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Google's Caffeine: A sudden transformation from Months to Seconds

Marketers and news hounds may still if Google's Caffeine, which now delivers search results from updated sites within seconds, is fast enough. But it wasn't too long ago when Google used to update its index only once every 30 days.

On the day of the terrible 9/11 attacks, Google News did not even exist! The search giant, at the time, had only been around for three years and wasn't providing the latest news reports as they appeared online.

But soon after the attacks, there were various news sites that had trouble keeping up with the sudden surge in the number of online news readers. As Google was able to access those sites, it started posting cached versions of them because it had the bandwidth to support the visitors, as said by Matt Cutts, head of Google's Web spam team. "Over the course of several hours, we had useful content where people couldn't otherwise get to it because most of the other sites were down" he said.

This post 9/11 demand for breaking news has since led to the creation of Google News.

With Caffeine, as Google crawls the Web, it quickly indexes the updated information. Google has been now crawling a fraction of the Web every night and then indexing the new information in a batch. Before that, Google used to update its index every 30 days, and initially it only did so every four months.

This week in Seattle at Search Marketing Expo, Google made an announcement that Caffeine is now live.

Cutts said that information available in Google searches is indexed immediately after using Caffeine and it will show that it was posted "seconds ago".

Not every change on every website will appear immediately, though. Google looks for factors such as page rank to decide which sites to crawl faster, Cutts said. It also checks news websites and blogs more often than any other sites, he said.

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