In the Search Off The Record Podcast released this morning, John Mueller, Gary Illyes and Martin Splitt had a special guest from Google, Pascal Birchler. In this podcast the four spoke about how Google indexes images, videos, audio and AMP. They also spoke about launch freezes and launch timings and then ended off the chat talking about sheep.
Here is the audio:
Gary said Google has a completely different indexing mechanism for indexing images. Gary said “during content conversion, we extract the image tags, essentially, also from some other image sources. Then pass those image URLs onto this special image indexer. Then, there some magic happens. There, we do some image intelligence, or image recognition, for example.” Gary said this process is “not perfect” and it is “not there yet” but it can do some really good basic stuff.
Gary then spoke briefly about indexing video and audio content. He said “we also extract videos there, or metadata about videos. That’s, again, a very special format because while with images you have, basically, one image, with videos, you typically have about 20-24 images per second that you would have to process to understand what the heck is going on in the video.” “On top of that, you also have the audio track that you might need to process to understand what’s in the video. This is not an easy task, this is actually quite a hard task. It is done by the same indexing mechanism that we use for images as well, but it gets way more complicated with videos,” he added.
AMP is something Google does not index directly, unless it is the canonical version. He said “AMP, unless it’s canonical– basically, standalone AMP– we don’t index it. I know that that’s a shocker, but, essentially, AMP is just an alternate format that we present for searchers in our Search results for our users. If it’s standalone AMP– basically, canonical AMP– then we will just treat it as HTML, and it gets indexed, potentially, just like an HTML page would be indexed.”
Then their guest Googler, Pascal Birchler, spoke a lot more about Web Stories in Google Search.
Finally, John Mueller spoke about how they cannot give launch dates for the most part. He was mostly talking about Google Search Console launches. They even have “launch freezes” – this is when people are on vacations, like Christmas time, because if something blows up, they want people around to fix things.
How do these freezes impact ranking changes? John said “I have no idea how the ranking side of things works there. I think the one thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the ranking stuff, a lot of the Search results side of things is purely algorithmic and automatic. So if the web changes on Christmas Day, on the first of January, then we’re going to reflect that in Search automatically. It might be that we don’t make any new algorithms or new launches during that time, but the rest of the systems continue to work automatically, right? So from that point of view, you’ll continue to see changes in Search during the time when we don’t make any algorithm updates just because the whole web continues to evolve and change all the time.
Oh and then the four spoke about Martin’s neighbor’s sheep.
Forum discussion at Twitter.