Yesterday it was announced that Google has gone all language-y on the web, updating its algorithms to understand not only the words being searched, but also the relationship between words. This is known as search semantics, and it is Google’s newest attempt to impress the web public with relevant search results.
Aside from the new word-relationship component, Google has also increased the characters devoted to summary paragraphs that attempt to pin down what people are searching for. In a recent blog post Google search quality team technical lead Ori Allon and snippets team engineer Ken Wilder wrote that the company “[is] deploying a new technology that can better understand associations and concepts related to your search. We are now able to target more queries, more languages, and make our suggestions more relevant to what you actually need to know.”
Heretofore Internet search services have focused on matching key words typed into query boxes with words at websites or in other online data. The newest generation of Internet users has caused a rise in demand for semantic searches that go beyond matching words to actually understanding what sentences or combinations of words mean. The trick, from a company stand point, has been whether or not adequate technology can be developed to process the increasingly complex searches with the high speed that Internet users have come to expect.
Not content with their current position behind Google in terms of search, Microsoft has recently stated that it is testing a Kumo.com semantic search engine. The hope is that the new search technology will be more popular than Microsoft’s current Live Search service, catapulting it beyond Yahoo! and Google.
As of Tuesday Google has rolled out semantic search capabilities in 37 languages. Some examples given by Wilder and Allon included a search in Russian for “fortune-telling with cards” which brought up search results for “tarot” and “divination.” Conversely, a Google search in English for “principles of physics” generated suggestions about “big bang” and “quantum mechanics.”