Sunday, May 16, 2021

Google Announces Updated Search Algorithm

As part of the celebration of its 15th anniversary, Google revealed that it has recently upgraded its search algorithm. The new “Hummingbird” engine is designed to do a better job of dealing with long queries and natural language.

PCMag’s Stephanie Mlot reported, “In honor of its 15th anniversary, Google today returned to its Menlo Park roots, where it revealed an updated algorithm, dubbed Hummingbird, that affects 90 percent of global searches. Launched about a month ago, Hummingbird is aimed at better answering the long, complex queries that Google receives.”

InformationWeek’s Thomas Claburn explained, “The Hummingbird update expands Google’s use of its Knowledge Graph, introduced last year as a way to help its search engine understand the relationships between concepts rather than simply matching keywords in documents. The Knowledge Graph structures data, so that a search for, say, Marie Curie, returns facts about her contributions to science, her life, her family and other related information, not all of which are necessarily contained in the same document.”

Richard Taylor with BBC News added, “Google stressed that a new algorithm is important as users expect more natural and conversational interactions with a search engine – for example, using their voice to speak requests into mobile phones, smart watches and other wearable technology. Hummingbird is focused more on ranking information based on a more intelligent understanding of search requests, unlike its predecessor, Caffeine, which was targeted at better indexing of websites.”

USA Today’s Alistair Barr wrote, “The change comes as people become more comfortable asking long, complex questions when they use Google to search the Web, rather than single words or simple phrases, [Google’s Amit] Singhal explained in an interview with USA TODAY. Google is also making the change to ensure its search results work well with voice-based queries. When people speak, rather than type on a computer, they use more complex phrases and Google had to update its algorithm to handle that, Singhal said.”

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