Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Meet Google’s New Search Engine, Same as the Old Search Engine

caffeineTake that, Microsoft! Meet “Caffeine,” Google’s new search engine…which looks just like the old search engine.

Confused? Don’t worry–the world’s search pros are trying to figure out the difference between plain-vanilla Google and the new version, which Google (GOOG) is previewing via a blog post.

Google engineers tell us that Caffeine is a “a secret project: a next-generation architecture for Google’s web search,” but don’t expect to see any obvious differences in the new approach, even though Google says it will “push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions.”

Or so the company says. Put the two engines up in a head-to-head test and you will see slightly different results, but only if you squint at them closely: My vanity search replaces my personal blog with my work site as the top result and doesn’t include image results on the first page, which is probably a good thing.

And sometimes new Google gives you more results, or fewer results, than old Google. But since the vast majority of searchers never get past the first page of results, this doesn’t seem relevant. Same with the supposed speed differences: Google tells me that this search for “BlackBerry Tour” came back in 0.14 seconds, compared to this one, which took a whopping 0.19 seconds. But I’m going to have to take its word on this.

If today was April 1, I’d be wary that Google was pulling our leg here and trying to pull off some meta-prank. Maybe one that involved getting lots of bloggers–or more importantly, engineers from Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo (YHOO)–to spend time deciphering the differences between two search engines that weren’t actually different at all. But you don’t do that sort of thing in mid-August, right?

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First the NSA came for, well, jeez pretty much everybody’s data at this point, and I said nothing because wait how does this joke work

— Parker Higgins via Twitter