Google is working on the most drastic overhaul of its search technology in its history, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.
The Journal alleged that this update will shift Google search to rely heavily on technology called “semantic search,” which taps into the actual meaning of words. However, it will not ditch the current keyword-based search, which determines the relevance of a site based on items like the words it uses, how often other sites link to it, among other criteria.
Google Search would also display more facts and answer direct questions at the top of the page, rather than just presenting links to other sites.
The Journal stated that this will directly affect between 10 and 20 percent of queries, which comes down to billions upon billions of searches every month.
But as Search Engine Land countered, these rumors might be bunk – Google Search already does most of these things. It noted that Google has essentially been doing semantic search for nearly a decade, and issuing facts and direct answers for “so long that it’s hard for me to even know exactly when it all began.”
Google did not immediately respond to questions from PCMag, and the Journal said the company declined to comment on the story. The source of the rumors is unclear, beyond a recent interview with Google search exec Amit Singhal that the Journal cited in which he said Google’s future search will “better match search queries with a database containing hundreds of millions of entities’ ? people, places, and things ? which the company has quietly amassed in the past two years.”
Google has collected these so-called entities in part through the 2010 acquisition of Metaweb Technologies, whose index of 12 million entities have since grown to 200 million since Google bought the startup.
Singhal said future Google search will similar to “how humans understand the world.” Currently, for many searches “we cross our fingers and hope there’s a Web page out there with the answer,” he said, but the overhaul will bring Google into the “next generation of search.”
Another result of this significant search makeover would be more places for Google to place ads. The Journal said it’s not entirely clear how this would work, but the revised technology would make it possible for the Internet giant to serve up more relevant ads. Additionally, more entities means more pages, which in turn, means more ad space.
In spite of building privacy concerns following Google’s recent consolidation of about 70 or so policies, the company is absolutely the dominant player in Web search, controlling about 66 percent of the market. However, the company founded on the motto of “don’t be evil” has faced mounting pushback from an increasingly skeptical industry, as well as consumers.
At the beginning of the year, it began rolling out a new search initiative dubbed Search Plus Your World. With this search update, Google taps into results from its own Google+ social network, which prompted the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) to file a letter with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), requesting that it look into the changes. Besides potential violations being investigated, some critics argued that the changes have hurt the quality of results.
Yesterday, meanwhile, a former Googler penned a scathing takedown of Google that criticized its increased focus on ads and social networking.
Last year, Google changed up its search algorithm to reduce rankings for low-quality sites, an effort known as Panda.
For more from Leslie, follow her on Twitter @LesHorn.
Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2401620,00.asp
VM Web Marketing