25 Jul Google Celebrates 15th Anniversary with a Major Change to Their Search Algorithm
Google have just announced that last month they made a significant change to their search technology; their first major upgrade in three years. The update, codenamed “Hummingbird”, is understood to have affected about 90% of internet searches around the world.
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On 26th September, the day before Google’s 15th birthday, Google’s Senior VP, Amit Singhal revealed their new algorithm claiming it’s the culmination of their 15 years of hard work. Singhal further elaborated by saying “Our algorithm had to go through some fundamental rethinking of how we are going to keep our results relevant”.
Caffeine, the predecessor of Hummingbird, was targeted more at effectively indexing websites, but the new update is primarily focused on ranking information. According to Google, today’s users expect more natural and conversational interactions when they perform a search query. This is equally relevant when using voice input to carry out a search from a mobile device, such as a mobile phone, tablet or smart watch.
Alongside the Hummingbird launch, Google has also introduced new features to its Knowledge Graph technologies so that it can understand relationships between two concepts as well as more complex questions. For instance, if you want to know the difference of saturated fat contained in butter and oil you simply have to search for “compare butter with olive oil”. Previously Google could not handle such a sophisticated search query, and while this launch offers a limited service it will develop extensively over time.
Even though we’d all love to know exactly how the Hummingbird algorithm works, Google have chosen not to share too much with us at this stage, other than it has the capability of understanding complex search queries and relationships between concepts. It’s still early days and even search experts are yet to identify the exact impact on searches. While it should be considered a good thing that Google can now provide more relevant and useful results to our complex search queries, we’ll have to wait and see how it will all unfold.
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