AlyssaS - 2:32 pm on Apr 2, 2011 (gmt 0)
it usually takes G to learn a new word in my niche, especially when there's such an important new product, about 2-3 hours. It's been 48 hours since and it still hasn't learned it. incredible. major fail!
I think you'll find that the cases where you believe G "learned the new word" in 2-3 hours, actually put the word online a good month before the launch. You might have discovered the launch, and then Googled in two-three hours and found it there, but the webmasters of the site in question would have done the ground work to make that happen weeks before.
Think about the logistics involved from G's point of view. Bot 1 is spidering news sites, and discovers new links to a new product. Bot 1 makes a note of these links for Bot 2, and then continues spidering it's list (if it simply hared off on a tangent, the stuff on the original list wouldn't get crawled). The next day, Bot 2 crawls the new links (it couldn't do it the day before because it had to go through it's other work first). Then the day after that bot 3 classifies the site found based on the data harvested during the crawl. And then another bot probably decides relationships and how to rank it.
It's probably more complicated that that, but you get the picture.
That's why it takes a good 7 to 10 days to see changes in the SERPs after you have made changes in your site. G has to go through these sequences. It certainly doesn't happen in 2-3 hours - not with all the billions of stuff being poured online every day.
G is aware of that, that's why when they are struggling to fill in a search, they put twitter and news sites at the top. It's a lesson they learned from Michael Jackson's death.
You yourself observed that Bing was having the same difficulties as G with this new made-up product word. That suggests to me that the "Big Fail" lies with the webmasters, who simply didn't provide the search engines with the correct information and signals in advance.
You say that the site concerned is established - that may be so. But if the product is new and has a "made-up" name, then they need links to that specific product page from related product sites citing that new product name. Otherwise G won't know what it's about. They are not telepathic, and there is simply not enough computing power in their machine to go through all the sequences that fast. If you start from the launch date, then it will take about a week. That's the nature of the machine. It's unrealistic to think otherwise. If you want the stuff up at the time of launch, you need to help them out and do the ground work.