New, "fresher" Google rankings affect 35% of searches

New, "fresher" Google rankings affect 35% of searches

Summary: Google has updated its Caffeine web indexing algorithm to display more recent search results when searching for time-sensitive events and information like ongoing news stories and product reviews.

TOPICS: Apps, Cloud, Google

Thanks to Google's "significant improvement" to its ranking algorithm, you have just better than a third of a chance that your Google searches today are different than they would have been yesterday.

According to the Official Google Blog entry, this ranking update is designed to help the Caffeine web indexing system at the heart of the search engine intelligently decide when to display "fresher," more recent results over those that might be months or years old.

For example, results that are a year old aren't very helpful when searching for recent or ongoing events like "Occupy Oakland" or "NBA Lockout." Similarly, searching for "presidential election" or "Nobel prize" could return mountains and mountains of historical data - but Google now assumes you're looking for the most recent event. And finally, if you're searching for "best SLR cameras," there's no point in looking at last year's models.

Now, Google says that they recognize the value of older information, with Google Fellow Amit Singhal writing that a search for a years-old recipe for quick tomato sauce saved a dinner with his wife.

It seems handy, but I'm left wondering how well Google will be able to match intent with result. Google is anticipating 35 percent of searches are around this kind of up-to-the-minute data, which leaves a majority of searches looking for older data.

How many times will it display current data when searching for historical events? Enough to annoy users? We'll see. And that skepticism goes double considering some questions around the blind faith Google affords its algorithm.

Topics: Apps, Cloud, Google

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  • There's a drop dead simple way to solve this...

    You can already specify the date range of search results in the advanced search dialogue. Just pull that feature into an "earlier results" link appearing beside every returned item. This allows the search itself to traverse results backward in time with just an additional click or two. Google could also give each user the option of deciding what earlier date range a click on "earlier..." should display.

    Does Bing do this?