Google has confirmed that the recent SERPs volatility that got SEO's and webmasters all talking over the last few days is not a Penguin Update. It was previously reported on the 6th January by major SERP Tracker AccuRanker that they thought it was Penguin, but even at that early stage, we had our doubts. It seems we were right.
The news was first confirmed by Zineb Ait, webmaster trends analyst at Google who wrote in a tweet responding to a request for the name of the update, "pas de nom. Il s'agit simplement d'une de fréquentes quality updates." This translates to "no name. It is simply a frequent quality updates."
Of course, this is a rough translation, and we equate the answer to meaning that it was a Core Algorithm Update.
@dawnieando It's not penguin; not "confirmed-ish" just "confirmed" :-).— John Mueller (@JohnMu) January 12, 2016
While Google does not usually confirm core algorithm updates, we suspect that due to the large nature of the changes, the level of chatter in the SEO community about the update, and several false reports that it was Penguin they have decided to make an exception.
That means we still have some time to wait before the Google Penguin Update hits, which is due to be changed to a real-time algorithm.