine":
1. Crawl a large chunk of the web.
2. Index the resulting pages and
compute how reputable those pages are.
3. Rank and return the most relevant
pages for users' queries as quickly as possible.
Take that, Yahoo and Microsoft.