Google have closed down their Caffeine “sandbox” testing area and have put their new infrastructure in place and live on the Internet just in time for the holiday season. However it seems Google have learnt from the debacle of the “Florida Update” of 2003 and have only put the new, improved Google on one datacenter. Therefore only a small number of Google users will see the new stuff, the rest of us will have to wait. The Florida Update was released just before the Christmas holiday shopping season started and caused a lot of distress as website owners saw their sites plummet in the rankings and therefore sales fell. With the news that Caffeine was going live there was some rumblings of a similar panic occuring with this update. However Google’s Matt Cutts has promised that Caffeine won’t be rolled out to the rest of the datacenters until the new year and the current roll out is merely for live testing, a sort of “open beta” if you like.
Of course if Google had rolled it out the more skeptical online store owners would have cried foul and pointed to Google’s recent release of Google Commerce Search, a paid for inclusion shopping portal, as the reason Google borked the search results. During Florida it was claimed that Google deliberately messed up peoples rankings so they would have no option but to open and Adwords account.