Google's Caffeine next-generation search infrastructure won't be available for the majority of searchers until sometime in January, its lead engineer confirmed Nov. 10.
Search geeks and Google users were excited in August when Caffeine's principal engineer Matt Cutts unveiled a developer sandbox for Caffeine, the company's next-generation search infrastructure.
"Based on the success we've seen, we believe Caffeine is ready for a larger audience. Soon we will activate Caffeine more widely, beginning with one data center. This sandbox is no longer necessary and has been retired, but we appreciate the testing and positive input that webmasters and publishers have given."
When this caused a mini wave in the blogosphere, Cutts added clarity in a post on his personal blog, noting that Google is taking Caffeine live in one data center, where only a small percentage of Google's users will be exposed to the new search infrastructure. Cutts added:
"Caffeine will go live at one data center so that we can continue to collect data and improve the technology, but I don't expect Caffeine to go live at additional data centers until after the holidays are over. Most searchers wouldn't immediately notice any changes with Caffeine, but going slowly not only gives us time to collect feedback and improve, but will also minimize the stress on webmasters during the holidays."
When a reader pressed Cutts on whether this meant no Caffeine until the New Year, Cutts responded: "I don't think you'll see Caffeine on multiple data centers before January."
Aesthetically, Caffeine was more or less the same to the untrained searcher's eye. However, the under-the-hood speed was definitely a jolt to the Google search experience. Developers seem to like it, according to Cutts.
Caffeine's emphasis is on speedier Web crawling and indexing, a smart move with Microsoft Bing aggressively ramping its efforts and Yahoo integrating its search engine with its homepage.