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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Google Search Gets a Makeover

No, Google’s classic keyword-search system isn’t going away, but within the next few months users will benefit from an upgrade. In order to provide more relevant results, Google plans to incorporate a new technology known as “semantic search”, which will allow the search engine to interpret the actual meaning of words.
Top Google search executive Amit Singhal explained in a recent The Wall Street Journal interview that the search engine will better match queries with the company’s database of hundreds of millions of “entities” (people, place and things). This is because semantic search has the ability to associate different words with one another, such as a company (Google) with its founders (Larry Page and Sergey Bring).
How will this new search engine system work? Say you search for “Lake Tahoe”. You will soon see key “attributes” that the search engine picks up about the lake, such as its location, altitude, average temperature of salt content. If you were to search for “Lake Tahoe” today, you’d find only links to the visitor bureau website, its Wikipedia page, and a link to a relevant map. Ask Google a more complex question such as, “What are the 10 largest lakes in California?”, and it may provide the answer instead of just a list of links.
Google is blending semantic-search technology with its current system to better evaluate the information on websites. This will help to determine which sites it will show in the search results. Rather than looking only for keywords, Google spiders will indentify information about specific entities referenced on a webpage.
The new search engine function may inspire millions of website owners to change the markup language, making it easier for Google to locate their sites under the new system. One Google insider told The Wall Street Journal that the shift to semantic search could directly impact the search results for 10% to 20% of all queries, or tens of billions per month.
Google search ads, which appear next to search results, may also be affected. If the search engine better understands the intent behind a query, Google may be able to serve up more relevant ads. And as Google’s “entity” database grows, there will be more pages on which marketers can place ads.
Be on the lookout for a bigger and better Google this summer!

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