So Google are running a kind of beta test of some updates they’re making – which is fairly novel. While they’re at pains to point out that this is all about ‘infrastructure, indexing and speed’ it’s hard to discern how this differs from the kind of stuff that would normally get folded into a “proper” update and most people are treating it on that basis.
It’s a pretty interesting move, however you slice it though: soliciting direct feedback from users before changes are made is something I can’t recall Google embarking on before. Given that future SERPs are likely to make more use of personalised results and usage stats, I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing.
If you haven’t yet had a butchers, hop over here and check it out. My first take is that the differences between this and the live results isn’t actually that marked – but maybe blended results are getting a little less prominence. Certainly some news and image results are appearing further down the page in Caffeine than in the regular, “decaffeinated” results.
Anyway, like the good little search monkeys we are, we leapt all over the term ‘UK SEO’ out of professional interest and found that Dave is still number 1 (phew!). Then, by approximating the UK results for Caffeine by appending “&gl=uk” to the end of the URL of our query and searching for plain old ‘SEO’, noticed this little blip.
Since our last update about whether Vince has been mucking some things up there’s been a lot of speculation that there is something to do with specific country searches (.co.uk results vs. the regular .com etc) behind it all. In that light, Caffeine showing a result from Google.co.uk just ahead of a result from Google.com is maybe interesting. What is definitely interesting is that the Google.co.uk result is actually just 301d to the .com result lower down which is clearly a goof.
So we’re assuming this is an indexing glitch and will report it as such 🙂
On a wider note, Google are encouraging feedback, so if you see anything you think is particularly jarring click the ‘Dissatisfied? Help us improve’ link in the footer and send it in (making sure you mention ‘caffeine’ in the subject)
[EDIT: Mashable are reporting that the new search is a lot “lightning fast” compared to the old. That assumption appears to be relying on the ‘0.5 seconds’ bit you get in the blue bar above the SERPs. That’s a tiny bit speculative because clearly far far fewer people will be using Caffeine over the regular Google, and unless you’re using a stopwatch and have “lightning fast” reflexes you can’t really tell if that is an accurate figure anyway]