Google completes roll-out of new Search Engine Index, Caffeine

Caffeine, Google’s codeword for the latest incarnation of their search engine, has been in slow rollout mode for almost a year now. Today, Google announced that the migration is complete and now their entire search engine index is ‘caffeinated’ so to speak.

Google claims a twofold increase in speed (how long it takes to return search results) and indexes even more of the Web. Caffeine now pays greater attention to newer results such as news and real-time updates especially facing down an age of Twitter and Facebook. The symbolic image of the difference between the old and new indexes is particularly telling.

Caffeine vs Old Google Index

Some amazing statistics on the aptly-named Caffeine (which will presumably only keep growing) include:

  • processes hundreds of thousands of pages per second
  • takes up over 100M GB of storage (that’s roughly 100 followed by 15 zeroes bytes or 100,000,000,000,000,000 bytes!)
  • Adds new information at a rate of 100,000s GB per day

Google most likely exiting China

Oh well. So much for the big G trying to throw their weight around to convince the big C to give a little on their censorship stance, following the hacking attacks. Google will most likely close its search engine business in China,

They’re going to make an orderly exit, and take steps to protect their employees there. Does China care? Not really. They can (and have) created their own search engines that are more compliant with their way of thinking.


Google Rolls Out Realtime Search Results

Google has thrown their hat into the realtime search arena, joining other services such as Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook. Although those Web2.0 websites have had real-time search for some time, Google has been surprisingly absent until now. Google announced this today at their Search Event conference.

However, at this point in time, not every single Google account has the realtime feature turned on. To check whether you have this feature, visit Google’s main search page, and enter a search term. Once the results appear, click the Show Options link at the top, at which point you will (or won’t) have the “Latest” option in the time parameters section. The search results will now start updating automatically in a very similar fashion to those on Facebook or Twitter.

If your Google account does not have the realtime feature, you can see a video captured by TechCrunch:

Microsoft’s Bing team giving away free WiFi service in exchange for searching

I’ve spent my own share of time criticizing Microsoft for their buggy software and unethical business practices, but I’ve got to give them kudos for this move. They are exchanging free (1-time use) WiFi service for just a single search on Bing, their new search engine. Pretty smart.

The goal is to get more people familiar with Bing and hopefully get them using it. The Bing team is working with JiWire which works with 60-70% of the WiFi market for airlines and hotels.

This is probably going to cost MS some dough, but they have it and it can potentially reap significant rewards. However, they’ll need to keep running creative ad programs like this if they want to really dent Google’s market share in search.

New Google Search feature: Quick View of PDF files

Keep your eyes peeled for this new Google Search feature. If your result pulls up a PDF file, then look for the “Quick View” link – that’ll open up the PDF doc as a Google Docs document which previews the PDF nicely without you having to download it and open it up in your computer’s PDF viewer. Great improvement over the HTML view of PDFs.

Got it? Confusing. Just try it – here’s an example: IRS Form 1099. Strangely not all PDF results get this treatment. Yet, I hope.

New Search Engine, Duck Duck Go, promises less garbage, more relevance, simplicity

duckduckgo-logoOne thing to love about the Internet and entrepreneurs in general is that despite what sometimes seem like insurmountable dominance, such as Google has over the search engine market, new attempts to break them down occur all the time. New search engine, Duck Duck Go, is trying to do just that with their quirky name, simpler, uncluttered search results page and in particular less garbage in the results.

The home page is simple and bright. Underneath it lies a fast search engine that does its best to produce relevant results free from parked domains, spam sites and the like. Other features include the Zero-Click Info displays that provide info directly on the results page; Special Pages that group similar topics; Related Topics; links to Official Sites at the top when it can determine that.

One particularly nice feature is the ability to search 27 related sites with the same search query with a single click (in the sidebar). Sites include YouTube, CNN, Wikipedia and much more.

Duck Duck Go was founded by MIT graduate and serial entrepreneur, Gabriel Weinberg.

Bing, Microsoft’s new search engine launches Wed 3 Jun 2009


Microsoft is set to fully launch Bing, their brand new search engine on Wednesday 3 June [Update: MS says launch date is now today!]. But don’t call it a ‘search engine’; call it a ‘decision engine’ says Microsoft. Bing’s results page look remarkably like Google’s or Yahoo’s, but it will also include a set of ‘related results’ down the left side of the page.

These related results will be generated by technology created by Powerset, a company that Microsoft acquired last year. Powerset represents information in triples much like competitor Wolfram Alpha, as well as ‘answering’ questions directly.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether Microsoft can pull away traffic from Google in the search engine wars. It’s really going to depend on whether Bing can provide a better search experience getting people quicker to what they’re really looking for. And that’s going to be a matter of perspective on the part of users, and not wrapped in the statistics of which engine is ‘better’.

How to integrate Twitter results into Google

Twitter is all the rage these days, so much so that even politicians are tweeting. There are more people searching Twitter for ‘news’ events, granted that those stories are 140 characters max, and not backed up with any sources, etc. The bottom line is that Twitter is growing as an info source.

If you’re a researcher that now also uses Twitter as a reference, or perhaps just a Twitter-junkie, you’ll probably find this hack very useful.

Wolfram Alpha promises computing that answers questions

Computer scientist, Stephen Wolfram, feels that he has put together at least the initial version of a computer that actually answers factual questions, a la Star Trek’s ship computers. His version will be found on their Web-based application, Wolfram Alpha.

What does this mean? Well instead of returning links to pages that may (or may not) contain the answer to your questions, Wolfram will respond with the actual answer. Now the caveat ‘factual’ is important. You can ask it questions like ‘why is the sky blue?’ or ‘how many bones are in the human body?’, but probably not ‘do you think abortion is wrong?’. This computational knowledge engine uses natural language to parse the questions and can also accept coded queries.

For the subject areas that Wolfram covers, they not only had to either enter or import data on those subjects, but had to build models or create algorithms for breaking down and describing that data in simpler building blocks. Long story short, my question is how easy is it going to be expand into additional subject areas?

Don’t bother trying to visit the site just yet – it’s not launching until May 2009. If this works well, this is going to revolutionize computing and in particular, the search engine market. Google of course comes to mind. Would they see this as a threat? I imagine they should. so I think what will be important here is how quickly Wolfram can expand into additional subject areas. If they give Google enough time to get into this market, then they could be sunk.

via Techcrunch

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