Look Out Siri: New Changes To Google's Search Engine Provides More Intuitive Results
It's time for Google to start thinking. In the next few months, Google will start giving you more intuitive results based on a refresh the company is currently implementing. These changes represent some of the biggest changes the company has ever made to its search engine.
Google isn't scrapping its beloved keyword-based search system. Website rankings are still based on the words the site contains, how often other sites link to it, and many other factors. No, what Google is doing is more of an enhancement. A major one.
The company wants to provide more relevant search results by incorporating something called "semantic search." Semantic search refers to the process of understanding the actual meaning of words. For the last two years, Google has been data mining for hundreds of millions of entities like people, places, and things. It is now able to string all of these entities together and provide context for searches.
For example, if you were to search for "Google" in Google's search engine, it could tell you that the company was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Amit Singhal, a top Google search executive, describes the refresh as Google's attempt to make search more like "how humans understand the world." Singhal goes on to say that, today, "we cross our fingers and hope there's a Web page out there with the answer." All that is about to change with this update.
In the coming months, if you search for something like "Lake Tahoe," you won't just see links to the lake's visitor bureau website. You'll see key attributes about the lake like its location, altitude, average temperature, and salt content. If you search for Ernest Hemingway, you could find a list of the author's books and browse information pages about other related authors or books.
If you searched for "What are the largest lakes in California?" Google might just give you the answer instead of links to other sites. In some ways, Google has already experimented with this kind of thing. When you search for popular measurement conversions, for example, Google just gives you the answer. With this new update, there will be more searches will be just like that.
To provide answers that aren't yet in the database, Google will blend semantic search technology with its current system to better recognize and identify information about specific entities referenced on a webpage rather than just looking at keywords on the page.
This is one step closer to establishing a voice-activated search engine that will fetch any piece of information you want, putting it in direct competition with Apple's Siri program which is already capable of understanding context and performing voice-activated search queries.
Google hopes its update will entice users to stay on its search pages longer. Google is heavily dependent on ad revenue, and more and more people are spending more and more time on websites like Facebook and Twitter. In a sense, Google needs this to reinvent itself and to offer a new value proposition to its users who drive revenues for the company.
It's still unclear how this will affect the Adwords side of things at the company, but if Google becomes more relevant in its listings and better understands its users' intent when searching, it could naturally serve up more relevant advertisements for them. In a world that is now arguably dominated by social media, this could be the change that saves the search giant from becoming, shall we say, "slapped" out of existence by the marketplace.