Google Calls Upon Tom Waits And Otis Redding To Help With Your Site's Titles

Chris CrumSearch

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I've been digging through Google's new list of algorithm changes it made during the month of May, and I couldn't help but notice that Google launched a change with the codename "tomwaits". It's always interesting to see how Google names its updates. Some of the names go on to become legends (Panda and Penguin, for example). Others you just never hear about it.

It just seems worth pointing out that someone at Google cares enough about musician Tom Waits to name an algorithm change after it (at least internally). That's assuming it isn't named after some Google engineer who also happens to be named Tom Waits.

So what is the "tomwaits" update? Here's the listing:

Trigger alt title when HTML title is truncated. [launch codename "tomwaits", project codename "Snippets"] We have algorithms designed to present the best possible result titles. This change will show a more succinct title for results where the current title is so long that it gets truncated. We’ll only do this when the new, shorter title is just as accurate as the old one.

Have you seen this update in action with your own site? How good is Google at determining the accuracy?

Tom Waits isn't the only musician to inspire such codenames. There's another one on the list under the codename: otisredding. This one, interestingly enough, also has to do with alt titles:

Better demotion of boilerplate anchors in alternate title generation. [launch codename "otisredding", project codename "Snippets"] When presenting titles in search results, we want to avoid boilerplate copy that doesn’t describe the page accurately, such as “Go Back.” This change helps improve titles by avoiding these less useful bits of text.

Some other interesting codenames Google has for its changes in May:

  • Lookahead
  • BeautifulMind
  • TopOfTheRock
  • the kids are disco dancing
  • GentleWorld

They almost sound like race horses, don't they?


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.