Google may have a huge lead over its competitors in terms of market share, but the search giant isn't resting on its laurels. A next-generation infrastructure codenamed "Caffeine" has been unveiled, and it's already available for individuals to test.

Fair warning: don't expect Caffeine to introduce natural language recognition, search results from Twitter, or anything else too fancy. Matt Cutts cautioned, "The Caffeine update isn't about making some UI changes here or there. Currently, even power users won't notice much of a difference at all. This update is primarily under the hood: we're rewriting the foundation of some of our infrastructure."

Still, he continued, "[S]ome of the search results do change, so we wanted to open up a preview so that power searchers and web developers could give us feedback."

Head over to http://www2.sandbox.google.com if you intend to take Cutts and Google up on their invitation. Keep an eye on characteristics including accuracy, comprehensiveness, and - perhaps especially - indexing speed. Then, if you've got anything constructive to say, use the "Dissatisfied? Help us improve" link at the bottom of the page and include the term "Caffeine" in your response.

Initial impressions have, as you can see below, been mostly positive.

Caffeine is likely to hit the mainstream in the near future. Cutts referred to this sneak peek as "a preview of how the search results will change over the next few weeks and months."


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