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If they are testing a new algorithm, I would think that a company as large as Google would have enough disk space to do their testing off of the live site and only change the live Google versions when they have thoroughly modified and tested.
No doubt they do - however they have got a hell an amount of data to transfer to the live DCs. - They probably do this in stages - an amount of data goes live - some testing, few other factors added - more testing etc etc etc.
Google has been missing with us too much.. They are making money off our backs and then keep slapping us in the face.. I did well in the last update.. so this is not sour grapes talking. It's my overall tainted view of this "DO ALL EVIL" company.
Larry and Sergey have made the transition to the dark side and now are sith lords..LOL..
I couldn't care a less about pr.. if google didn't penalize me for linking to banned sites that I could easily see using the toolbar then I wouldn't care about the visual aspect about it.
One good thing is that schemes like the infamous link co-op will be brought to its knees.. I am actually hoping visual pr goes away for good.
On the lighter side, anyone want to buy links on one of my 4 pr10 sites? I have screen shots of them just before toolbar pr went out.. LOL..
It will be soooo difficult to do the link exchanges and we will be always on a guessing about the quality of the site . It will be very tough in the begining if at all this is permanent
But looking at it in a broader angle this will eliminate the fraud practices going on and quality content will gain value .... which means over all betterment of the internet as a whole .
Of course, it'd be nice if Google actually shared information about what's going on, but that's one thing Google has been been ... transparent.
If this is the end of page rank or visible page rank numbers I say good. This will force all of us to focus on real content to help users.