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Google Search Gets Smarter…Again

It’s common knowledge in the online world that Google holds pretty much all the cards when it comes to search. They’ve been going now for longer than most, having been founded by Larry and Sergey in 1996, and the amount of time and money invested means that they have by far the most complex algorithm. Despite hot competition from the likes of Bing, and Yahoo to a lesser extent, Google have continued to pump the cash in and refine their algorithm.

It’s not often that the SERPs (search engine result pages) change noticeably with Google, but some day soon you may see one of these rare events. In a further development of their search algorithm, Google is rolling out ‘semantic search’, or the ‘knowledge graph’ as they prefer to call it. It’s currently being rolled out around the world as I type, but you can see some screenshots of what this will look like below, if you cant see it already.

As you can see above, an extra box to the right of the standard results shows other information about and around the subject, as well as insights into what others searched for around the term. Whilst these updates are still patchy globally, you can be sure that this is what everyone will experience in the coming weeks and months.

So, what exactly does this mean?

Well, Google is always trying to make its search algorithm ‘smarter’, in order to return better results. This is the ultimate goal. The semantic addition to Google uses artificial intelligence and a whole host of other trickery to guess what you’re trying to say with your search query. This effectively means it will have a better understanding of the meaning of the query, and can now tell the difference between ‘they’re’ and ‘their’, or that the terms ‘new’ and ‘England’ refer to a place rather than the latest version of something. The ‘knowledge graph’ in question is a complete list of semantic relationships like this which the algorithm will use to try and return the most relevant results.

This isn’t a new idea, and Google has been trying to develop something like this for a while now. Many people think that this algorithmic addition is in direct response to products like Apple’s Siri, which utilise semantics to help the digital assistant understand the different ways people phrase questions. In fact, the ‘Google Assistant’, a Siri-like program is set to be released on all future Android phones, further backing up this notion.

So, in the future of the billion dollar search market, you can expect Google to further try and predict what you’re searching for. It began with ‘Instant’ and has now moved to semantic. Can telepathic or mind probing searches be far behind?


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